Book a massage to relieve Christmas stress

Its great to feel kneaded especially at Christmas

Its great to feel kneaded especially at Christmas - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Queen has her Christmas message, so shouldn’t you have your Christmas massage?

You’ve carried a turkey the size of a Volvo back from the farmers’ market, hung countless festive garlands, cracked more nuts than is strictly necessary and fended off far too many mistletoe-waving colleagues for comfort. Now you need some me time – or rather, your body needs some knead time.

If you have a spare moment to yourself in the coming weeks, why not make the most of it with a deeply relaxing massage. But, first things first, whether you’re looking for reiki or remedial massage, acupressure or aromatherapy, it’s important to find a suitably qualified and professional therapist. According to Karen Young of the Federation of Holistic Therapists, there are many qualities to look out for but your priorities should be checking they’re members of an association that abides by a strict code of practice; that they’re qualified in the therapies they advertise; they’re fully insured to practise; and that they undertake continuing professional development.

This might seem like quite a lot of homework, but it’s worth it if you want to ensure you’re getting a tailormade treatment from a professional.

‘As part of your first treatment you should receive a full consultation, during which your therapist will ask a range of questions about your health, diet and lifestyle,’ said Karen. ‘This will help the therapist to decide if the therapy you have chosen is right for you, or whether any adaptations to the treatment are necessary to meet your particular needs.

‘Many practitioners are multi-skilled, which means they can offer a range of different therapies. If you’re not sure which therapy to choose, your therapist can help you decide. Alternatively, if they feel you might benefit from a therapy or treatment they don’t offer, they might advise you to see another suitably qualified professional.’

When you’re finally settled on the massage table, what should you expect to happen on your road to deep relaxation?

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‘Most full body massage treatments take about an hour, though a back, neck and shoulder massage can take 30-40 minutes,’ said Karen.

‘Massage is used by people for a variety of reasons. Some use it to simply relax and unwind, while others have regular massage to help them manage or cope with specific physical, mental or emotional problems.

‘There is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that massage can be effective in helping to treat certain chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia and low back pain. But massage should not be used in place of conventional medical care. Always consult a GP or other health professional for medical attention and advice.’

For more information, call the Federation of Holistic Therapists on 023 8062 4350, email or visit

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