Healing with Bamboo and Stones
Advanced Therapeutic Massage by Irena Hnatjuk-Zahirovic
What I do and use in my Advanced massage therapy


Massage Cupping Therapy

Come and try cupping therapy with modern form of vacuum therapy.  By creating suction and vacuum pressure, Massage Cupping  is used to soften tight muscles and tone attachments, loosen adhesions and lift connective tissue, bring hydration and blood flow to body tissues, move deep inflammation to the skin surface for release, and drain excess fluids and toxins by opening lymphatic pathways.


- Deep tissue work and release without discomfort
- Moves stagnation and drains fluids
- Relieves Inflammation
- Nervous System Sedation
- Breaks Up and Expels Congestion
- Stretches Muscle and Connective Tissues
- Loosens Adhesions

- Pulls blood supply to the Skin

- Facilitates the movement of Qi and Blood systemically and locally
- Strengthens the immune system by promoting the flow of lymphatic fluid
- Cleans the blood and lymph and helps to balance PH levels

The modern world of healing has embraced another wonderful ancient technique that has powerful results. Massage cupping is a modified version of "cupping therapy," which has been used extensively in Chinese medicine for several thousand years.

By creating suction and negative pressure, massage cupping is used to drain excess fluids and toxins; stimulate the peripheral nervous system; bring blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin; and loosen adhesions, connective tissue and stubborn knots in soft tissue.

There are two main cupping techniques: stationary and moving. Stationary cups are placed on the skin and left for a period of five to 10 minutes in one location, or four to six cups may be applied and removed cyclically in a technique called "flash cupping." These are the methods most commonly used in Chinese medicine. Moving (or "massage cupping") is the more commonly used form of cupping among massage therapists and other health care practitioners. Prior to applying the cup, oil is administered to the skin to facilitate smooth movement and palpably discover the areas of tension and congestion. Create the vacuum and place the cup on the affected area, then glide it over the surface. A cup may be "parked" for a short time on stubborn knots or over inflamed joints or tissue. Cupping can be used on the neck, shoulders, back, sacral area, hip, abdomen, thigh, upper arms and calves.

The sensation of cupping is often characterized as deep warmth and tingling, long after the treatment has ended. Cupping is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out yet does not add to it, and is excellent when used as a contrast therapy with cold compresses or liniments. Massage cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, which is a wonderful addition to any massage. The treatment is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. (A deep snore is common!) Larger cups may be used on the back; the strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining, or circular and stimulating, for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue.

Massage cupping can be stationary or performed using circular or gliding movements. The skin will redden with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments, analgesics, plant hydrosols or essential oils immediately following a cupping treatment will aid absorption deep into the tissue. The increased local blood supply will nourish the muscles and skin and allow toxins to be carried away.

Massage cupping is also effective in treating cellulite. A light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or "dimpling." The thigh and hip region should be treated prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of product.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this technique is the subtle nuance of the movements. Creativity provides a variety of methods, and alteration of pressure and speed produces different sensations. For example, the edge of the cup can be used to "scoop" in a cross-fiber movement, while vigorous circles feel marvelous on the hips, thighs and shoulders. Long strokes down the sides of the spine and along the ribs provide ease to rib cage expansion and breathing.

Massage cups come in a range of sizes. Stubborn neck tension is soothed using a slow, deep approach with small cups. This is not a technique with limitations - its applications are endless. Clients have often reported that the massage cupping experience stayed with them longer than other treatments and that result are cumulative with consistent sessions. Massage cupping therapy is also easier on the practitioner because it enables the therapist to go deeper without discomfort to the client or themselves.

Massage cupping can be integrated into almost any modality. The equipment is inexpensive (and easily cleaned and stored), practitioners can become proficient quickly with proper training, and it is really fun to do!



Himalayan Salt Stone Massage


himalayanSaltStone.pngThe Himalayas are the world's most tranquil, serene, peaceful and undeveloped region. With the formation of the magnificent Himalayan Mountains millions and millions of years ago, came the existence of Himalayan Mineral Salt Crystals. This crystal form of salt has also been maturing under intense tectonic pressure, creating an environment of zero exposure to toxins and impurities.  Making it a purer form of salt, untouched by many of the toxins and pollutants that pervade other forms of ocean salt.

