Different Types of Meditation

Today I wanted to talk to you about the different kinds of meditation – what they are, how they are used, what the history is… but really there are many people out there much more qualified than I am to shed light on this area.

The Chopra Centre, run by renowned spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, sums things up much more effectively than I ever could in this post, ’5 Types of Meditation Decoded’:

As a meditation teacher, I’m frequently asked which type of meditation is the best or the most effective. People also want to know if meditation is possible without a religious connection or belief in God. Then there are questions as to whether busy type A personalities can slow down enough to meditate.

In order to be successful, meditation needs to be simple, comfortable, and have results that make you want to keep showing up every day. As far as the details go, whatever works for you is the right approach, and you have plenty of varieties to choose from. The key is making time every day to sit, breathe, and connect with the self.

Primordial Sound Meditation

Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) is a silent practice that uses a mantra. The mantra you receive is the vibrational sound the universe was creating at the time and place of your birth. It’s calculated following Vedic mathematic formulas and is very personal and specific to you.

Repeating your personal mantra silently helps you to enter deeper levels of awareness by taking you away from the intellectual side of the brain. The focus is on comfort, and PSM is generally practiced sitting down. Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon founded this method. This is the method of meditation taught at the Chopra Center and by Chopra Center certified instructors all over the world.

Famous Practitioners: Deepak Chopra and Lady Gaga

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Started by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 and now offered in over 200 medical centers, hospitals, and clinics around the world, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes are often taught by physicians, nurses, social workers, and psychologists, as well as other health professionals, to create a partnership in care between the patient and the medical team.

This technique uses both breath awareness and body scan. Breath awareness is as simple as it sounds—you focus your attention on the inhalation and exhalation. Body scan is a process of focused attention on the physical body starting at the toes and working your way up with heightened awareness and the potential for release or relaxation of tension. The practitioner may be seated, laying down, or walking depending on the focus of practice.

Famous Practitioner: Jon Kabat-Zinn


Zen is also referred to as Zazen, which literally means “seated meditation.” It comes from Buddhism, which is more of a philosophy than a religion. You acquire insight through observing the breath and the mind, and through interaction with a teacher.

Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of insight in the Buddhist teachings. These Sutras (scriptures or teachings) and doctrine are taught through interaction with an accomplished teacher. Sometimes chanting is involved.

Famous Practitioners: Dalai Lama and Richard Gere

Transcendental Meditation

Founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation (TM), made popular by famous followers like the Beatles, uses a mantra or series of Sanskrit words to help the practitioner focus during meditation in lieu of just following breath.

The mantra given to the student will vary according to a number of different factors, including the year in which the student was born and in some cases their gender. The year in which the teacher was trained will also affect the mantra provided. The teacher will have been given a list of mantas to use and this list varies depending on which year they received their instruction. TM is a seated meditation.

Famous Practitioners: Katy Perry and Russell Brand

Kundalini Yoga

Meditation in the Kundalini Yoga tradition contains specific, practical tools that carefully and precisely support the mind, and guide the body through the use of breath, mantra, mudra (hand position), and focus. The range and variety of meditation techniques in the Kundalini Yoga tradition is very large.

Yogi Bhajan, the founder, passed on hundreds of meditations tailored to specific applications. There are meditations that reduce stress, work on addictions, increase vitality, and clear chakras, to name a few. Since these meditations are so specified, working with a teacher is a large part of this tradition.

Famous Practitioners: Sting and Jennifer Aniston

Research shows that spending time in mindful meditation of any type can combat anxiety, stress, and depression while heightening optimism, creativity, and vitality. Pick the style that resonates with you and give it a try.


The Benefits of Meditation

On this blog so far, I’ve talked a lot about massage. As a massage therapist, obviously I see a lot of benefit in educating people about massage and what it can do for them.

But massage is not the only practice that I believe can be deeply beneficial to people in these stressful times we live in.

Meditation has been practiced around the world for thousands of years. It can be as deep a practice as seeking true spiritual enlightenment, or a simple ritual to bring your busy mind back to your body at the end of a long, outwardly focused day.

And no – meditation is not some ‘woo-woo’ thing that only hippies and monks do.

