As summer sends the mercury rising, intolerance to excessive heat grows. When it comes to massage administration, this intolerance poses a contradiction. The nature of bodywork is enhanced with warmth, as higher temperatures encourage tissue relaxation and fluid circulation. However, when a person is overheated, adding even more heat is anything but therapeutic.
At first thought, a cooling technique, such as ice massage, appears to be a logical technique to balance the fiery heat of summer. While valuable for reducing inflammation in acute sports injury work, ice massage will not increase local circulation or relax tense muscles. The solution to providing a balanced therapeutic massage this season is to find ways to support body cooling without sacrificing the aid of warmth in the healing process.
7 Ways to Keep Your Clients Cool and Comfortable
Try incorporating some of the following suggestions, or use them to jump-start your own ideas into your summer client sessions:
- Cool Moonstones – Consider learning how to do a cool moonstone facial. While hot stone massage is a popular choice in colder months, the heat translated by hot stones can be too warming for many individuals already heated by summer’s temperature. The Institute offers the continuing education course, Stone Massage, which includes cool moonstone facial instruction. In addition to the moonstone facial, cool stones can be held in the palm or placed behind the neck to comfortably reduce body temperature.
- Aloe Vera – A massage medium containing aloe vera creates a cooling sensation, and is particularly effective on sunburned skin. When applied to the lower legs and feet, aloe vera can bring the body’s temperature down a few degrees without inhibiting circulation or relaxation.
- Room Temperature – The temperature in your massage setting is always a crucial factor, particularly during summertime. Especially if a client is already perspiring and feeling warm, stepping into a hot, stuffy room will only perpetuate their experience of heat. A ceiling fan’s slow setting is an ideal choice to make certain there is air circulation in the treatment space. However, finding the right semblance of cool can be a fine line, as an air conditioner blowing directly on a client can initiate muscular tension and contraction from its chill.
- Hydrosol Misting – Hydrosols are the pure, water-based solutions created when essential oils are steam distilled. Take advantage of the cooling properties of peppermint or wintergreen to cool and refresh your client. When spraying a hydrosol mist, be aware of and refrain from its use if there are any contraindications present. Additionally, avoid irritation with any essential oil derivative by preventing any eye or mucus membrane contact.
- Cucumber Eye Pats – Often used in spa settings, a disc of fresh cucumber placed over the eyes can cool down a flushed face quickly. The cooling and moisturizing properties of cucumber are ideal for a supine client struggling with a hot, perspiring body. Always seek permission before placing fresh veggies on your client’s face.
- Water Consumption – Staying hydrated in the heat is crucial, especially when combined with bodywork’s characteristic release of toxins. To reduce overheating, offer your client a bottle of water to sip during, as well as after, your session.
- Cooling Acupressure – According to Oriental Medical Theory, working the following two locations can reduce internal body heat:
Large Intestine 11 – Located at the lateral end of the transverse cubital crease, midway between the radial side of the biceps brachii tendon and the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. This is a traditional point to reduce fever, revive from heatstroke, and reduce all kinds of internal heat conditions.
Governing Vessel 14 – Located just below the spinous process of cervical vertebrae 7. The main point for reducing summer heat, all of the yang (heat containing) meridians intersect here, and is therefore an extremely accessible location to release interior body heat. When this intersection of yang energy is opened, it reduces the accumulation of body heat.
Being aware of your client’s body temperature translates into your awareness of their comfort. The differences in body constitutions will lead some individuals to extreme discomfort in the heat while others will feel their best. When a therapist pays attention to temperature variations and then institutes methods to balance those variations, the client’s experience will be that much more beneficial and therapeutic.
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