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Holistic Massage at Therap-Ease by Rachel Thomson

I have been interested in massage and holistic treatments for many years and after a change of career have been able to pursue my interests more actively by training as a Holistic Massage Therapist with Essentials for Health ( in London, qualifying with a BTEC Level 4 Diploma which is the highest level in the UK, only available to students who have trained with Essentials for Health. I am a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapies ( which is the UK and Ireland's largest and leading professional association.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about holistic massage:

What is Holistic Massage?

Holistic massage is a therapeutic application of touch that is also supportive, relaxing treatment that encourages the mind to slow down whilst energy is increased. This treatment also lifts the spirit on an emotional level.

How often should I have a massage?

Just one treatment can often make a real difference to how you are feeling. That said, it’s often more effective to have a course of regular treatments. This may be weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on your needs. A treatment plan will be discussed with you, and reviewed as necessary. This will always be subject to your own preferences, and can be changed at any time according to progress.

When is the best time to have a massage?

This really does depend on your lifestyle. Generally, I’d recommend following a treatment with further relaxation, so a bath, early night or a relaxed afternoon with a good book would be perfect! I do understand that life isn’t always quite that, so just try not to pick a time where you’ll have to race off to get ready for a big night out or kids party – take it easy!

Do you use aromatherapy oils?

Aromatherapy is a specialist area and so I prefer not to use these types of oils for holistic massage. My skin is very sensitive.

What kind of massage oil do you use?

My massage oil is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free and I try to use organic products where possible. I tend to use jojoba oil, or sweet almond or a blend of grapeseed and shea butter. Whatever I use it is light so can easily be absorbed by the skin but also very nourishing.

Do you play music?

During the treatment you are encouraged to switch off and enjoy the deep relaxation. A busy mind can often create quite a distraction in a silent room so I play gentle music during the treatments to help facilitate relaxation. The music I choose is created specifically for this purpose and so it’s unlikely you’ll recognise any of the tracks or be distracted by lyrics. Of course, if you prefer treatments can be carried out in silence – just mention this before your treatment..

Do I have to talk to you during the treatment?

As a rule, no. Once the massage plan is agreed and you are relaxed and ready to receive massage there is no need for conversation, you can just drift off into a deeply relaxed state. I will however check in with you from time-to-time to ensure you are warm, comfortable and happy with the level of pressure. Holistic massage is not set to any routine nor is it about me ‘doing my thing’. It’s your treatment so please don’t wait to be asked. If you are in any discomfort or would like the treatment to be changed in any way, at any point then that’s just fine.

Do I need to have a full body massage?

Not at all. A full body massage is fantastic but sometimes you may prefer to have a whole hour focussed on your back or your legs, if that’s what your body needs, rather than squeeze it all into one treatment. The massage you receive is very much centred around your needs and the type of outcomes you would like. The consultation is our chance to chat through how you are feeling today and what your body needs in order to create the perfect treatment for you.

I don’t feel comfortable removing my clothes. What are the options?

Many people feel that they must be naked or down to their underwear to receive a massage. In truth, you can undress as far as you feel comfortable. If you are receiving a treatment to the upper back or legs then if you prefer it’s just fine for you to keep the other areas of your body clothed. There is lots that can be done through clothes, or drapes working without oils. Equally, some people feel totally relaxed when they are naked or just wearing underwear. If this is your preference then you will be properly covered during the session with a towel to protect your modesty at all times. Only the area being worked on will be exposed. It’s your treatment so it’s totally up to you.

Why do you have to ask about my medical history and medication?

Holistic massage treats the whole person and can have an impact on any one of the body systems, be that lymphatic, cardiovascular or circulatory. As this is a hands-on treatment it’s important that I have an awareness of how you are and any ongoing problems or medication so that I can tailor the treatment accordingly. As a BTEC qualified therapist, I am required to have a broad knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology so although I am not in a position to diagnose, I have a good understanding of how to work with a broad variety of clients. If you are in any doubt as to if you should be receiving massage you can seek permission from your doctor who will be able to clarify if the treatment is appropriate for you.

What if I am pregnant or think I might be? Is it safe for me to have a massage?

Massage during pregnancy can be hugely beneficial to both mother and baby. It's perfectly safe for you to receive massage after the first trimester but you may find it uncomfortable to lie on your stomach and I do not have the appropriate cushioning to support a growing abdomen.

I have a skin complaint that I’m a bit conscious of. Will it still be OK for me to have a massage?

It really does depend on the condition and if you feel comfortable with massage to the effected area. Psoriasis for example can often benefit from having fresh blood moved through to the effected area but you may not feel happy to receive massage if it is uncomfortable or you feel self conscious. There are some conditions that may prohibit massage (such as Impetigo) and some that mean we can’t treat the effected area (athlete’s foot is a good example) so if you’re ever in any doubt then you can discuss the matter over the phone before you book the treatment.

Why should I avoid alcohol or caffeine after a massage?

Drinks like alcohol and coffee dehydrate the body so should be avoided. You also might feel slightly lightheaded after your treatment so adding alcohol into the equation won't help! Instead drink lots of water to help flush out toxins and waste materials. Herbal teas are also beneficial, as is rest and relaxation and light meals that your body will find easy to digest.

How will I feel after my treatment? Will I be ok to drive?

Holistic massage can have a deeply relaxing effect on the body. Sometimes clients can feel a bit drowsy after the treatment so it’s best to sit and have a glass of water as you bring yourself back into the space. It’s also likely that you’ll feel dehydrated so it’s really important to take lots of water on board. Sometimes, it might be that unexpected feelings or emotions arise during or after a Holistic massage so be sure to take time to ease yourself back into real life after the session.

How do I pay for my treatment?

Currently I am not able to accept payment by card so payments will need to be made by cash or cheque please.

by Rachel Thomson MFHT BTEC BA (Hons) Holistic Massage Therapist

To book a massage with Rachel, call Therap-Ease 0131 447 9990 or e-mail

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