It’s been scientifically proven to improve the state of your brain and body, even when practiced for just a few minutes a day. Here are some of the huge benefits of meditation:

  • Meditation slows the mind. This is useful when you are turning a problem over and over and feel yourself falling into that horrible vortex. Meditation can pull you out of that headspace, and even help your brain clear enough to present a solution.
  • Meditation increases awareness of the body. This can help you to resolve pain points in your joints and muscles, simply by becoming more aware of your posture and movement.
  • Meditation has been shown to decrease the severity of many illnesses. These include anxiety disorder, cancer, depression, high blood pressure and insomnia.
  • Meditation increases the flow of oxygen around the body. This increases your body’s ability to remove toxins from the bloodstream and tissue, while reducing the heart rate and the presence of damaging free radicals.

There are many other benefits too, but clearly meditation is not some flash in the pan. That said, it can be a difficult practice to learn.

There are many types of meditation, including guided meditation, where you are led through a series of visualisations and steps; mantra meditation, where you repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself; mindfulness meditation, which focuses simply on observing your body and mind without judgment; qi gong, tai chi and yoga are all forms of meditation combined with movement and specific breathing patterns.

It’s perfectly alright to try a few different forms of meditation to find which one suits you best – there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to this.

Storing Your Massage Table & Accessories

Your massage table represents a big investment in your life. Not only is it vital to your practice, but it cost good money, and it takes up good space.

It’s not surprising that the first thought for many massage therapists when they are purchasing a table is “where the heck am I gonna store this thing?!”

I think it’s fair to say that most massage therapists are not making outrageous amounts of money. Many of us live modestly, and it can be the situation that space is at a premium, especially for those of us with kids, pets, live-in parents and/or way more stuff than we should ever have accumulated.

For this reason, choosing a massage table that it easy to manage and easy to store is paramount to maintaining some semblance of order and sanity in your life.

These days, there are 3 types of massage table available on the market:
Budget, which is under $100 or so
Entry level, which is up to around $150
Professional level, which are those tables over $220 or so.

Most budget tables, like what you might find on Gumtree or Ebay, often won’t come with a carry case. This makes storage and transportation a total nightmare – you can’t carry them easily, they’re always opening if they’re not squished between something when stored – absolute pain in the rear.

I am firmly of the opinion that it’s better to shell out a little extra and get a massage table that comes with a carry case that fits it. Some entry level tables and just about all professional level tables will come with a carry case.

This way, it’s always tidy and out of the way.

You can store it under the bed or in the back of a cupboard with no fuss at all, and transportation is suddenly very easy. Most carry cases also usually have room for some accessories, taking away even more of the fuss of transportation and storage.

You can get carry cases that have extra pockets, too, meaning that even large accessories like bolsters and diffusers can be stored away easily.

Make life easy on yourself. Paying a little extra nearly always solves the problems you would experience from a cheap purchase, and the massage table you buy will last much longer. Just save up another week or two and you’re golden.

How To Choose A Massage Therapist

Whenever you start a new type of treatment, it’s important that you are really comfortable with the person providing you with the care.

Massage therapy is quite an intense and personal experience. You need to feel confident that your therapist is ethical and respectful, and that you’re in safe hands. You want to feel welcomed, calm and at ease every time you step into their work room.

For this reason, I would always recommend that you try out a few therapists before you settle on one that you see regularly. This will give you the opportunity to see a few different styles in action.

Some massage therapists will be very friendly, open and excited to get to know you. Others will be more reserved and simply get on with the treatment. What you enjoy really depends on your personality, and what kind of experience you want to have each time you go in for a massage.

Regardless of what kind of personality you want in your therapist, there are a few things that should be non-negotiable:

  • They should be an excellent listener. If they’re argumentative, obstructive or vague when you’re talking about your treatments and what you need, move on. Your therapist should listen carefully to what you’re telling them and work hard to implement your comments. While they might need to point you in the right direction on some things, you should never feel like they’re overriding you.
  • You should always feel safe and secure. If there is even a hint that anything is sleazy or untoward, get out of there. You’re under no obligation to explain yourself and you owe it to yourself to make sure every massage is as relaxing and effective as possible. Find a therapist who makes you feel totally comfortable and at ease.
  • If possible, make sure your therapist is in a convenient location. You don’t want a stressful journey to and from your therapy sessions to undo all the work you and your therapist are putting in!


