6 Popular Massage Styles for Massage Newbies

There are many different styles of dynamic Pilates manly massages out there. Your favorite type will depend on personal preference or what your body is craving for at that moment. If you are new to massage, then the choices can seem overwhelming. We have compiled a list and descriptions of the most popular styles of therapeutic massage so you are armed with at least a basic knowledge.

1. Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the foundation for many Western styles of massages, including sports massage, deep tissue massage, and aromatherapy massage. The name originates from the Swedish inventor of the technique in the 1800′s.

Generally, a Swedish massage is received nude and covered with a sheet. The therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on, a technique called “draping.” However, a modest client may feel more comfortable keeping their underwear on and that is perfectly acceptable.

The massage therapists use massage oils or lotions to facilitate smooth, gliding strokes called effleurage. Other classic Swedish massage moves include kneading, friction, stretching and (sometimes) tapping. These are the basic strokes and the therapist flows from one technique to another with light to moderate pressure.

2. Deep Tissue Massage

This type of massage therapy focuses on reaching and affecting deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue.

Typically, it is used in aiding chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, tight back muscles, and sore shoulders.

Most of the strokes are the same as those mentioned in the Swedish massage, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper. The therapist uses thumbs and elbows to gain deeper penetration to muscle tissue to target adhesion’s (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesion’s to restore normal muscle function and movement. It’s normal to feel some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage but this should resolve in a day or so.

Deep tissue massage is often used by athletes and active people to keep the body free of injury and ready for action.

3. Sports Massage

Sports massage does have some aims in common with other forms of massage. It is important for the therapist to have a complete understanding of anatomy and physiology of the muscul0keletal systems. By understanding these systems and the effects of exercise, intelligently applied massage may benefit the sports person and becomes an integral part of the athlete’s training program.

Again the basic strokes are similar but applied in a more therapeutic manner depending on the athletes requirements. Stretching is incorporated into the massage and the therapist may focus on one part of the body rather than the whole.

Sports massage can be performed 45 mins before an event, an hour after the event and as part of an athletes regular training program.

4. Lomi Lomi Massage

Lomi Lomi is a Hawaiian style of massage. Perhaps this can best be understood by one of the alternate names for Lomi Lomi, and that is “Loving Hands” massage.

To understand the depth of Lomi Lomi massage, it helps to have an understanding of the Hawaiian philosophy called Huna, and how the philosophies of Huna relate to bodywork and healing. Huna is simply the belief that everything seeks harmony and everything seeks love.

Lomi Lomi penetrates gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous, flowing strokes, totally nurturing the body and, enabling the recipient to relax, give in and simply be. So technique is an important part of the massage, but much of the work is done by love, the therapist focusing on the client using loving hands and a loving heart.

The combination of total energy, long continuous flowing strokes, and loving touch, relaxes the entire being. The aim is to assist in a letting go of old beliefs, patterns and behaviours that cause limitations, which are stored in the cells of our body.

5. Shiatsu Massage

When visiting a practitioner of shiatsu massage, wear thin, loose, and comfortable clothing, such as cotton or linen. In a traditional shiatsu massage you can expect to lie flat on the floor, a beaded mat, or a futon.

Shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from the imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”) through the body.

The practitioners will use their fingers and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points on the body’s energy pathways, known as meridiens. They often use other techniques such as rocking, stretches, and joint rotations. Another therapy type called acupressure is based on the shiatsu system of massage.

6. Thai Massage

Thai massage is an ancient type of massage first developed in India thousands of years ago and was performed only by Buddhist monks. The Thai culture later adopted the same techniques into the modern form of the massage practiced today.

As with a shiatsu massage, wear thin, loose, comfortable clothing, as you can expect to lie flat on the floor, a beaded mat, or a futon.

Thai massage is more energizing and rigorous than more classic forms of massage and is often called Thai yoga massage.

The therapist uses his or her hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches. Muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure are among other techniques used by a Thai therapist.

