Just Relax – Part Two of Three
by Mary Taylor Fullerton
Please read Part One to understand where this picks up:
I would receive three treatments:
(1) Abhyanga – warm oil therapeutic massage
This, she told me, is not like a typical massage (not only deep muscle/tissue), it focuses mostly on the lymphatic system, to help flush toxins and other unwanted fluids our bodies store.
(2) Ayurvedic Acupressure therapy
Gentle pressure in just the right amount to specific points on my body to help activate energy flow and alleviate tension. Acupressure, I would later research, is an ancient healing art in which a practitioner uses their fingers to gradually press key healing points that stimulate the body in order to activate internal healing and soothing properties.
(3) Shirodhara – warm oil drip on forehead (“third-eye”)
A “total mind relaxation,” Sanghee told me. While it has been used to treat a variety of health conditions, such as: eye diseases, sinusitis, insomnia and memory loss; I was being offered this treatment for its popular non-medical use: relaxation, commonly used in Ayurvedic spas.
Sanghee asked if I had any questions (there are questions I probably should have asked, but we’ll get to that later), I’ve always been a more experiential learner and so we got started. I was eager to get horizontal and leave the week behind – let the relaxation begin! The room was pleasant, similar to other massage studios I’ve visited, but with a few items of intrigue: bowls of aromatic oil on warming trays with ladles and tiny thermometers, a mobile cart from which hung a squat, copper bowl with a spout at the bottom swinging like a pendulum over a metal dish (this would be for Shirodhara).
After undressing and crawling under the sheet, lying there on the massage table, and taking a deep breath, I could sense my body beginning to slow down. Sanghee set some ambient background noise (ocean first, then chirping birds, then something I can’t remember…). I heard some tinkering around with those bowls and pots, then felt warm oil dripped on my lower back, “Is the temperature ok?” Sanghee asked. “Yes,” it felt great. With purpose and intention, Sanghee began the warm-oil massage, intermixed with the acupressure – a targeted spot on my body where Sanghee would press decisively and evenly with her thumb or fingers.
Every so often, Sanghee would scoot over to the bowls to re-saturate my skin with the aromatic, warm oil; hitting just the right spots to keep me warm – lower back, ankles, back of neck. Later, I would learn there are specific types of oils chosen to match each individual’s specific needs, I received a simple blend of organic oils.
As she described, the massage was not about getting at deep muscle tissue, but combined a soothing and specific pattern of moderate rubbing and pressure to help stimulate and flush lymph fluids. Yes, about those acupressure points. This was my first experience with acupressure, and it will not be my last. One sequence in particular was amazing – simultaneous pressure (felt like a knuckle, or thumb?) on each side of the back of my leg, starting near the top of my femur, hamstring, back of knee, calf, ankle and foot. During this sequence I drifted into a restful, peaceful daze; not sleep exactly, but a deep relaxation where I momentarily lost track of time – five seconds? five minutes? Ahhhhh, it didn’t matter. And flip. TO BE CONTINUED…Please click HERE to read Part Three!
© Serve the Warrior 2013 All Rights Reserved
TFGP Editor – Shari Goodhartz
Mary Taylor Fullerton lives near the beach in Northern California, and works in the mental health and addiction field as an Art Therapist. An avid lover of all things outdoors, Mary found her way to the San Francisco Bay Area after growing up just north of Boston, MA, where it is really hard to play softball in a t-shirt in January.
To learn more about Sanghee check out: