A holistic full body massage can be a great way to combat stress, relaxing both mind and body as KAREN DOWNEY found out after a recent visit to Ache Busters on the Coosan Road in Athlone:
I have on occasion been known to say I would like someone to walk across my back to release the tension there, particularly after a long day sitting hunched in front of my computer. And with a growing strain in my neck and shoulders of late I was more than happy to head along to Ache Busters on the Two Mile Road, just off the Ballymahon Road, and put the full body holistic massage to the test.
Arriving at Ache Busters, I was greeted by Gyonji Karasz, who explained that the idea of Ache Busters is 'Five Senses Therapy', where the colours used in the decor are bright, happy colours, the scents come from the aromatherapy oils used, the taste from the various teas and treats you can enjoy after your treatment, the touch obviously from the massage and the sound comes from audio programmes that Gyonji uses.
The audio programmes use relaxation techniques, while also using affirmations to help, for example, in giving up cigarettes, or in my case to help with stress, quieten the mind and get me to relax.
While the primary massage Gyonji used for me was the holistic full body massage, she also incorporated elements of the Brandon Raynor's massage technique where needed. Brandon Raynor's massage takes various elements of different Eastern massages, such as Shiatsu and Thai, and incorporates them into one massage, which has been adapted to suit Westerners.
Beginning the massage, Gyonji, who also practices reflexology, started by massaging my feet and explained that this allows her to see which areas in particular need attention. She paid particular attention to the areas representing my spine and my shoulders, getting me to take deep breaths as she applied pressure in a bid to help these areas relax. She informed me afterwards that there was a lot of tension there and it is important to tackle these points on the foot before massaging the actual muscles.
As she was massaging my feet and legs I was listening to a wonderful relaxation CD, with sounds of the ocean and birds helping me to unwind as the occasional whispered affirmation reminded me to breathe deeply and relax. Gyonji also noticed that my sinuses were causing me difficulty and added Eucalyptus oil the oil burner in the room, which helped with my breathing.
With my legs and feet utterly relaxed, Gyonji began to work on my back, neck and shoulders, paying particular attention to the base of my spine and my neck and shoulders, areas where I tend to hold a lot of tension. I could feel the knots unravel as she applied just the right amount of pressure. She also massaged my arms and hands, leaving the muscles completely limp and tension-free.
At this stage I was almost drifting off to sleep, but not quite. Gyonji asked if I could 'endure' any more and as it was just so relaxing and enjoyable I of course answered yes. Then it was time to turn over and Gyonji began once again with my feet, this time massaging the front of my body, working first on my feet and legs.
A first for me during a massage, Gyonji then massaged my tummy. Although the idea of having your tummy massaged may sound a little strange, it was thoroughly enjoyable and Gyonji applied a much gentler pressure than when she had been massaging my back and legs. The benefits of this, I found out after the massage, were that it helps with fluid retention.
Gyonji then moved onto my shoulders and arms once again, getting some serious knots out of my shoulders and also rotating my head and neck to relieve the pain there.
Having been massaged from head to toe, I was well and truly relaxed and could have slept for days! Gyonji explained that I had been holding a lot of tension in my neck, shoulders and spine and so she spent a lot of time on these areas trying to release the tension and return the flow of ki, or energy, to my body.
A native of Hungary, she explained that when she was growing up massages were relatively cheap and easily available and so people had them all the time. However, it is only in recent years that she herself has began to practice massage and in August she began treatments from Ache Busters on the Two Mile Road and is currently offering special introductory prices. The full body holistic massage, which lasts for one hour, has an introductory price of just €30 and it's certainly well worth it. For more information or to book an appointment you can phone Gyonji on 089 4133884 or log onto www.achebusters.ie