People describe Thai massage as both relaxing and energizing and some say it is like doing yoga without any work.

Visit us for other articles like this, or if you are interested in therapeutic massage, sensual massage or other forms of bodywork.

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Buying Sheepskin Boots – Why Quality Matters

There are Sheepskin Boots and then there are “sheepskin boots!”

One only has to type “sheepskin boots” into any major search engine to be inundated with what seems like hundreds of retailers but they don’t know where ugg boots outlet online is. All of whom are only too anxious to relieve you of your hard earned cash in return for a pair of sheepskin boots. But with so many different brands to choose from how do you know you are making the right choice? There seems to be every type of boot on offer, in every price bracket – from those costing as little as a few pounds all the way up to the top branded makes costing a few hundred pounds per pair. How can you be sure that you are getting value for your money and does quality really matter when buying a pair of sheepskin boots?

To answer these questions we need to start at the very beginning of the sheepskin boot making process – that is we need to start
with the sheep!

The Sheep

High quality sheepskin boot manufacturers use the skins from Merino sheep which are universally regarded as providing the best quality wool and skins. The Australian geography and environmental conditions are uniquely suited to rearing Merino sheep of the highest quality and this is why the best sheepskin boots are made using only genuine Australian Merino sheepskins. The hides from Merino sheep tend to be thicker and more durable and the wool itself is very dense with excellent shape retaining properties. They therefore lend themselves very well to the manufacture of boots with their ability to endure wear and tear whilst at the same time keeping their shape and good looks for many years.

Sheepskin, also known as shearling fleece, is actually a fur – it has leather skin on one side and wool fur on the other. The sheepskin wool is embedded into the leather and because it is attached to the skin real sheepskin does not shed, pull out or wear off. Sheepskin wool is soft, resilient and naturally thermostatic – the wool fibres are hollow and capable of absorbing up to 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet to the touch. The fibres wick moisture away, enabling it to evaporate through the leather outer and this natural “breathing” ability ensures that your feet remain comfortable and dry whatever the weather.

Similarly during
cold weather the sheepskin fibres trap the heat of your body inside the boot thereby providing excellent insulation whilst at the same time the free flow of air between your feet and the sheepskin eliminates any clamminess.

Real sheepskin has many wonderful properties. For example did you know that it is non-static, flame resistant, wind proof and that the leather side is naturally water resistant? It also drapes beautifully and will return to its constituent shape – this means that over time your sheepskin boots will mould themselves to the shape of your foot offering you a customised fit. And as if that were not enough, the high naturally occurring lanolin content in the wool acts as a moisturiser so you can even moisturise your feet as you walk!

The Making of the Boot

Another factor to consider when choosing sheepskin boots is the actual process of converting a sheep’s skin into a workable boot making material. This is a much more involved process than most people realise! First the sheepskin has to be trimmed and washed to remove the dirt. It is then put through a fleshing machine which cuts off the flesh and fat. Next stop is a detergent bath which removes any remaining dirt and fat after which the skin is pickled in a pre-tan bath – this expands the skin and turns it into leather. The skin is then refleshed to clean the leather one more time before the final tanning process where tanning agents are added to allow the skin to become washable and heat stable. The skin is then tested for shrinkage, put through a sammy machine which presses out the excess moisture and improves the skin’s shape, dried again, then dry cleaned with white spirit before being spun and hung out to dry. The next step is to dye the skin in a bath of dye to which has been added acids which allow the dye to fix to the wool fibres, then the skin is given a final rinse, sammied and hung once again to dry. Once dry the skin is buffed to clean the
back and improve the appearance and the wool is combed and sheared to a uniform length. The combing and shearing process can be repeated many times until the desired effect is reached. Then, and only then, are the sheepskins ready to be made into boots!

Are Man Made Alternatives Better?

