Tian Di Massage

So… I took a continuing education course in Tian Di Bamboo Massage last fall.  I had figured that I would sit through a weekend of Frou-frou spa massage techniques and collect my mandatory continuing education credits and be on my way.  But, I learned a lot and have really come to love working with my bamboo sticks and Chinese therapeutic cups!

The first thing anyone says when I mention bamboo massage is, “ Are you going to beat me with the sticks of bamboo?”  My response?  -Only with the tapotement reed bundles!  …And then ensues a long explanation of what Tian Di massage is… Tian Di means “Heaven and Earth”.  It is a massage combination of massage with bamboo sticks and Chinese medical cupping techniques, based on watching monkeys working on each other with sticks in the wild.

A 90-minute Tian Di Massage that goes through progressive sizes of bamboo sticks, with strokes running the length of the entire body, which are then followed with cupping the length of the body, the client rolls over and we repeat everything on the other side. The session works out the tight spots, leaving you calm and relaxed like a bowl of Jello.

Here’s what you need to know about bamboo massage and Chinese cupping:

Bamboo massage

I learned quickly how to maneuver the muscles around the bones, and that I could “feel” my way through the sticks… I also learned how much both bamboo and cupping could really help with fascia issues.

Fascia is the connective tissue that connects everything together in the body, like the skin to the next layer below.  This tissue weaves through the body cradling organs and wrapping muscles to bones.  Wherever there are sore muscles, or “problems”, usually the fascia had gotten all wadded up, and some sort of manual therapy in needed to smooth it out again.  Most people who get myofascial release are expecting some serious, “deep”, sometimes painful, therapeutic work to relieve pain or serious tension.

The bamboo sticks are great for getting a lot of pressure and relief without “digging in”.  In Bamboo massage there is usually no “pinching” like myofascial release techniques can have, though they could be used for “poking” like in trigger point and acupressure.

The broad rolling surface of the bamboo spreads out the pressure and kneads the layers of skin, much like rolling out bread dough. The attached tissue progressively relaxes, getting more and more relaxed with each successive pass.  For deeper and deeper effects, there are progressively smaller circumference sticks.

Bamboo rolling can be so relaxing.  It can even have a strong sedating effect on the body, even with heavy pressure. (An occupational therapist has told me she used rolling pins, rolled up and down the back to calm children with behavior problems.)  There must be something about firm, but gentle pressure that can calm the nerves.

Chinese Cupping

The other part of the Tian Di Massage is Chinese cupping.  Cupping is one of the tools of acupuncture and can be used in patterns for assorted health issues, much like acupuncture needles.

Cupping actually pulls the skin, fascia and tissues instead of the push pressure in regular massage, and has lots of applications. The skin (and everything attached to it) unwinds gently, depending on how much vacuum pressure is in the cups.  (The more pressure the more you feel it.)  Cupping can really benefit someone who is too tender for a lot of pressure, like with Fibromyalgia.

The cups I use are hard plastic suction cups and I use a pump to pull out the air and the result is a vacuum.  Some acupuncturist’s use glass jars and makes a vacuum with fire to deplete the oxygen in the cup, thereby causing a vacuum. …For all you chemistry buffs out there! I like the plastic cups because I can control the pressure, and there is no risk of burns.

Cups can be left in one place for a specific pain treatment or slid across the skin to have a more general effect.  I don’t pretend to know everything with Chinese medicine, but I do like the effects in what I have seen using cups!

Sliding the cups along the muscles acts much like the bamboo, kneading the body.  The sliding technique is great for treating fibromyalgia.  Ladies, it can also help to smooth out those dimples of cellulite!

For most people who are seeking relief from pain, they don’t care how it’s done; they just want the pain gone.  Cupping is really great for relieving serious and recurring pain from sports injuries or previous traumas.  It gets the circulation going in areas that have ischemia (low blood circulation).