What to Expect When Seeing a Massage Therapist For the First Time

Many patients are open to the idea of seeking alternative treatment and support for their conditions, especially those conditions that are chronic and making living and functioning normally very difficult.  However, approaching massage therapy for the first time leaves a lot of questions.  What can you expect to experience at your first appointment?  Will you be worked on right away?  Will you have time to address your personal issues, thoughts, and reservations?

Candles and stones in a calm zen spa environment.As with any visit to a treatment specialist, your first appointment is primarily an intake appointment.  Before a massage therapist will commit to working with you, they need some information on your condition, your past and current medical history, symptoms you’re experiencing, and any conditions that you feel may affect treatment.  Knowing a bit about your lifestyle will also help with preventative measures and suggestions on how to better your treatment through at-home therapeutic measures.  After the evaluation, your massage therapist will develop a plan to best assist you and your condition(s).  Be sure to ask plenty of questions.  You need to be as comfortable with your therapist as possible in order to get the most from your treatment.

Before beginning any sort of massage, the next step is to discuss each part of the body that is to be massaged, and how each massage will help to relieve the complaints you came in with.  This is important because it will give you a gauge on what sort of relief you may see right away, and what may take several sessions to begin to notice.  Once your plan of action is set in place, you’ll begin your massage therapy.  This may occur at the initial appointment, or you may set up your first real appointment before you leave.  This really depends on the therapist, and the time they’ve set aside for your intake.  If you have a preference, be sure to state it.  Additionally, when seeking massage therapy as a treatment for any condition, other than generally relaxation, always discuss the treatment, progression, and results with your primary care provider.  They can also assist you in getting the most from your treatment, tracking improvement, and helping to identify any issues that need more extensive treatment.

Massage Isn’t Just For Relaxing Anymore: Massage as a Medical Treatment

Massage is no longer just a means for encouraging relaxation.  Although it definitely still serves this purpose, the art and practice of massage has certainly elevated itself to another level of treatment.  Instead of just being conducted as a luxury or indulgence, massage therapy has become its own branch of medical treatment, and it’s gaining popularity and supports at a rather rapid pace.

What Massage Therapy Can Treat


Because of the wide range of conditions that soft tissue manipulation can affect, massage therapy is a rather versatile treatment.  It can range from treating stress and anxiety, to minor injuries, and even serious chronic conditions like cancer.

Some common conditions treated by massage therapy include: fatigue, anxiety, stress, depression, headaches (including migraines), stress injuries, back pain, neck pain, pain in the shoulders, and muscle tension.  Specialized massage therapists also work with cancer patients, those struggling with sleeping disorders, diabetics, and individuals with high blood pressure.  The idea behind treating all of these conditions is not to cure them, but to make living with them easier, especially as the patient works through medical treatment with a primary care provider, or a group of primary care specialists.  This is especially true in the case of cancer patients who commonly complain of fatigue and stress from therapy methods.  Massage therapy works to improve sleep, relaxation, blood flow, and the chronic fatigue that cancer patients suffer from.

Massage therapy works to stimulate the inactive muscles of the body to support those that may be overstressed, and this can help to relieve the pain from injuries, and provide support while injuries are healing.  Working with the soft tissue to relax the muscles also helps in increasing the range of motion that a person has (which can in turn prevent future injuries and support the healing of a current injury), and raise the level of natural endorphins to support on-going medical treatment for an injury.  It can also lower heart rate and blood pressure, benefiting both one’s overall health as well as circulation specific conditions.  One of the most intricate ways that massage therapy helps in creating an overall sense of health and well-being is through an increase in blood circulation, especially to the lymph nodes, and increasing lymph flow.

Expenses of a Massage Start Up

Every business has expenses, and these expenses must be taken into consideration when content_Red-Door-Spaplanning a start up.  Starting your own massage business is no different, and there are a number of different expenses that need to be taken into consideration.  Even with a thorough plan, you’ll need to set aside capital for budgeting over-runs and unforeseen expenses.  Even the most careful planners set aside extra back-up capital, so keep this in mind when setting up your expense inventory.

