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Natural Therapies - Holistic Massage

A photo of a woman being massaged

Laura Hilliard Brady is an ITEC massage tutor and a licensed Louise L Hay workshop leader with over 20 years experience in teaching holistic massage and ARCHTI recognised postgraduate massage workshops in Ireland. She has holistic massage practices in Julianstown, Co Meath and Portmarnock, Co Dublin under the name Massage And Me.

With over 75 percent of illness manifested in the mind and body caused by day-to-day stress, we are always searching for something to help bring back balance in the body. Holistic massage is one of many treatments that help maintain homeostasis in the body.

With our hectic lifestyles sometimes it is hard to stop for a moment and we rush around totally unaware that we are stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This constant state causes all sorts of problems in our mind and body such as high blood pressure, IBS as our digestion switches off and over-stimulation of adrenalin which causes an imbalance of hormones.

Holistic is a Greek word meaning ‘whole’ as in a person’s mind, body and spirit. A holistic massage treatment with the use of warm towels, hot oil, soft lighting and relaxing music creates a sense of warmth and a safe space for your one-hour treatment.

Holistic massage uses long deep soothing strokes to relax the mind and body thus stimulating the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, known as the parasympathetic nervous system. This system can only kick in during sleep or rest. If you suffer from insomnia or have a racing mind then this may cause havoc with your digestion, headaches or irritability and have a knock-on effect in your daily life.

The human body is amazing and if we only make time for nurturing, it can bring about its own healing. This is where receiving a holistic massage is so beneficial. The parasympathetic nervous system totally relates to the power of touch. Soothing strokes all over the body relay messages to the brain to relax and switch into healing mode where the cells in the body can heal and repair.

The beauty of massage is that after that first stroke, whether it’s the feet or head, this creates a reflex action like a wave of relaxation. Some clients say simply lying on the bed under warm towels has helped them relax.

With so many of us using the computer for eight hours a day with our shoulders slightly rounded, driving in hectic traffic or carrying the worries of the world on our shoulders, we tend to manifest knots of tension across the shoulders which can lead to eyestrain and headaches that we just get used to living with.

In a holistic massage the therapist will warm up the area and then squeeze, ease and disperse the tension otherwise known as lactic acid in the body. The client usually feels lighter around the shoulders and has much more movement around the neck and shoulder area. Clients also feel they can breathe more easily allowing more oxygen into the body.

Holistic massage has a high impact on the immune system, with blood being pushed through the body it helps to eliminate waste via the kidneys and skin. Regular massage means less colds and flus during the winter.

Holistic massage works both on the physical and also on the psychological level. If a client just feels down and needs to alleviate tiredness they can really feel a sense of wellbeing after their massage.

CASE CONFIDENTIAL: ‘Holistic massage really helped my migraine’

Sally* is in her 30s and from Donegal

I have suffered from chronic migraines since I was 12 – I go blind, my hands, face and feet go numb and my body starts to shut down. It’s a very severe form of migraine that only one per cent of people get. I went to see Laura because it was really affecting my quality of life.

I have a session of one hour where Laura works on my upper back, then I turn over onto my front and she massages my neck from behind, then does some head work.

Recently I went to see Laura and had the start of a migraine – she traced the nerves in my head down to the root. Afterwards I felt much better.

After six months of holistic massage I now don’t go blind any more, haven’t vomited in ages and I have what I would call ‘normal’ migraines.

Laura has also done some work with me on how to balance everything in my life. Positive affirmations have really worked for me and I have started to recognise issues more quickly.

Holistic massage has helped to keep my stress levels down and I am a more positive person. I have more energy and am feeling generally better. I have had digestive issues my entire life and those have started rectifying as well.

Yvonne McLaughlin can be contacted at or 086 238 5564

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