As Lilya Means firmly presses her hand on Emily Martinez’s back
while rocking her back and forth, she is channeling her energy
through her fingertips and attempting to balance her emotional and
As Lilya Means firmly presses her hand on Emily Martinez’s back while rocking her back and forth, she is channeling her energy through her fingertips and attempting to balance her emotional and physical state.
“The goal is to try and bring everything back into balance, because our bodies are constantly changing and realigning with the food we eat and the things we do in life,” Means said.
For the past four years, Means has been a massage practitioner, and she strongly believes in the healing involved in touch. Whether someone has gone through a traumatic, stressful situation, sustained a physical injury or just feels unbalanced, techniques used in massage therapy can reduce inflation, flush toxins from the body and stimulate circulation, causing tension relief and an overall feeling of well being, Means said.
There are several different types of massage, but technique and style is based on the training of the practitioner, Means said. When she is working at the Beauty Lounge in Gilroy, she gives four types which are fairly common:
Based on the premise of a Swedish massage, the Esalen technique uses long stroking methods to link all the different body parts. Means often uses a subtle rocking movement with her clients because it’s a natural movement that comforts humans, she said.
“Think about it: We rock babies to sleep and sometimes people rock themselves when they’re upset,” she said.
Derived from Japanese techniques, the Shiatsu massage uses accupressure on hundreds of different points on the body. Shiatsu is very powerful for muscle tension, Means said.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot and cold stones are strategically placed on different parts of the body, and the heat can alleviate pain from strained muscles.
“Aside from the fact that the stones feel amazing, it can really help with inflammation,” Means said.
Means uses lavender, thyme and citrus scents to help her clients feel energized or allow them to relax.
“I put the scent in the lotion I use, and I scent the cloth over their face so it’s close to their nose,” she said.
Some massage clients choose to be active after they leave Mean’s hands, while others prefer to go home and remain in their relaxed state. The balanced state the body gets from the massage can be felt immediately, but Means said it’s usually the next morning that the person feels most renewed.
“I’ve heard from people that after their massage they’ve gotten headaches later in the evening, which probably has something to do with the flushing of the toxins in the body,” she said. “But I think it’s that night after the massage while you’re sleeping, that’s when you’re body is rejuvenating itself.”
The benefits of massage therapy can be great, but they also come with a price. Although rates vary, an hour-long massage usually costs somewhere around $90. But for many people, it’s worth it.
Martinez, who has had several massages during the past few years, said the healing power of touch gives her serenity.
“I really think it’s important the person giving the massage is putting their energy into their hands on you,” she said.
While some people get massages just for the euphoric, relaxing state it can provide, many are trying to get rid of aches and pains they’ve carried around for decades. Jeree Smitham, owner of the Biofeedback Center in Gilroy, said along with providing massage therapy, she tries to send her clients home with tips on how to prevent the pain from coming back.
“We give them positive ways to check in on their bodies,” she said. “What most people get is a passive massage, and nobody talks to them about how to control the aches and pain that will come back to their bodies two or three days after the massage. Relaxation and a pain-free way of living isn’t something you can create by getting a massage once a year.”