Known in the Himalayas as "white gold," Himalayan Crystal Salt contains the same 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body. Through osmosis these nutrients naturally enter the body to activate your natural healing mechanisms allowing your body to restore its natural balance. Its minerals exist in a colloidal form, meaning that they are tiny enough for our cells to easily absorb them. What is more, this salt's unique cellular structure allows it to store vibrational energy.

Salt Stone Massage is an innovative healing technique using warm salt crystal stones to ground and balance the body's electromagnetic field, central nervous system and meridians. It uses hand carved salt crystals from one of the most pristine environments in the world – salt caves from an ancient primal sea deep below the Himalayan Mountains. Salt crystals are hand-carved into massage stones that gently soothe away an accumulation of stress, tension and pollutants.

The full body Salt Stone Massage relaxes as it balances the central nervous system. This massage treatment combines Swedish massage techniques, thermal therapy, salt therapy, reflexology and Traditional Chinese Medicine The salt stones are warmed and are used on strategic points and in specific combinations to balance the body's energy pathways and electromagnetic field. This results in very deep relaxation, improved sleep and reduced inflammation in addition to mild detoxification and exfoliation.

Because the skin is the largest organ and absorbs minerals, as well as toxins, there is enormous benefit in using the salt stones over river stones. The magnesium content helps to relax muscles and melt tension, and the other 80+ minerals and trace elements are beneficially absorbed to alkalize, gently draw out toxins, and because of the unadulterated salt, it draws moisture to the upper layers of the skin, plumping and moisturizing, leaving the skin quite smooth.

Salt massages stones are great tools that will reduce tension, stress and relieve pain and inflammation. This salt is the highest quality available; the massage stones are heated in an electric skillet to create a radiant heat that penetrates deep into sore achy muscles. The heat coupled with the nutrients causes the body to release toxins that may be blocking the blood flow in that area. To reduce inflammation your massage stones can be chilled quickly in the fridge for an effective anti-inflammatory treatment.

Healing Benefits of a Hot Salt Stone Massagehimalayansaltpurifyingscrubs.jpg

  • Very Deep Relaxation
  • Improved Sleep
  • Improved Nervous Disorders
  • Improved Sense of Well Being

Healing Benefits of a Cold Salt Stone Massage

  • Reduced Inflammation
  • Improved Nervous Disorders
  • Improved Sense of Well Being



Copper Massage Stones


Copper has been an essential material to man since pre-historic times. For centuries, people have believed that er can help enhance circulation reduce swelling, relieve stiffness and ease pain.

Legendary healing qualities of copper

  • Relief from arthritic conditions and rheumatism
  • Relief of muscular aches, pains sprains,
  • Rebuilding of skin tissue and bone mass
  • Reproduction of collagen
  • Reduced inflammation

At minimum, massaging with warmed copper stones and tools is a deeply effective treatment for relieving tension and stress.  Using copper as a massage tool may be an additional benefits for relieving pain.

Copper is biostatic. That means bacteria will not grow on its surface. Copper and copper alloy doorknobs protect against the transfer of disease in hospitals

The healing power of copper has actually been recognized for thousands of years. The Egyptians used it more than 4,000 years ago to sterilize wounds and drinking water. The Aztecs used the metal to treat skin conditions.

There is more to the Copperstone than just the application of hot and cold stones. Copper delivers true vital benefits. Copper is the most essential mineral for the development and maintenance of the entire body. Copper is best induced through the skin and has over 100 vital benefits. These benefits include: Rebuilding of skin tissue and bone mass, Reproduction of collagen, Reduced inflammation, Relief from arthritic conditions and rheumatism, Relief of muscular aches, pains sprains, and strains, only to mention a few.

 Copper stones are naturally antimicrobial and are much more sanitary than traditional basalt hot stones.






Timeless Sage

Jade Stone Massage incorporates heated and cooled stones that are placed on the body or used for massage. The stones are cut and polished to various shapes and sizes. Traditionally, Jade has been used to attract love and bring money. When used for massage, Jade is a protective stone to heal stressed organs and discharge toxins. It slows the aging process and strengthens the body's natural defenses. Benefits include:

  • Releases toxins and increases overall health
  • Decreases high blood pressure
  • Prevents chronic illness

In Chinese culture, Jade is known for having healing properties which relax the nervous system and aid in removal of toxins. Your body is massaged using real Jade Stones; alternating temperatures bring deep relaxation, produce vitality, release toxins and reduce inflammation. Jade is considered the health, wealth and longevity stone.

