What is the Best Type of Massage Therapy For Me?

Massage therapy is a broad term used to describe various techniques of manual (hands on) therapy which is used to promote tissue health, relieve pain and increase functionality of a body, be it human or animal. The type of massage therapy which will benefit an individual varies greatly according to his or her particular issue or injury and state of health. There is something for everyone, and it is wise for clients to investigate their options to find what works for them.

The most commonly recognized type of massage is Swedish Massage, developed by Per Henrik Ling in the late 1700 and early 1800’s. Swedish massage techniques consists of long, smooth strokes (effleurage), tissue kneading (petrissage), or tapping (tapotement), and can be used to either relax muscle or increase its tone depending on the application and technique. Pressure can be very light or deep, depending on the therapist, your needs and your tolerance to pressure. During a massage therapy treatment that primarily consists of Swedish techniques, other modalities, which may require further or specialized training, can be used.

Relaxation, sports, pregnancy, infant and geriatric massage all contain elements of Swedish techniques.

Relaxation massage tends to be slower and more rhythmic than a treatment oriented therapeutic massage and its primary goal is to increase relaxation of the client. In infant massage, therapists teach parents how to work on their own infants, which is a great bonding experience and may help parents relieve colic and help their babies sleep better. For special populations or conditions, such as pregnancy or geriatric massage, the application of techniques needs to be modified to suit the needs of the client.

Sports massage therapy consists not only of Swedish techniques, but also of stretching, including “active inhibition” techniques, and can be performed either pre or post-event. Sports massage therapy that is performed pre-event uses quick, rhythmic movements to warm up and stretch the muscles, preparing them for the demand to be placed on them. Post-event sports massage is slower and is done to relieve pain, swelling, assist in the removal of metabolic waste and to decrease recovery time. Massage therapy for athletes and fitness enthusiasts is also a great maintenance tool which can address muscular imbalances and injuries and help them achieve optimal performance.

Deep Tissue Massage Therapy basically consists of Swedish techniques which are used at a deeper level of the tissue. To perform any type of massage effectively, but especially deep tissue, the muscles must be warmed up at a superficial level to allow the therapist to go into the deeper layers and address restrictions found there. It is advisable for therapists who want to practice “deep tissue” to have a hi-lo table and get specialized training to help hem maintain their own body, back and joint health. It is advisable for new massage therapy clients to work up to a deep tissue type of therapy as it is not suitable for everyone and may be painful for someone who is not accustomed to manual therapy.

Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is also know as trigger point release. A myofascial trigger point is a hyperirritable area within a tight band of muscle. The goal of this therapy is to reduce or remove the trigger point, thus alleviating pain. Referral pain often has a very specific pattern depending on the muscle in which it is found, and can often present in a seemingly unrelated area. Trigger point therapy is integrated into Swedish massage treatments which assists in warming up and stretching the tissue pre and post release respectively.

Frictions or Friction therapy is a very localized, specific technique used to break down adhesions and scar tissue which may cause pain and inhibit movement. Friction therapy is not used alone, but is integrated into a routine where Swedish techniques are used to warm up the tissue and to aid circulation to remove metabolic waste post friction.

Myofascial release therapy, also called fascial release, consists of manipulation and stretching of the fascia – connective tissue which encases muscles, nerves, organs and bones in the body. To properly anchor and engage the tissue, no oil or other mediums are used, as “glide” over tissue is ineffective in most myofascial techniques.

Manual lymph drainage, also called lymphatic, lymph or lymphedema massage, is a series of gentle movements used to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid in the body, thereby relieving pain and congestion. This type of therapy is perfect to assist in the reduction of swelling post injury, and is also used to reduce swelling post surgery. MLD, as it is commonly known, is also used with great success for women who have a mastectomy, however, special training is required for therapists to treat when lymph nodes have been removed.

In most massage therapy training, the focus is primarily on Swedish techniques, but the above modalities may be learned as an adjunct to Swedish massage, or as continuing education.

Active release is a patented therapy which encompasses various movements while tissue is being manipulated. The term “active” refers to the fact that the patient voluntarily contracts his or her muscles as techniques are applied. This therapy requires specialized training and certification.

Craniosacral Therapy – is a gentle manual therapy developed by William Garner Sutherland, a student of Osteopathy, in the early 1900’s. Craniosacral therapy, or CST, is believed to work by addressing soft tissue restrictions around the central nervous system, which in turn affect the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. Craniosacral therapy often relieves pain, induces deep relaxation and may encourage a more restful sleep.

Shiatsu is a manual therapy originating in Japan, and consists of finger pressure along various meridian or energy points throughout the body. Shiatsu is believed to work by removing any blockages along the meridians so energy travels more freely and the body can function normally.

