Caroline Wagstaffe holistic therapies Northumberland

What is a ‘holistic’ massage?

Holistic massage is a treatment which addresses the client’s whole being – physical, mental and emotional. Each session is unique and person-centred, addressing the needs of each client in that particular moment.

Holistic massage uses the principles of sensitivity, presence, attention and awareness from the therapist who brings the whole of him/herself to the session too. The quality of touch has a depth to it which encourages a reintegration and rebalancing throughout the whole self.

When the therapist puts their hands on they are working with the skin, sensory nerve receptors, muscle tissue, circulation of the blood and lymph, ease of movement in the joints and in the digestive system. With a variation in speed, depth of pressure and intention of touch, the therapist can determine which physiological response occurs.

As well as working with these physical responses, holistic massage works with emotional responses. Emotions are often felt in the body as a physical sensation; for example fear, anger, shame or joy all trigger hormonal releases which run around the body. These responses can be stored in our body tissues, especially if there are patterns of behaviour that develop over a lifetime. Holistic massage works to release patterns of emotional response and with time can encourage new patterns to emerge.

We are all products of generations of cultural and generational conditioning. This can sometimes leave people feeling uncomfortable in their bodies or with certain aspects of their body. The quality of touch throughout a holistic massage can create an amazing opportunity for people to fully connect with their whole body and selves and encourage them to live fully in their bodies.

Holistic massage develops a sense of self-awareness in the client which is very hard to achieve through every day normal life. This in turn can help to encourage an integration of self care practices into daily life which can really help to transform chronic conditions and develop good habits of posture, behaviour and movement.

Which techniques does holistic massage use?

Holistic massage is an amalgamation of massage traditions both from the west and the east. It combines Swedish techniques such as effleurage, friction, kneading and percussion with energy-based techniques like gentle holding on or above the body. Holistic massage can also draw on other bodywork techniques such as accupressure, shiatsu, myofacial release, passive joint mobilizations and stretches.

A holistic massage therapist will have training in some counselling skills and will be able to provide as high level of spoken care and support if the client should wish to share anything. A powerful release can take place if something is spoken out allowed and then further released and supported through a bodywork session.

During a holistic massage a safe, respectful, supportive, quiet and peaceful atmosphere will be set. The grace, fluidity and rhythm of the massage itself bring to the client a sense of stillness, allowing the mind to let go for a little while and the whole self to enter a place of deep rest.

There is a lot of pressure and stress in our culture and there is growing scientific evidence to support the importance of relaxation and anxiety reduction. Holistic massage is a nurturing process of touch and response as the therapist assesses what the clients physical, mental and emotional needs are and selects from a wide range of techniques what is right for that client in that moment.

Find out more about the holistic therapies I offer here, or get in touch to book your appointment.