Go to Health! (Because Life's Too Short)

Issue # 22 March 31, 1998

About the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to
www.rendell-smock.com .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara signed with a New York Literary agency in December.

Mini-Vacation from Stress

Part 2 of 2

"Massage is one of the more affordable mini-vacations from stress," says Clarence Gaston, massage professional of Handprints Massage Therapy in Palm Bay, Florida.

"First realize that you are purchasing the services of a professional. While the therapist is the expert, you are the boss. If you have any concerns and/or physical ailments, be sure to let the therapist know."

Gaston encourages his clients to begin relaxation by closing the eyes and centering on breathing. "Take several cleansing breaths in and out. Let your thoughts wander wherever they want to, not focusing on anything in particular, just drifting."

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Of the dozens of types of massages, three of the most popular are Neuromuscular, Swedish, and Shiatsu.

Neuromuscular relieves specific muscles with pressure to trigger points. In neuro, the massage therapist focuses on tight muscle fibers that actually are damaged from exertion or tension; Those knots in your neck, for example, are where muscles have bunched up or adhered to tissues or bone. Neuro can break this up through slight pressure that increases the blood flow and oxygen to the area. Pressure on these areas can eliminate pain-producing spasms by promoting the removal of the pain-creating wastes congested there. Often the therapist will use a light lotion or oil to improve friction on contact. (If you prefer no lotion, or very little, just make your preferences known.)

Shiatsu is a form of acupressure. Although the decision of whether to wear clothing during a massage or be draped with a fabric is an individual choice, many choose to wear a loose robe for Shiatsu. This massage may take place on a kneeling chair or a massage table or futon. Therapists use hands, elbows, and even knees to apply pressure to various points down the spine. The therapist rotates your limbs, tilts your head. This massage uses no oil.

The form of massage most people are familiar with is Swedish massage. It includes many types of strokes. Some of the basic ones achieve relaxation using friction, kneading, gliding, and the chopping motion.

Many therapists do not limit themselves to one technique: They use a combination of Neuromuscular, Shiatsu, Swedish, and other techniques to work on tight muscles. All styles of massage have the same goal: Relieve stress, promote circulation, and control pain.

At the end of a massage session, Gaston recommends you come back to reality slowly. "Savor the last few moments of deep relaxation. Then take an inventory of your body from the inside out. In your mind, go over all the areas of your body that felt stressful a short while ago. Make a note of how they feel now, so that when you start to get stressed again, you can call up that feeling of rest and relaxation."

Next Week:

A Look at Cancer

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Part of the original Sideroad. Text © 1998, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted on March 31, 1998. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at www.rendell-smock.com