Photography Poses – The Missing Ingredient

You’ve read all the “best digital camera” articles, got the best price on your first digital camera, and even glanced at its owner’s manual. Are you itching to take some shots of your family, or what?

Slow down, soldier. Before you take 200 shots that seem great at the time, but then upon review of the final picture are less than what you expected, let’s prepare. Prepare?!?! I’ll bet you thought charging the battery was the hardest part of taking great photos, didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint you, but if you want to improve your photo results 50% in 2 minutes, let’s review some basic advice of the pros.

There are two categories of GENERAL ADVICE which applies, regardless of whether you’re using a digital camera to take family portrait poses, baby pictures, pet portraits, group pictures, funny photos, or even maternity portraits. The first category is…

“Good Planning” Advice for Photography Poses

1) Prepare For The Event

Prepare for the event by thinking about every photograph you want to take and what kind of photography pose or poses you would like to capture. Consider who, where, how, and the type of environment.

2) Take Multiple Photographs

Take multiple shots of each pose (remember, digital memory is reusable, a.k.a. “free”). Regardless of what you say or do, people will blink. And don’t count on spotting small problems on the tiny camera LCD screen (even on full magnification); which leads to…

3) Check LCD Screen

Check the digital camera’s LCD screen for general framing of the picture, any movement, visibility of faces, and the histogram. Note that you can think up a fantastic photography pose; arrange everyone perfectly; and, have the photograph “frozen” (no blinking, and no shaking of the camera)…but, when you check it out in the LCD, you see 2 drunks fighting in the background! And, my favorite…

4) Funny Phrases

Have some funny phrases handy to use just before you take the photo. Don’t use it when setting up for the shot. And, don’t use the same phrase all the time. Throw in funny anecdotes, phrases, names, words that you know your family will find more amusing than “cheese.” A natural smile looks four times better than a fake one. The second category is…

“Location” Advice for Photography Poses

Taking indoor family photography, is very different than outdoor family photograph (duh!). For INDOOR pictures…

1) Wide Angle

You will tend to use the wide angle more often than your telephoto setting. Pay particular attention to your “end people” (those farthest to the right and the left in your viewfinder), and verify there is enough space in picture, so that if cropping is required, the end people don’t have to lose a limb.

2) The Flash

Flash considerations are critical. Do not be outside your “flash range.” For example, if at ISO 100, your flash can properly illuminate 12 feet, don’t attempt any photography pose that requires anyone to stand at 14 feet (unless, of course, it’s evil cousin Ira who you want to appear in darkness).

3) Plan “B”

If you need to be further away than your flash allows, here are 2 things you can try…First, increase the ISO setting (but not so much as to produce to much noise), or second, move to a significantly brighter location.

4) Watch Your Background

If there are distracting features, change your settings to blur the background (see the Techniques page). The best photography pose in the world won’t look right with a distracting background. And finally…

5) Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

If there are mirrors or reflective surfaces in the background and you can’t find a different location, only take the picture in such a way that the flash is not perpendicularto the surface, but at an angle (unless you want a nice photo of your flash).

Outdoor family photography has completely different issues. For OUTDOOR photography…

6) The Sun

Avoid photographing in direct sunlight, or in mixed light and shade, especially faces. Optimal lighting results from a slightly overcast sky.

7) Shade

When photographing in shade, use fill-flash (see terms) when necessary. And, really finally…

8) Beauty

If practical, take the picture at one of the beautiful natural settings near you. Imagine the result of a creative family photography pose captured in a stunning environment.

A Professional Portrait Photographer Versus An Amateur Photographer: You Decide

Do you ever wonder why there are millions of photographers out there but you only see a few that really grab your attention or that you think are special? OK, so most of us aren’t looking for the next Rembrandt but we do want a professional portrait photographer that can create something special from what they have to work with which is normally the average Joe and Josephine. A portrait photographer can help you capture the emotion behind the face, create whatever mood you want to project or capture the memories you only expect to happen once in a lifetime. This is accomplished with the right lighting, the comfort and ease of your session and the experience of the professional photographer. Here are the basics to look for when searching for a portrait photographer.

Whether you’re in need of a business portrait for marketing, an intimate boudoir portrait for a lover or a stunning family portrait to display with pride over the mantel, it’s harder than you think to find the right photographer for the job. Millions of folks who have a professional camera may think that they can do the job. In today’s world, there are many different types of cameras to choose from and many of them are of exceptional professional quality. However, having a great camera is not going to assure that the amateur portrait photographer behind the camera will capture the best photographs. It takes experience to know when and how to take great pictures. And your friends may mean well when they offer to be the portrait photographer for your headshot, your event or even your wedding, they may not be doing you that much of a favor.

