I met Ariana a few years ago through my partner and was lucky enough to trade trades with her. I designed her branding for Spirited Away Massage, her London based massage company, and in return she gave me massages. I'd never had them before and I didn't really know of the health benefits of massage aside from alleviating stress. When she started talking about toxins and under developed muscles I was pretty curious and learned that massage is not only enjoyable but that it's also really, really good for you. So I thought I'd interview Ariana and share some of this information so people who might be interested in massage could know the actual health benefits of massage therapy.
How did you get into massage? How long did it take you to train? Are you still learning as you go?
Since I was a child I was my family masseuse. My mum would be tired after days of work and always asked me to rub her back, dad did the same. Then I always massaged my little brothers and it felt like second nature to me. When I finished school, the professional of being a massage therapists wasn't ‘on trend’ and it was all about business managers or marketing specialists. So I did a bachelor degree in marketing, and as soon as I stepped out from my University I totally knew that I couldn’t see myself doing a regular 9 to 5 job… I gave a massage beginners course a try and I absolutely loved it!!!!! After this I traveled to UK, and did a 1 year intensive course in deep tissue massage. Since then every year I take more and more courses to improve my qualification.
What are the health benefits of massage?
I can’t express how good a massage is! It’s not just to improve your physical body. I believe its has a psychological benefits, huge ones. With every massage you are entering into a persons most personal zone, were they let usually only people they trust, so I accept it as a privilege and an honour. The most important benefit in my opinion is the power of touch! It makes miracles.
What are regular problems that people may have that massage therapy can help fix?
The most common problems I have faced so far would be stress related tension in neck and shoulder areas, also people grind their teeth and tend to slouch in front of computer. Massage can work toward fixing those issues and also helps to reduce stress levels.
How does massage therapy work? What happens to the muscles during and after?
I always describe massage (I mean the deep tissue variety) as a gym session, just you don’t need to do anything. I work every muscle group and manipulate it from different angles by stretching the fascia and making space for muscles to function better, as it normally is tensed and clenched. The client might feel sore for a day or two after the massage session (as you feel the same after the gym) but it’s a good pain: we worked the muscle in a way that it never has before.
How often should you get a treatment?
It depends and varies from person and reason why he or she books massage. I believe in regular massages at least every 6 weeks to stimulate muscle memory to stay in correct position and stay pain free.
What's the hardest part of your job? Do you have to get massages yourself after doing such physical work?
I have never felt sore after my treatments, but always feel tired from psychological part. You work not only with a persons body but with his energy and soul. I try not to suck everything in, but it is really hard. That’s why I also need massages, and this is the best part of my work. In every course I do I meet new therapists, we swap contacts and then we do therapy swaps on each other.
What are things you can tell about a person just from giving them a massage?
It’s easy to say what the person does every day. Tensed body parts tell about the persons profession or his hobbies. I can tell when person plays tennis a lot, or golf. Or if he or she spends days in front of a computer. etc.
What are the best things to do before and after a massage to get the best experience?
The environment where you receive the massage is very important, all the senses I believe must be stimulated during the session (smell: candles, oils in diffuser, sound: music, good oil for soft touch and soft skin after, lights etc.. ). I always recommend to have nice cup of herbal tea or warm water after.
What should you avoid before/afterwards?
Never ever go outside after massage underdressed. It might cause nerve inflammation and you might end up in excruciating pain for few weeks. I know from personal experience.
If you feel sore after a deep-tissue massage what's the best way to help the pain?
A warm bath or shower always helps to ease muscle pain. Drops of lavender oil on your pillow before going to sleep promises the best night of sleep. And of course rest. Although I say its good pain and tomorrow you will feel better.
How do you assess what level of pressure to give your clients?
I always ask new client about the pressure, even if they say level from 1 to 5 when 1 is very light touch and they choose 3 for example I recheck during the session if they’re comfortable with it...
We know you teach baby massage, what are the health benefits for babies?
Human newborns in real life wont survive without touch and affection (not like animal babies). So massage gives amazing results, especially for new mums are scared to accidentally hurt their babies. Massage teaches them how to touch their little ones while also being a good way to relax babies before they go to sleep. Mums also swear that it helps to reduce colic in babies.
Are there any particular circumstances where baby massage might really come in handy?
Yes! I would say there are physical issues like muscle hypertension or lack of muscle tone. Here massage would be beneficial.
Do you have any tips/tricks for any new mums?
Touch your babies as often and as much as you can! You don’t need to have a routine or knowledge about massage. The power of touch is incredible and does miracles!!!
Do you have any tips for muscle related problems over all?
I wish that everyone lived in stress free environment, meditate every day and have healthy life style. Sometimes that’s impossible so my tips would be to have hot baths, herbal teas and infuse oils in your environment.
If you're in London and you fancy a really good massage, Ariana will come to your home to give you a treatment in the comfort of your own surroundings. As she said, it's about being as comfortable as possible. Check out Spirited Away Massage for more information about the services she offers. We have nothing but high recommendations for her services.