Sunday, October 16, 2011

Application of Massage Therapy Project

This project is to apply our learning's of massage therapy to help someone and demonstrate the benefits that massage can have on a persons life and health.  For my client I have provided 6 massages all at a length of 1.5 to 3 hours based on their desire at the time over the course of about 10 weeks.

Interview and chief complaint
I first had a interview/discussion with my client regarding their feelings day to day, general likes/dislikes, problems and possible complaints to address.  One of the main things I discovered is the client was very demanding of theirself day to day and because of that has a very high stress level.  Many of their mood changes were based upon work performance and completing tasks.  The client is going through many changes in life at the moment.  Based on this information and our discussion we determined the chief complaint to be stress.

Treatment options
I discussed some of the different massage protocols we have gone over in class and different techniques that may work to help relieve stress.  Over the clients lifetime they have only experienced 2 professional massages so we decided to stick to the general relaxation pattern and make modifications as necessary.  The client did suggest one of their favorite parts to massage was the head, neck and face massage so we decided to extend the time on that.

Over the 10 week time period we completed 6 massages all ranging from 1.5 hours to 3 hours.  For all the massages we decided to stick to the regular plan, here and there we made modifications when areas needed more attention.  The desire for a thorough head massage was present through all the massages.  The client requested 3 things most often and those are head massage, abdomen massage and work on the bladder meridian.  After we learned the bladder meridian pattern and I added it to one of the massages the client requested that pattern be in the future massages.  Most notably in the bladder meridian the client enjoyed the foot massage, working the bladder meridian in the foot massage almost instantly put the client to sleep each massage.

Over the course of the provided massages here are the most notable changes the client and I were able to identify:

    Reduced level of stress
    Improved quality of sleep
    Increased activity level
    Improved eating habits
    Improved flexibility
    Increase level of energy
    Reduced irritation from joint in foot
    Faster recovery of pulled muscles

All in all the project was enjoyable and it was great to discover the benefits of massage and help another experience a higher state of well being.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Learning Oriental Medicine with Massage

I am a recent student of Alaska Institute of Oriental Medicine and this is a brief summary of my experience in learning massage with oriental medicine.  Just to give you an idea of our schedule for learning massage I will outline our class schedule for you.  

There are basically two halves of school, in the first half we learn anatomy and physiology in the mornings and massage in the afternoon until we have completed the basic massage table and chair patterns and completed anatomy and physiology.  The second half of school we spend our time on oriental medicine and applications to massage practice with some specific patterns to help correct biological and physiological problems.

Learning this material in this order lets us full grasp the massage techniques and then teaches us why were doing what were doing and how we can improve what we are doing for ourselves and the clients. 

When learning oriental medicine you start to see how different parts of the body are connected and can influence one another.  You also see how you mind, mood, food, environment and other things can influence your health and state of being.  

With this knowledge you can help people significantly more with basic massage just by understanding their pain better.  Someone may experience frequent pain in a specific area on their body or experience a loss of energy and not have any explanation as to why.  

With oriental medicine you understand that areas of the body are connected and can influence one another, the pain may be referred from blockage in another part of the body or the energy loss could be something so simple as breathing properly and aligning posture.

In class we also learn basic qigongs and their application to a healthier mind and body.  We can advise and teach these to others as well as use them ourselves for self maintenance which is another thing that oriental medicine has brought to our practice.  

Self maintenance is the most important part of massage practice in my opinion.  By learning proper body mechanics, qigong and tai chi we as massage therapists can maintain our own bodies so that we are able to practice massage effectively while keeping our own bodies healthy and safe from damage.

We are not by any means certified doctors in oriental medicine after learning this material but that's one of the great things about oriental medicine.  Even with a brief understanding you can still see a profound change in your understanding of healthy living and its application to massage.  Although if you are ambitious enough to further your study with oriental medicine there is plenty of room to grow and further your understanding.

A students experience with the moxibustion belly bowl

I am a recent student of the Oriental healing arts center and this is a brief entry on my experience with the moxibustion belly bowl that we were given the opportunity to try in class.  Something to keep in mind when reading this is that I am a 25 year old male at about 195lbs and I have a fairly high level of energy prior to trying the belly bowl so my experience my differ from others depending on your own body.

The experience starts with assembling a belly bowl with a stick of moxa.  The belly bowl is a rubber cylinder with a metal frame that suspends the burning moxa stick above your skin where ever you decide to place it, mine was located directly above my belly button.  In class we set up massage tables to lie upon while trying this, we started by lighting the moxa stick and laying down on a table with the belly bowl in place.  From here I took deep full breaths and relaxed into the table.  

About half way through I started feeling sensations in my lower abdomen that would travel out to the rest of my body.  The feeling was almost an electricity or something similar to a double shot mocha, like my metabolism was being revved up.  By the end I felt almost a little sick but that quickly went away after leaving the class and getting into the rest of my day.  I noticed the rest of the day that my appetite had significantly increased and I had much more energy than normal.  I participate in alot of outdoor sports and I was amazed at how much I was able to endure in one day energy wise.  This increase in energy and metabolism lasted for about 3 days as far as I could tell.

After the first experience I decided I throughly enjoyed the belly bowl and did several other sessions before the end of school.  For someone with relatively low energy i strongly recommend trying this form of moxibustion, for those that already have a high level of energy I recommend that if you try this it may be a good idea to try this for half a moxa stick at first and possibly a full stick later after you experience a little first.