Man is a competitive beast and likes nothing more than trying to go one better than mother nature by tinkering with her treasures and trying to improve them. Indeed there are many occasions when man-made fabrics make for a much better product than anything found in the natural world. Take ski wear for example – the massive strides made in the manufacture of lightweight, breathable yet waterproof clothing has revolutionised the ski wear market. Now you can stay out all day in layers of moisture wicking undergarments, lightweight fleece sweaters, and Gore Tex coats and pants which have been specially designed to keep you warm, dry and comfortable no matter what the weather or how many times you fall over!

However, Man does not always know best! Especially when it comes to sheepskin boots! Cheaper types of sheepskin boots are made using a layer of wool or synthetic fleece material which has been glued onto pig or cow hide. This is then brushed up and is often loose enough to be pulled away from the backing which enables it to wear away when the boots are worn. This synthetic sheepskin does not breathe and results in the unpleasant sweaty feet problem of cheap boots. It is impossible to copy synthetically the astounding list of natural qualities found in real sheepskin but unfortunately these cheap boots are often marketed as “Sheepskin Boots”.

So as you can see real sheepskin is a marvellous product – just ask any sheep! Don’t accept pale imitations – insist on high quality sheepskin boots and they will be an investment which you can enjoy year after year. Manufacturers of quality sheepskin boots will be happy to tell you where their sheepskins come from – it is only the man-made sheepskin boot manufacturers who will be evasive with this information.

So, Bottom Line?

Yes! Quality does matter when buying sheepskin boots. You don’t have to buy the most expensive make of boot but you do need to be sure of where the makers got their sheepskins from. If you want real quality and value for money then invest in a pair of boots made from genuine Australian Merino sheepskin and you will be able to enjoy them for many years to come.

(c)2005. Sue Madelin is the owner of The Snug Stop purveyor of finest quality Australian Merino sheepskin boots, and a huge fan of her many pairs of Warmbat sheepskin boots. [http://www.snugstop.com]

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Wedding Ideas to Help You Save Money on Your Wedding Planning

Crown has everything you need for your Hen’s, Buck’s, Birthday or hens venues Melbourne. Wedding planning can be a challenging exercise, not to mention an expensive one. Having a budget is essential but sometimes your budget just can’t quite accommodate all the wedding ideas you have in mind. Wedding planning becomes a matter of compromise, saving money in one area so that you can spend more in another, or saving money on the overall expense of the day.

The simple wedding ideas below will help you to save money on your wedding planning.

Wedding Reception

Wedding receptions can account for a significant amount of your overall wedding budget, usually around 40-50%. Wedding ideas to help reduce the amount you spend on your wedding reception are:

  1. Select a venue that doesn’t charge a hire fee – Some hotels and restaurants will waive the venue hire fee if you achieve a minimum spend on food and beverages. This can save you hundreds (if not thousands) but you must be sure that the minimum spend they need is realistic for your wedding reception. Alternatively, other venues may not require a venue hire fee at all.
  2. Opt for a venue that doesn’t require much decoration – Decorations and theming can really add up. By choosing a venue, such as a restaurant, that has stylish decor you won’t need to worry about spending a fortune on hiring chair covers and cloths to cover ugly trestle tables and chairs, or other props to dress up an otherwise boring function room.
  3. Host a cocktail reception instead of a sit-down meal – Serving your wedding guests a two- or three-course dinner can cost upwards of $65 per guest. By hosting a cocktail reception and serving canapes instead you can easily save yourself around $20-$30 per guest. Another advantage is that a cocktail reception requires less space than a seated reception, so you can hire a smaller area and potentially save on your venue hire fees.
  4. Get married on a Friday or Sunday – Saturday afternoon or evening is the most popular time to be married. Venues know this and they impose a higher minimum spend on Saturday. By having your wedding reception on a Friday or Sunday (or even mid-week if it suits) you will reduce the amount that the venue insists on receiving by thousands of dollars.
  5. Avoid serving spirits and limit wine selection – It’s not necessary to have an open bar for your wedding reception. The biggest cost saver is not serving spirits at all, or if that doesn’t sit well with you then just serving them for the first hour. By limiting the wine selection in advance you can eliminate the possibility of your guests requesting premium wines that might blow your budget out.

