Swedish massage relies largely on a technique known as effleurage. Learn how it zaps stress with Groupon's peek at this basic stroke.
Effleurage is the glue that holds a Swedish massage together. Its smooth, gliding strokes may not deliver much pressure?the word itself is taken from a French verb that means "to touch lightly"?but the technique simultaneously soothes the nerves, boosts circulation, and allows the massage therapist to identify problem zones that need extra attention. Because effleurage doubles as an assessment tool, many therapists begin each massage with it, usually by gliding their open palms lightly across the body to feel for tense spots and potholes while acclimating the client to their touch. This form of effleurage is known as "superficial," and it serves a soothing prelude, epilogue, and transitional movement between deeper, more focused kneading.
A slightly more forceful style of effleurage is known as "deep effleurage." This form still uses gliding strokes, only with more pressure, as the therapist aims to stretch out the muscle tissue and the web of connective tissue that covers it. Therapists will generally direct the first part of their deep-effleurage stroke towards the heart, finishing with a lighter return stroke away from it. Not only does this warm up tissues for deeper muscle work, but it can also speed up the movement of blood and lymph fluid. This boost in circulation can help drain fluid from injured areas, reducing painful pressure while also releasing endorphins that further relax the entire body.
Chaba Herbal Spa & Thai Yoga Massage?s owner traveled the world to bolster her therapeutic knowledge. She began studying the art of Thai massage in Bangkok, Thailand, at the Watpro Traditional Medical School. After finishing her program, she packed her bags and journeyed to Los Angeles, where she accumulated a pet palm tree and 500 hours of massage-therapy schooling with a focus on traditional Thai massage. She uses this combination of cultural knowledge and varied techniques to treat clients with massages that fuse multiple disciplines into one soothing session. She also surrounds her clients with Thailand-influenced decor, including green plants, live flowers, and bubbling fountains that ease stress. In addition to massages, the spa also offers skin and body treatments, waxing services, and reflexology sessions.
Whether clients are dealing with back pain, bad posture, or the aches associated with pregnancy, the massage therapist at PerfecTouch Therapy has a remedy. That's because the therapist's repertoire of muscle-kneading techniques varies greatly, unlike a golden retriever's wardrobe. In addition to standard maneuvers such as Swedish massage, the stress-tamer also offers hot-stone, deep-tissue, and foot-focused treatments.
Candlelight illuminates a swirling jacuzzi at Spa Pura, a 7,000-square-foot relaxation mecca where clients shed stress as they don a robe and slippers before indulging in one of the spa’s many services. Aestheticians perform a full spectrum of facial treatments that leverage clay masks, SkinCeuticals products, and vitamin infusions to help the skin to regain its glow. Teams of massage therapists welcome clients onto beds and pore over muscles with relaxing strokes, and body scrubbers and waxing technicians exfoliate and smooth frames. Clients hesitant to return to the outside world can bide their time in the spa’s raindrop showers or eucalyptus steam room, which doubles as koala heaven.
From a luxurious, marble-heavy refuge nestled in the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel, the illustrious team at Argyle Salon & Spa pamper every guest like their high-profile celebrity clientele, earning mention in magazines such as Vogue, Hollywood Reporter, and Los Angeles magazine. Hands calibrate each muscle-melting massage so that each ounce of pressure addresses individual needs. An extra 30 minutes of suite access included with the massage package encourages patrons to spend time soaking in a sea-salt bath, lingering under a hot shower, or boiling 10 3-minute eggs. Luxuriaters then retire to the baths to sink into an indulgent, moisturizing milk bath enriched with almond oil and vanilla accents, and steep themselves in the spa's hammam, a low, steam-heated pod that can help open up pores and detoxify the corporeal form. A stint in the traditional Turkish treatment bolsters the facial package, which inspires cellular renewal in sun-damaged, dull-seeming skin. Crafted with Arcona products, the soothing facial incorporates a peel that cleanses and activates skin with organic fruit enzymes, restoring balance and coaxing out pore-blocking pygmy marmosets with a fresh botanical bouquet.
Ticia Lea has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to making others feel good, whether as a massage therapist, certified natural make-up artist, an aesthetician, or an herbal nutrition practitioner. She’s trained up and down the West Coast, plying her trade at such posh locales as the Beverly Hilton. After a summer spent demonstrating the benefits of organic skincare lines in Colorado, Ticia returned to California and performs a wide range of services including several different type of modalities such as hot-stone massage therapy, microdermabrasion, and eyelash-extension application.