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 Marsden March

"Thank you so much for volunteering at the Marsden March on Sunday. Our walkers really appreciated you being there and commented on how much better they felt after their massages. Thank you!

It really did make such a difference to our walkers to have your team there, so thank you once again from the Marsden March team. See you in 2013?!"


Acupressure Chair Massage Course

Editorial from Hotcourses - August 2015

No Pressure!

"Here at Hotcourses we really do practise what we preach, so when we heard our lovely outreach manager Billy was off to try acupressure massage at the
Soothing Touch Academy we couldn’t wait to hear all about it. Despite being rather stretched for time (pardon the pun), Billy found time to share his experiences with our users. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about the power of acupressure, or how that translates to massage have a read of this.

When I first heard that I would be going on a massage course at the weekend, I envisaged gently floating on a cloud of incense surrounded by herbal tea waterfalls, as fluffy dressing gowns enveloped me, all to the soundtrack of Enya. However I hadn’t banked on this being an acupressure massage course, and what followed was both the most relaxing and tiring day of my year so far."

Healing hands

"Acupressure massage uses pretty different techniques to the kinds of massage you’d expect at a spa. Based on ancient Japanese techniques dating back over 1,300 years, it’s been reinvented a few times, once only being practiced by the blind as they had more sensitivity in their touch; the modernised version fits comfortably in the office space.  

As it turns out, the back is basically the roadmap of the body and certain pressure points relate to other areas in your body.  By applying pressure to these areas, you can release tensions and detoxify. This course is developed to allow students to begin practising massage straight away, so we started by discussing insurance and health & safety, before a quick lesson covering various biological systems, and finally we looked over some muscular diagrams which eventually would help us to visualise the muscles under the skin when massaging."

Back to basics

"The friendly and energetic course instructor Chhaya Shah leapt up to show us the first big chunk of the massage routine; stretching, warm-up, and upper back massage. Chhaya began to explain how to practise each technique; which muscles we were targeting and which areas to avoid, all displayed on another person (best job ever). When it was our turn to begin massaging, my brain was swimming with the different names of the techniques, bones and muscles, but Chhaya was on-hand to guide me when I felt a little lost. This type of massage is all done through the clothes, making it transferrable to an office environment, but also making it slightly tricky to know where specific areas of the back are through sight. However, after some practise, I was able to locate the points along the muscles in the back. When Chhaya asked us to “put the client in the Half Nelson position” my childhood of wrestling matches with my younger brother flashed before my eyes and I came out of retirement one last time to take to the wrestling ring, only this time it was to release the tensions surrounding the shoulder blade."

Fingers and thumbs

"With only two students on the course, we both got a lot of attention from Chhaya which was fantastic! We practised our techniques on one another, and as I relaxed into the chair I learned two things; first, that my classmate was a massage therapist by trade and taking the course to expand his repertoire (score!) Second that the ‘pressure’ bit of acupressure massage is definitely not to be taken lightly! Being the client at this point was vital for understanding how it feels to receive this kind of massage and how important communication with a client is. It also meant I could fully understand the effects of the three different ways in which pressure points could be engaged, according to what the client is comfortable with (in other words how mean we are feeling). Thumbs for slight pressure, fists for a little more, or elbows to really get stuck in!

We moved onto the arms and hands before breaking for lunch and finally we learned the end of the routine with the lower back, neck, scalp and some finishing stretches."

Final thoughts

"When it came to piecing the entire routine together, it became apparent just how tiring being a massage therapist actually is. Though lots of these techniques involve using your bodyweight to apply certain pressures, the effort involved in manipulating another person’s body, lifting arms and stretching muscles in the neck and back was hard work, especially when massaging for half an hour straight. There were a few moments when Chhaya had to give me a helpful nudge in the right direction, but I made it to the end, my classmate seemed happy enough with the end result (though perhaps he was just being polite!) and I got my course certificate!

Chhaya’s course was a great introduction to acupressure massage, and even if I don’t end up taking it to a professional level in the future, the techniques and knowledge learned will stay with me for a long time to come and I am much more body-aware. If you are a complete newbie in massage, the course may at times feel like it’s running away from you, cramming so much new knowledge into one day is tough in any subject, let alone one like massage with such a strong basis in physical techniques, but it ultimately comes down to putting in the time to practise after the course. If you are a seasoned massage therapist, this course will be an enjoyable addition to what you already know, fleshing out your skill set, and at the end of the day you’ll still get a great massage out of it."

Billy Picard, Outreach Manager, Hotcourses