We sat down with practicing Herbalist, Nutritionist and Massage Therapist Michelle Akiva to find out a little bit more about the benefits of massage therapy.
La Mav: Can you tell me a little about yourself, background, qualifications and areas of interest?
M.A: I am a practicing Herbalist, Nutritionist and Massage therapist. I hold Advanced Diploma’s in Nutritional Medicine, Herbal Medicine and Remedial Massage, also Lymphatic Drainage and Hot Stone Massage Therapy. I have been studying and working in the Health Industry for over 8 years, and have a great passion for the human body in general. I have worked at North Shore Private Hospital and St Vincent’s Clinic in Sydney, also U Clinic and Stone Jasper in Surry Hills and Bayside Natural Health Centre in Double Bay. I currently have a practice in Milton, South Coast NSW. All aspects of my qualifications interest me and I love how they can all be incorporated in treating one person.
La Mav: Massage has been around for 1000’s of years and used across many different cultures. Which techniques or practices do you prefer to use and why?
M.A: My massage practice will differ with each individual depending on their presenting symptoms. I commonly use Remedial Massage in combination with myofascial release and trigger point therapy to treat neck, shoulder and back problems. Myofascial release is a very gentle, effective technique which can release and hold the release of muscles. Trigger point therapy can be more painful (for a short time) but is also very beneficial in releasing tight muscles. I use Lymphatic drainage when treating post cancer patients and if patients present with swelling.
La Mav: When a lot of people think of massage they think either relaxation or the pain of squeezing knotted muscles. Do all massages require some level of discomfort?
M.A: No, but it does depend what you are after. Lymphatic drainage for example is an extremely gentle type of massage but it is also one of the most powerful types of massage through its work with the lymphatic system. It also engages the parasympathetic nervous system (involved in rest and digest) promoting deep relaxation.
Remedial massage will usually involve some discomfort when activating trigger points however but it is usually described as ‘the good pain’ and dissipates in a short time leaving you feeling much better.
In my Hot Stone Massage treatments I use the hot stones as an extension of my hands. This provides a very deep penetration of the muscles without a great deal of pain because of the heat in the stones. Hot stone therapy is a good example of a deep therapeutic treatment which is also extremely relaxing, even blissful.
La Mav: What are the main benefits from receiving a massage?
M.A: Reducing pain and discomfort
Relaxing muscles and increasing joint mobility
Improving tissue repair
Improving blood flow
Reducing muscle spasm
Relaxing the nervous system
Breaking down scar tissue
La Mav: What are your five top tips for a healthy musculo-skeletal system?
M.A: Stay in a healthy weight range.
Use your body often, keep active – exercise (including weight bearing)
Be aware of your posture as often as possible
Wear supportive shoes and/or orthotics
Ensure you are getting enough calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.
La Mav: Thank you for your time!