I won’t bore you with a detailed tutorial on lighting and exposure. I also don’t need to tell you what a professional entails to create mood and composition. Just know these are the basics and not so basics a professional portrait photographer will know how to accomplish. Portrait photography is serious business. While there are many people who take their hobbies seriously enough to learn everything they can about them, there are others who just point and click a camera and call it good. This will just not do when you want to capture the feel of the moment with quality portrait photography. Knowing when to take the shot, the angle to shoot, and the amount of lighting and exposure that is needed makes a substantial difference in an average picture versus a portrait that appears to be speaking to you. One will be flat with no dimension and personality while the other one will evoke some sort of emotion from the observer. Which would you rather have?

This is the big difference between hiring a professional portrait photographer to save your special memories and having your friend come shoot a few pictures for you. Portrait photography is much more involved than simply picking up a camera and making sure it is focused on the subject before pressing the shutter button to capture the image. It is about bringing the person to life once the portrait has been printed.

A professional portrait photographer in Vancouver will know how to use the lighting to your advantage and the right length of exposure to capture the mood. The entire feel of the photograph is taken into consideration before ever picking up the camera. Does your friend know how to do that? Does every photographer know how to do that? I think you know the answer to that question. So, don’t be afraid to spend a little money to get high quality results with the help of a portrait photographer who knows their tools and is not afraid to use them.

Family Photography Poses Can Transform Mundane Photos Into Masterpieces

Transform Mundane Photos into Masterpieces with Family Photography Poses

When it comes to taking stunning portraits that effectively capture the subject in an interesting and captivating light, several different elements contribute to the quality of the final product. We all want to take stunning portraits which show our subjects in the best light. Because several different factors contribute to the final quality, it is often a challenge.

From specifically-calibrated equipment to appropriate lighting and ambiance, creating an exquisite masterpiece is rarely as simple as “pointing and shooting.” In fact, getting that perfect shot is often a drawn-out process that can involve hundreds of different attempts and pure trial-and-error.

One of the fundamental requirements in taking the perfect shot is to position your subjects in the right manner. Many amateur photographers quickly grow discouraged in their attempts to photograph their family, because their images never have the same professional look of those obtained from a studio photographer.

One of the simplest ways to solve that problem is to use a variety of different poses that have withstood the test of time and are sure to create more dynamic and intriguing photographs.

Armed with an arsenal of family photography poses, even the most inexperienced photographer can create beautiful portraits of their loved ones. Furthermore, using tried and true techniques eliminates the need for expensive workshops and training, and allows just about anyone to begin creating their own masterpieces today.

Nevertheless, before you begin, you’ll likely want to keep the following ideas in mind.

Know Your Subject

Taking a great picture of a small baby is not the same process you’d want to use for photographing a newly-engaged couple. Different subjects come with a variety of different challenges and obstacles that you’ll need to address.

For example, young children are notoriously difficult to photograph, because they are constantly moving. One potential idea is to engage your subject in a game as you take the photos. You can ensure better end results by determining how best to work with your subject before the photography session has even begun.

Find the Right Focus

Regardless of whether you’re taking a picture of one individual or a group, it’s important to focus your camera lens appropriately. Different situations call for different approaches to snap that one perfect picture.

This is one of the great reasons that having good photography poses to reference are so helpful! Poses allow you to position the subject in a way that makes focusing your camera a piece of cake. When focusing, remember to always focus on the eyes of your subject. Shooting multiple people, you’ll want to focus on the eyes of the subject closest to you.

Develop Chemistry with Your Subjects

How do you develop chemistry with your pictures? Your most captivating photographs are those that capture an intimate moment that resonates with the person viewing the portrait. Whether you’re working with a romantic couple, a father and daughter, or one individual, your job as the photographer is to capture-an-emotion with your camera.

When working with multiple people, you’ll need to develop the chemistry between the subjects in a convincing way that doesn’t appear overworked or cheesy in the final product.

Similarly, an individual subject needs to form a bond with the camera lens that the final photograph will display. Poses that have withstood the test of time are the easiest way to show that perfect chemistry, every time you shoot.

No matter what your specific intentions are in taking photographs of those around you, taking the time to learn how you can compose the subjects in a way that tells a compelling story will allow you to take better pictures… every single time you pick up your camera.

Not only will these poses save you time and frustration, they’ll allow you to take shots that appear more professional and polished, without investing all the time and effort that professional photographers do. When it comes to taking better photographs, the solution is simple: use a proven pose and you’ll be well on your way to PHOTOGRAPHY GOLD.