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5 reasons to try an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire

woman laying on front having her back massaged

In this blog ‘5 reasons to try an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire” you will learn how you can massage on dry skin and more importantly why you would want to.

Woman laying on her back having an oil free massage on her forehead

If you try to give a loved one a massage without oil, you may notice, well friction, not a word that is synonymous with relaxation. This resistance in the form of friction comes from the speed and pressure applied.
I love me an analogy, so let’s say using oil is a bit like driving an automatic car versus a manual. In a manual car, if you get the foot pressure wrong, you stall. It’s the same with oil-free massage, there’s an optimal balance of force and speed required to effectively massage dry skin.
So why bother at all if using oil is more forgiving. Keep reading my top 5 reasons to try an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire below to find out.
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Woman holding her sore shoulders

Reason number 1 for trying an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire
1. Knotty muscles

In some circumstances, friction can be advantageous, such as when working with knotty and tense muscles. When I discover these areas, I can apply and hold sustained pressure for a minute and a half upwards. This stimulates the stretch sensors within the connective wrapping of muscle fibres groups called muscle spindles. Once stimulated a message is received by the nervous system to stop contracting. 

When I work on dry skin, I can pinpoint and keep the pressure on the point of the tension, rather than slipping off of it with oily skin. The amount of pressure applied is also important here. In order for the message to be sent to stop contracting the pressure must be firm but tolerable. If my client is grimacing through the experience this is counterproductive. 

Treating knotty muscles is just one amazing reason to try an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire. Keep reading for my remaining four. 

Woman serving a tennis ball to demonstrate the reasons to try an oil free massage

2. Muscles can move how our muscles need to move.

rrounding our muscles are tissue layers or wrapping (fascia or myofascia) with a filmy quality. This is so that when a muscle is contracting it isn’t taking its neighbour along with it, there is differential movement (movement past each other).

Dehydration, excess sugar (hello, guilty) and lack of movement over time can result in the wrapping becoming less filmy and gummier or even crystalline. This limits movement potential. Where the wrapping is injured for example with surgical cuts, the body adds strength by laying down a protein called collagen. There is a movement trade-off to this though. As an injury heals it can become permanently associated with surrounding structures. These are called adhesions. You may hear people talk about breaking up adhesions. Unfortunately, adhesions can not be broken up, however, we can through scar massage minimize their impact on surrounding areas.

But adhesions or no adhesions, I think we all want freedom and a sense of glide in our tissues. Without tissues pushing or pulling on our nerves. 

What does this have to do with oil? 
Going back to my pressure and force… 

woman laying on front having an oil free massage on her back

Like warm treacle

Our skin and wrapping tissues (fascia) have a truly amazing quality of being able to harden when firm and fast pressure is applied. In contrast, it can also soften, some people say melt. I guess it gets the idea across, but it’s not ice cream. Perhaps more like warm treacle versus cold. As my hands warm up and I apply very slow and sustained pressure, I encourage movement in the tissues. I can feel this. Some areas will glide and glide and then it’s like hitting a wall. So, I hold, and wait ……and hold and wait, maintaining that perfect pressure until the tissues respond and my hands glide. 

Someone can come in for their first massage and a lot of areas are resistant to movement. This quickly changes within a few sessions though.

Network on interconnections blue lines against a night sky- showing how an oil free massage has far reaching benefits.

3. Uncovering contributing areas of tension

Because oil reduces friction, the area impacted by massage is more localised. With an oil-free massage work, where I am working at the interconnected network level, people can become aware of sticky spots or pulls in areas further away from the area worked on. We most likely won’t notice this in daily life because our nervous system adjusts our posture accordingly to accommodate or compensate for it.

After a massage, the body needs to integrate these changes at a nervous system level. I like to think about the brain recalculating its GPS system for where all the muscles, joints are in space. During this process, the sensation of old injuries can temporarily resurface, which is fact gathering for me because I may need to work on some scar tissue for example. It’s also not uncommon for a clients migraine to come from a change in posture and walking pattern after an ankle injury several years previous.

Upset woman being comforted by her partner

4. Emotional release

My 4th reason to try an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire relates is to encourage emotional release in the form of tissue tension.

People now understand that emotions, memories and even smells associated with the time of a physical injury or trauma can resurface when the area is touched. More commonly, feelings can bubble up hours after the massage has finished, once the client is home. We call this unwinding.

For a mother, when having a caesarean section was a time of uncertainty and fear, working on the scar can actually help those emotions come up while they feel safe and ready to process them on a conscious level. The client can feel a sense of lightness in the body and mind after such an experience.

The unwinding may also release tension held in the wrapping tissue from day to day emotions pushed down or ignored to function in society. There are no bad emotions. In fact, when we push them down, rather than using healthy outlets such as talking, journaling or physically letting off steam we hold them in our tissues in the form of tension.

Woman touching her sensitive sinuses

5. My 5th top reason to try an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire is relevant for those of us with allergies and sensory sensitivities.

A growing number of people identify as being HSP or “highly sensitive person”. Within the beautiful rainbow of human variation are people with a sensory dial that is turned up. I have heard HSPs say they identify with the story of the princess and the pea. On the plus side, HSP people are highly attuned to their environment. They savour what for others would be mild flavours and can have a great sense of touch as a massage therapist but on the downside, don’t enjoy the physical sensation oils and lotions on their skin. The same can go for scents. As lovely as an essential oil massage can be for one person. It can be overwhelming to the nervous system of another.

Woman laying on her front having an oil free massage on her shoulders

My top 5 reasons to try an oil-free massage in West Oxfordshire. It can release not only tension in the form of knotty muscles but also a general holding of tension throughout the network of the body in response to postural patterns, trauma, stress or injury. We can minimize the effect of scar tissue that has adhered onto organs and other tissues during the healing process. We can take the pressure off nerves by improving the sliding quality of the casing surrounding muscle tissue. Emotions from years ago can finally be processed and released from the body. And finally, it’s a fantastic option for anyone who experiences sensory overwhelm with oils or lotions.

I hope this article was informative. If you would like to experience these benefits for yourself, please get in contact to book an oil-free massage to start feeling lighter in your body.
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