(I have seen from working in an acupuncturist’s office that therapeutically, if the cups are left in one spot with lots of pressure, they can cause bruising. The bruises are superficial and can turn any number of colors: from dark bluish purple to maroon, to bright red, and even grey.  Sometimes condensation appears inside the cups.  It just depends on what in going on deep inside the body according to Chinese medicine.  The bruise markings are usually gone within a week at the most, and the relief is worth the temporary octopus attack markings.   Anyone conscious of the markings can always have the cup sliding instead.)

Because of the benefits, I now incorporate the cups into any massage if I see a need for them, and the client wants them.  Some cups can be used for sinus pressure and skin blemishes, but I leave most of this to estheticians.

Gua sha tools are sometimes used to smooth and scrape the impurities out of the superficial layers of the skin and loosen more fascia tissue as a finishing technique.

All in all, I just love the benefits of Tian Di massage!  Try it out!


Taking care of feet…

Taking care of feet...


No one really knows how or why it works, but many rely on reflexology to recover and maintain their health. 

Reflexology is the stimulation of specific points mostly on the feet, but also hands, or ears in order to affect the whole body and therefore various organs, glands or structures in the body.  This enhances the body’s own natural healing processes for strength and balance.

Our feet carry enormous pressure through the day and could use some maintenance care through a reflexology session, or set of sessions depending on what is going on in the body.  The feet can carry tension and often pain. Tender points alert to problem areas and are addressed within client’s pressure wishes.  The whole foot is addressed to bolster the unison of the body systems, helping the immune system and encouraging a sense of vitality and wellness.

Only a small percentage of massage clients come in for pampering, relaxation massages.  Most come in for medical complaints: back pain, muscle spasms, sports injuries, migraines, fibromyalgia, and rehabilitation after surgery, etc. 

Many times Doctors will suggest massage for hypertension and high blood pressure.  But some people choose reflexology or energywork in tandem with conventional medicine to support the body through critical care, when the body cannot handle a full massage. 

Reflexology is easy to do over a lunch break, as it is only a 30-minute treatment, and doesn’t require disrobing.  Reflexology often requires a commitment of several treatments, especially if there have been serious health issues.  Ask for package deals! 

Check my “about” page for contact information.  Come try it out!

The Consequences of Stress

Experts estimate that 80 percent to 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Massage and bodywork is there to combat that frightening number by helping us remember what it means to relax. The physical changes massage brings to your body can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. Besides increasing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, massage lowers your blood pressure, increases circulation, improves recovery from injury, helps you to sleep better and can increase your concentration. It reduces fatigue and gives you more energy to handle stressful situations.

Massage is a perfect elixir for good health, but it can also provide an integration of body and mind. By producing a meditative state or heightened awareness of living in the present moment, massage can provide emotional and spiritual balance, bringing with it true relaxation and peace.


The Physical Benefits of Massage

~~Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.~~Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body’s natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer.

~~Increased circulation of blood and lymph systems improves the condition of the body’s largest organ – the skin.

~~Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles

~~Reduces spasms and cramping

~~Increases joint flexibility

~~Reduces recovery time, helps prepare for strenuous workouts and eliminates subsequent pains of the athlete at any level.

~~Releases endorphins — the body’s natural painkiller — and is being used in chronic illness, injury and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain

~~Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred.

~~Improves range-of-motion and decreases discomfort for patients with low back pain.

~~Relieves pain for migraine sufferers and decreases the need for medication

~~Assists with shorter labor for expectant mothers, as well as less need for medication, less depression and anxiety, and shorter hospital stays.

Source: http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php?article_id=468


Massage helps with these conditions: 

~~Headaches/ Migraines

~~Back Pain

~~Neck & shoulder issues

~~Carpal Tunnel issues

~~Edema- fluid retention and swelling

~~Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


~~Plantar fasciitis



~~Premenstrual Syndrome


~~Insomnia, Anxiety, and Depression

~~High Blood Pressure

~~Pregnancy Discomforts and Recovery

~~Athletic Event Warm Up, Cool Down and Recovery

~~Muscle Injury Rehabilitation



~~And there are many more reasons to get a massage!


Call and schedule a massage today and see how good you can feel!