While the below is far from exhaustive, it is a good walkthrough of the types of things you’ll need to keep in mind when setting up your own massage practice.  Remember that each office is highly unique, so you can set up your office however you like.  With this in mind, there are some set expenses that all massage practices will have.  For example, your business license.

Setting Up the Office

Massage_Room_en_sOne-time expenses are always steep, but remember you shouldn’t have to replace these items for sometime.  One-time expenses include furniture for your front office (desks, chairs, computers, filing systems, lights, couches for the waiting room, side tables, magazine holders, and paintings for the walls, and any additional décor).  In terms of communications, you’ll need a front office phone, printer, and copier as well.  Setting up your own office will likely be very similar since you’ll need access to the same sort of things in your private office.

You’ll also need to set up each massage room.  The amount of furniture you’ll need will depend on the number of rooms you have in your office.  Each room will need either a light fixture or lamp.  You’ll also need a massage chair or bed.  Some type of table or desk should also be in each room, as well as a cabinet for storage.  Decor is another expense, and the type will be up to you.

Depending on your office, and the kinds of treatments you’ll be offering, you may also want to invest in  an ice machine.  This is a fairly large expense, but it will be well worth it.  Be sure to factor in the cost of freezer bags or other ice packs in order to be prepared to use the ice when clients come in.

If you’re going to have a number of employees, setting up a break room may also be a good idea.  This could contain a coffee maker, microwave, fridge, table, and couch.  This gives your employees a place to have a break or eat their lunch, without making them feel that they have to get out of the office or spend money just to have lunch.  It also gives employees a chance to mix and mingle, which is great for morale.  A team that is able to have a bit of fun together at work generally performs better than those who don’t have this dynamic.  While having a break room isn’t essential, it really will help to make your office feel like a more welcoming place to work.  If the office is just going to be you and your partner, this is an expense you can likely spare since you’ll each have your own rooms or offices where you can meet, have lunch, and work.

On-Going Expenses

On-going expenses are those expenses that you’ll have to pay each month.  While the goal is that the business will pay for itself, this isn’t always the case for the first couple months of a businesses life.  Be sure that you’ve planned for an budgeted for paying for these expenses without additional income.  Take into consideration any and all on-going expenses that you may have.  This will include expenses like Internet connection, phone lines, electricity, gas, sewer, and rent.

You’ll also need to take into consideration on-going maintenance items.  This includes things like paper for the printers, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry for towels and rags, pens and pencils, etc.  This is one huge area that planning for unforeseen expenses comes in.  A lot of times you don’t realize all the little things you’ll need to start and maintain a business.

For a massage business, you also need to keep in mind the lotions and creams necessary.  Cleaning the massage space (cost of cleaner and cleaning supplies), accountant expenses; designer expenses for logos and websites, and wages for employees.

Another on going expense to keep in mind is your marketing expense.  Marketing isn’t just an optional part of running a business.  It is an essential part of running and owning a business.  Marketing can happen in a number of ways, and none are free.  Even those things like social media posts that don’t have a monetary amount to post, have a monetary amount in terms of your time.  Keep in mind marketing things like newspaper advertisements, billboards, Internet advertisements, business cards, and postcard mailings.  You may also want to use an email service to help you set up mass emailing for newsletters, specials, and the like.



How Massage Therapy Works

Massage is one of the oldest healing arts forms, with its roots in ancient China.  Records of massage therapy date back about 3,000 years ago, and new techniques and uses are still being developed and founded.  With a history like this, massage has definitely earned its place in the medical field.  So, how exactly does massage therapy work to treat medical conditions?  What can it offer to patients looking for new and all natural ways to treat their ailments?

Massage therapy is founded on the basis of working with the body’s soft tissue, manipulating it and improving the circulation that moves through the tissue, as well as the entire body.  The result is a decrease in stress (mental and physical), as well as a relief to chronic fatigue.  There are a number of different techniques employed by massage therapists, and one therapist may focus on a particular technique, or employ several in the course of a sitting.  Ailment specific techniques and therapists are also available, and this gives clients a chance to have someone with specific experience in their area of concern address their condition.