One of the coolest and also quirkiest places for massage in Dublin 2 has to be the Harvest Moon Centre on Baggot Street.
I've been going there for years and given lots of people vouchers for here and they have gone on to become quite devoted fans of the place. The treatments are awesome and good value too.
The owner Peter Kane gives us the lowdown on why massage is an essential part of being well.
Massage is an ancient healing art, not just a technical procedure.
We live in challenging times these days, with lots of responsibilities and worries. Finding a balance between our needs and the expectations of others can be difficult. These responsibilities and worries tend to collect around the shoulders ('the weight of the world on our shoulders') causing tightness, knots and pain. In time, this state of stress and mild confusion can lead to many health issues like digestive and circulatory conditions.
The health benefits of Massage cannot be overlooked. Many studies prove that stress is a contributing factor in many diseases and chronic conditions. Massage is a highly effective ways of lowering stress levels, boosting the immune system and inducing an overall feeling of well-being.
A deeply relaxing massage can raise a person’s awareness of their relationship with themselves on many levels, including physically and emotionally. It helps us to understand our body, our 'self', improving our sense of connection to ourselves, to each other and to the world we live in. In other words, it increases self-esteem and fulfills our basic human need for touch, communication and sharing. Massage also eliminates toxins from the blood stream and stimulates the organs to facilitate their speedy exit from the body.
When we have regular massage we become more aware of where we hold our tension which, in turn, makes us less inclined to allow it to build up. We stretch more, improve our posture, diet, and working habits. Because we become more in tune with what our body is saying to us, we are more likely to take care of ourselves, to eat better and to have healthier lifestyles, increasing our sense of responsibility towards ourselves and our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Massage is kind of like a hug, it takes two to make it great. But unlike a hug, massage requires one person to be active and attentive, stimulating and balancing energy centres and reminding us of the life force that pervades our being, and the other to just be present and let go. The therapist actively helps you discover where your tension is. You let go and open yourself to releasing the stress, consciously relaxing until no more effort is required.
Most of us often feel like we need to control almost everything in our lives but imagine if the subconscious mind took a day off and we had to consciously take control of all the decisions required to maintain our bodies for a day. I’m pretty happy with the job my body’s doing - I’m sure it would do even better if I got out of its way more often!
Massage therapy is an effective way to activate the body's natural desire to be balanced. The opening strokes of a holistic massage are often long, slow strokes. Just what's needed to trigger the parasympathetic system.
Our bodies have an inbuilt instinctive reaction to situations which challenge our survival or wellbeing. It is known as “fight or flight” response. Our nervous system becomes highly activated and hormones such as adrenaline prepare us to respond to an emergency. Muscles tense for action, heart rate and blood pressure increase, breathing becomes rapid and shallow and digestion and other maintenance functions are put on hold. Unfortunately fighting or running is rarely a useful response to modern difficulties like moving house, relationship upheavals, relentless bills and job insecurity. Today's stresses are often somewhat ambiguous and ongoing, for example money worries or interpersonal conflicts. This means your body and mind do not receive a clear signal that it is safe to stop, relax and recuperate.
You may find that as your stress goes on without much relief, you become less and less able to unwind. Muscle tension can develop into problems such as chronic headaches or shoulder and back pain which are themselves stressful. Worry and physical tension can interfere with sleep, leaving you exhausted with little energy or mental focus to make the most of your day. You may even find your normal coping strategies add stress as you struggle to find time for exercise or social engagements. As the level of stress hormones in your bloodstream increases you may find yourself constantly agitated, reacting not only to actual events, but to anticipated events and memories.
In a stress emergency, massage provides immediate relief with soothing sensations in a safe relaxing environment and refocuses your attention away from your worries and tensions. Studies show that massage triggers the relaxation response, taking your body off alert and setting in motion the biological process needed to restore your resources and reverse the physical responses of "fight-or-flight." With massage, calming touch sends your nervous system the signal that it is okay to take a break, allowing your body and mind to relax unwind and heal.
When you are overtaxed and running on empty, massage can help you recharge and restore your energy and creativity and bring you back to the present moment where contentment is always present.
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