Jade Stone massage is different than the standard hot stone massage you see in spas. It is a deep tissue therapeutic massage without the pain!. Because of its composition of iron, magnesium & calcium, Jade is the only massage stone that can hold both heat and cold equally well. One stoke with a heated Jade stone is equivalent to seven stokes by hand and when combined with the cool Jade its 80 X more POWERFUL!  The combination therapy acts much like a vascular flush, comparable to hydrotherapy and thermotherapy. It increases circulation, flushes the internal organs and circulatory system helping elimination of toxins from the body.




Bamboo & Rattan Massage


For century's bamboo has been a vital part of everyday life throughout South East Asia. No one knows who first started toUntitled-5 use bamboo tools to help ease the tired muscles but it was only natural that they would fashion massage tools out of the material that had come to signify good luck, long life, friendship, peace and harmony.

In use the smooth surface of the bamboo feels good on the body of the client and in the hands of the therapist alike and it is common to hear from clients that they cannot tell the difference between the hands of the therapist and the tools themselves.

With their natural coloration and texture, no two sets are ever the same. Each tool is designed to work on various parts of the body and maximize leverage and gravity with sliding, rolling, kneading, pivoting, levering, tapping and friction techniques. Because the tools cover such a broad area at one time they afford some of the most effective and enjoyable work imaginable on trouble areas such as neck, shoulders, back and legs.

Before being applied to the body the Bamboo and Rattan tools are warmed with a heating pad. The application of the warm bamboo melts away the tensions of the client while at the same time creating a deeply relaxing and soothing experience. The tools are switched from time to time to maintain that warm bamboo feel. The simple truth is that bamboo and rattan tools are absolutely fantastic for some things and way below average for others.

Bamboo Massage answers the often asked question of therapists, 'how can I work deeper on my clients who want deep pressure and save my hands?' The use of bamboo and rattan tools levels the playing field between smaller therapists and larger deeply muscled clients. The often heard request from client's 'can you work a little deeper' can now be addressed with the proper use of the tools while still maintaining a natural feel to the client's massage experience.






What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants for healing. Although the word “aroma” makes it sound as if the oils are inhaled, they can also be massaged into the skin or -- rarely -- taken by mouth. You should never take essential oils by mouth without specific instruction from a trained and qualified specialist. Whether inhaled or applied on the skin, essential oils are gaining new attention as an alternative treatment for infections, stress, and other health problems. However, in most cases scientific evidence is still lacking.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are concentrated extracts taken from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of plants. Each contains its own mix of active ingredients, and this mix determines what the oil is used for. Some oils are used to promote physical healing -- for example, to treat swelling or fungal infections. Others are used for their emotional value -- they may enhance relaxation or make a room smell pleasant. Orange blossom oil, for example, contains a large amount of an active ingredient that is thought to be calming.

What is the history of aromatherapy?

Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly 6,000 years. The ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used them in cosmetics, perfumes, and drugs. Essential oils were also commonly used for spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic purposes.

How does aromatherapy work?

Researchers are not entirely clear how aromatherapy may work. Some experts believe our sense of smell may play a role. The "smell" receptors in your nose communicate with parts of your brain (the amygdala and hippocampus) that serve as storehouses for emotions and memories. When you breathe in essential oil molecules, some researchers believe they stimulate these parts of your brain and influence physical, emotional, and mental health. For example, scientists believe lavender stimulates the activity of brain cells in the amygdala similar to the way some sedative medications work. Other researchers think that molecules from essential oils may interact in the blood with hormones or enzymes.

Aromatherapy massage is a popular way of using essential oils because it works in several ways at the same time. Your skin absorbs essential oils and you also breathe them in. Plus, you experience the physical therapy of the massage itself.


What is aromatherapy good for?

Aromatherapy is used in a wide range of settings -- from health spas to hospitals -- to treat a variety of conditions. In general, it seems to relieve pain, improve mood, and promote a sense of relaxation. In fact, several essential oils -- including lavender, rose, orange, bergamot, lemon, sandalwood, and others -- have been shown to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression.

Several clinical studies suggest that when essential oils (particularly rose, lavender, and frankincense) were used by qualified midwives, pregnant women felt less anxiety and fear, had a stronger sense of well being, and had less need for pain medications during delivery. Many women also report that peppermint oil relieves nausea and vomiting during labor.

Massage therapy with essential oils (combined with medications or therapy) may benefit people with depression. The scents are thought by some to stimulate positive emotions in the area of the brain responsible for memories and emotions, but the benefits seem to be related to relaxation caused by the scents and the massage. A person’s belief that the treatment will help also influences whether it works.

