Sunday, March 28, 2010
Massage? I won't do this one...........
Some people like the feel of non-poisonous reptiles slithering across their bodies in spa-like settings, with larger, heavier snakes providing a deeper kneading as they crawl across flesh. But how effective are these creatures at reducing stress? Even snakes’ general pressure on the body can be relaxing, says Kriota Willberg, a licensed massage therapist and an instructor at Swedish Institute, in New York. But what’s missing is a snake’s ability to systematically and selectively apply pressure, and to respond to the body’s feedback.
When a patient is stressed out, the neck, shoulders, lower back and lower extremities are often especially tense, says Willberg. Within these areas of tension, multiple layers of muscles are often involved. By incorporating different muscle-relaxing techniques, such as tempo, expertise at palpating, and varying the pressure—skills that are not part of a snake’s repertoire—massage therapists customize their work to patients’ needs. The result is a modality that’s both stress-reducing and therapeutic.