Wedding Dress

Many brides spend thousands of dollars on their wedding dress and that’s fine if that’s your choice. However, if you’ve looked around at dresses and decided this is an area where you haven’t budgeted enough, consider these money-saving wedding ideas:

  1. Buy a pre-loved wedding dress – Take advantage of those women who spent thousands and now need to recoup some money. They’ve worn their dress once and had it professionally cleaned. The dress still looks as good as new but costs around 50-75% of the original price, sometimes even less. This is a great way to pick up a designer wedding dress at a fraction of the retail price. Pre-loved wedding dresses can be found listed on the seller pages of many wedding directory websites.
  2. Buy from a bridal outlet store – If it’s last season’s (or last year’s) wedding dress style it will cost less. By buying from a bridal outlet store you can save yourself hundreds off the retail price. The dresses may be classed as old stock but they’ve never been worn and the basic styles don’t tend to change too much from year to year.
  3. Wear an evening gown instead of a wedding dress – There are some stunning evening gowns available, which can look just as elegant as a wedding dress but without the wedding dress price tag. While many evening gowns are available in white or neutral tones, this is the ideal option if you’re looking to walk down the aisle in a coloured wedding dress.

Flowers and Decorations

Flowers and decorations add ambience to your wedding day. They are a lovely inclusion but can be budget breakers. Some budget relief can be found in the following wedding ideas:

  1. Forget formal floral arrangements – Instead of paying a fortune for a florist to create floral centrepieces for you, consider buying loose flowers and leaves from a flower market. These can then be placed or scattered on the tables at your wedding reception. As long as you keep the layout simple, the venue will often be willing to place these for you at no (or minimal) extra cost when they’re setting the tables for your reception. If not, enlist the help of a couple of good friends to go in and place them for you.
  2. What decorations can your wedding venue offer you? – Many venues that regularly hold weddings often have their own decorative items, such as candles, candelabras, fairy lights, coloured table cloths and chair covers, already available for you to use. Some require you to hire them for a small fee, others include them in your function package at no extra cost.
  3. Scour discount and craft stores – These stores often have items at bargain prices that, with a little creativity, you can turn into a striking table centrepiece or unusual prop to decorate your wedding reception. Discount stores are great for inexpensive glass bowls, vases, candles and candle holders. Craft stores sell all kinds of interesting items such as mini painting easels (to display your place cards or menus), beads and ribbons, silk flowers, woven baskets and boxes, and a wide range of decorative paper and cardboard.

Wedding Stationery

Design, printing and mailing costs associated with wedding stationery can be exorbitant and it’s very easy to go overboard without realizing it. Here are some wedding ideas to keep your costs well within the budget:

  1. Do you need to print them? – Traditionally, people choose to print wedding date claimers, invitations and RSVP cards for their guests, which then require envelopes and postage that can significantly add to the expense if you’re looking at having a lot of guests. Instead, why not design your own invitation as an electronic document that can be emailed to your guests. Guests then respond via phone or email, saving paper and postage.
  2. Check out the do-it-yourself options at stationery stores – Stationery stores carry a vast range of beautiful papers and cards. You can easily create your own invitations by overlaying paper printed with your wedding details (through your standard computer printer) to decorative card for a personal touch.
  3. Consider creating your own wedding website – Wedding websites are growing in popularity and are available for a small subscription fee from many wedding directories. Basically you create a website all about your wedding and include all the various details about the hen’s and buck’s parties, ceremony and reception. You can then create, within the website, invitations for these events and email them to guests. The website can even collate RSVPs for you.

If you’re still looking for more wedding ideas then take a look through bridal magazines for inspiration. Many of the items shown in the magazines can be bought inexpensively online, or you can get creative and make them yourself.

Corinne Templeton
Editor, Wedding Ideas Guide

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