In test tubes, chemical compounds from some essential oils have shown antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Some evidence also suggests that citrus oils may strengthen the immune system and that peppermint oil may help with digestion. Fennel, aniseed, sage, and clary sage have estrogen like compounds, which may help relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause.

Other conditions for which aromatherapy may be helpful include:

-Alopecia areata (hair loss)

-Agitation, possibly including agitation related to dementia


-Constipation (with abdominal massage using aromatherapy)


-Pain: Studies have found that people with rheumatoid arthritis, cancer (using topical chamomile), and headaches (using topical peppermint) require fewer pain medications when they use aromatherapy

Itching, a common side effect for those receiving dialysis



Your lymphatic system

(why and how to get it moving)



(NaturalNews) When the lymphatic system is not working properly, our bodies cannot remove toxins; fight viral, fungal, and bacterial disease; or regulate the amount of fluid in our tissues. In order to achieve maximum health, we must keep this system functioning well and our lymph fluid flowing.

It is a complex system that includes organs, nodes, and vessels that perform three primary functions: fluid balance, fat absorption, and immunological defense.

When the blood reaches the capillaries, fluid is released from the thin-walled capillaries and flows into all of the tissues in the body. This fluid, called interstitial fluid, bathes the tissues with nutrients and gases as it washes over the cells.

The cells absorb nutrients and oxygen and release their waste products back into the interstitial fluid. Ninety percent of the interstitial fluid is reabsorbed by the venous capillaries, to recombine with the blood and flow back to the heart. The other 10% of the interstitial fluid, now called lymph, flows through the lymphatic system and is filtered through the lymph nodes before being returned, ultimately, to the bloodstream.

If the lymphatic system is not working properly, interstitial fluid builds up in the tissues, and the lymph fluid is not properly filtered and cleansed before being returned to the bloodstream.

Circulation of Lymph

The lymphatic system doesn't have a big pump like a heart to force fluid through the vessels. Instead, our bodies rely on our muscles to move the fluid. Our diaphragms and rib cage as well as the blood pumping through our bodies, do assist in this movement. But body movement and exercise is the primary method of moving lymph. A sedentary lifestyle decreases lymph flow by 94%.

Why is it important to Move Our Lymph?

Lymph contains lymphocytes, (white blood cells: T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells) that seek out and kill pathogens. As the fluid is filtered through the lymph nodes, a concentration of lymphocytes clean up the fluid before it is returned to the blood.

If the fluid is backed up and not flowing properly, it becomes viscous. The flowing fluid can thicken until it becomes the consistency of cottage cheese. Fluids and waste are not properly drained from the cells, bacteria and other foreign invaders are not properly filtered and destroyed, and disease, including cancer, may result.

How to Move Lymph through the Body and Assist the Lymphatic System

The major way to move lymph through the body is through movement of any kind. Walking, bending, stretching--any and all movement will assist with lymphatic movement. To really get it moving, bounce. Jump up and down, jump rope, or for the best result, bounce on a rebounder for 15-20 minutes a day. (See the link below.)

You will also benefit from massage, including self massage. (See the link below.) This will assist with flow and move any viscous fluid through the system. Find a massage therapist who is certified in lymphatic massage.

Be sure to hydrate well with clean (preferably spring) water. Beets, berries, and cherries all stimulate the lymphatic system. A healthy diet consisting of 80% raw vegetables and fruits supports healthy lymphatic function as well as general health.

One of Ayurveda medicine's most popular blood purifiers, Manjistha, is known to be an excellent lymphatic tonic. Astragalus, Echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot, or wild indigo root tea is recommended. Detoxifying the blood, hot and cold hydrotherapy, candida cleansing, and rebounding are important components to detoxifying the lymph.

So get off the couch, jump up and down, and eat right to detox your lymphatic system. It's the least you can do for a system that works so hard to protect you. Check out the first source for a more detailed look at the lymphatic system.



Benefits of Cold Stone Massage


One of the benefits of cold stone massage is that it can provide a deep state of relaxation, a release of tension, as well as, a reduction of swelling and inflammation due to scar tissue, trauma or injuries to muscles.

Cold stones are critical in stone massage work as they decrease soreness when working on deeper muscles, draw heat away from the body, and help to strengthen on a cellular level.

Marble is used for cool stones because it’s less dense than the stones and can easily remove heat from the body.

Cold marble massage stones are also known for helping to alleviate:

Stones that are cold help the mind to focus on the body and what it is experiencing rather than the mental/stress issues of life.

Stones are placed on the abdomen and/or on the back to help alleviate pain, bloating and swelling associated with a menstruation

Cold stones are placed on the face (or on a cloth that is on the face to prevent skin damage) to help reduce congestion and nasal swelling

High Blood Pressure (with Increased Circulation)
When cold marble stones are placed in certain positions on the body, blood circulation increases and high blood pressure can decrease

By relieving bloating, inflammation and swelling, and therefore increasing circulation, other benefits of this therapy is an increase energy levels and stamina

Marble massage stones are metamorphosed limestone that is white or light in color and formed beneath the seabed. Physically, it’s thought that another of the benefits of cold stone massage using marble improves the processing of calcium in the body, stimulates the metabolism, fortifies immunity, and encourages the healing of tissue and bone.

In contrast to basalt, marble is very soft and easy to break or scratch. The marble has to be carefully cut and hand-sanded to just the right size and shape needed to assist in the bodywork that cryotherapy was meant to do for the body – bringing down inflammation and starting the healing process.

Marble massage stones have to fit neatly into the therapist’s hand, in order to switch from hot to cool in moments. Again it’s vital to choose consistent, non-polished, properly shaped marble stones.

Keep in mind this is just a starting point or point of reference as you learn to configure a set that works best for you. Your set will vary based on your application.

Marble massage stones are often shaped by hand and designed to provide a cool alternative for every hot stone used. Each marble stone is carefully crafted to perform a specific task.

Whether you are massaging sore muscles, feet or hands, massaging the face to reduce swelling, headaches, sinus congestion, puffiness etc., or massaging the jaw area for soreness from TMJ, the benefits of cold stone massage greatly reduces headaches, stress, inflammation, and tension.



Facial Cupping


Women in Asia, Russia and Europe have been utilizing these remarkable negative pressure facial exercises for rejuvenation and maintenance for generations.

Protocols for the face use the small cups to vacuum and lift the facial tissue, mimicking the pumping movements of lymphatic drainage. It is a manual method that replicates the effects of equipment currently in use in most of the top aesthetic establishments.

The benefits include increased local circulation of the skin, increased nutrients brought to the epidermis, and enhanced absorption of facial tropical. The drainage of stagnant fluids from reservoir areas will reduce edema and chronic puffiness.

Lines, wrinkles and will plump whereas scar tissue will soften from the negative pressure, making it an exceptionally powerful and surprisingly relaxing enhancement to advanced facial treatments.

The muscles of the face benefit greatly from the reduction of tension and tightness, releasing expression lines and loosening rigid muscles associated with TMJ disorders.

Sinus infections and inflammation are also directly relieved by the loosening and draining effects of the cups - many times resolving issues that many sufferers commonly turned to more radical procedures to correct.




Kansa Face and Body Wand


The Kansa Wand Face Massage reduces stress and provides a gentle face-lifting therapy, using a bronze-capped massage wand and organic natural massage oils.

The bronze is a sacred metal alloy. Kansa (pronounced cuns) is produced from pure tin and copper. This blend of metals is known in Ayurveda, a traditional healing system in India, as "Healing Metal".

The Kansa Wand provides gentle friction to facial muscles which helps pull acidity from the tissues. If fact, as it is used on the face, oils will often get grey or black if acids are present in the skin.

Another advantage of this treatment is the subtle electrical conductivity of the bronze metal, which may explain how this therapy improves the body's natural electrical balancing system.

Tools like this have been used for centuries in India to enhance health and strength, and to increase energy, and reduce stress. They are believed to be essential to optimal health and well-being.

Other benefits of Kansa Wand Face Massage:

    Revitalizes face, shoulder, and neck muscles

    Gently lifts facial skin

    Reduces face pain, head pain and tension

    Reduces acidity


    Unifies body, mind and spirit


Additional benefits of a Kansa Massage are:

    The sensation is pleasurable and calms the whole nervous system

    Eases all sorts of aches and pains, we have heard, even phantom pains after amputation and long term neuropathies

    Erases stress and tiredness in the feet or any muscle group.

    Helps to relax the whole body and calm the mind so you feel clearer and both able to rest or go out there and shine in the world

    Reportedly makes it easier to fall into deep, relaxing sleep


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