Bamboo Massage: What Is It?

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Kneading is not just for making dough deliciously flaky, airy, and light. It and a number of other techniques are also a wonderful way to access the many therapeutic, physiological, and psychological benefits that a massage offers. A bamboo massage is one that can get to the deepest, tightest knots and tension points in your body.

What is a bamboo massage? A bamboo massage or bamboo fusion massage as it is sometimes called is when heated, hollow bamboo stalks or sticks of different lengths, widths, and weights are used on the body’s muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints to improve one's health and wellbeing.

A bamboo massage looks like this.

A bamboo massage is a great way to supplement your health care routine. When performed by an experienced, licensed professional, it is very safe and well tolerated and can provide long-lasting physical, mental, and emotional relief. Anyone with any health concerns or conditions should talk to their physician prior to getting this or any type of massage.


Though using bamboo as part of a health and wellness routine is a relatively new concept in the United States and Europe, it’s widely used in Asian countries like China, Indonesia, and Japan where it’s believed to have special symbolization including strength, harmony, balance, longevity, sexuality, energy, fertility, prosperity, and peace among others.

What are the benefits of a bamboo massage? A bamboo massage provides pain relief, increases flexibility and range of motion, improves sleep quality and reduces tension, anxiety, stress, and fatigue. In addition, it can also help reduce high blood pressure, eliminate toxins, improve circulation, boost the immune system and keep mood swings at bay.

Benefits Of A Bamboo Massage

Pain Relief

A bamboo massage helps reduce pain in a number of different ways.

Working stressed, tight, injured or overworked muscle tissue with warm bamboo sticks eases painful contractions and spasms.

In addition, this type of body stimulation can trigger the release of natural opiate-like substances in the brain like endorphins that dull the intensity of pain as well as decrease the perception of pain by interrupting signals being sent to and from the brain.

Flexibility And Range Of Motion

Stiff, sore or injured muscles and joints from overuse, exercise, injury, inflammation, medical conditions or drug therapy side effects among others can result in reduced flexibility and range of motion.

By using bamboo stalks of different lengths and weights, a bamboo massage therapist is able to loosen and improve the fluidity of any stiff or tight muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints.

Not only will you be able to move with ease, but you’ll also be less prone to injury.

Sleep

Sleep plays a major role in your health and overall wellbeing.

Sleep disorders not only make you less productive and accident prone but also increase your risk of heart-related issues, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke among others.

A bamboo massage helps deal with this by triggering the release of serotonin which not only makes you feel better but also prompts the production of melatonin.

This is a hormone made by the pineal gland, a group of cells located in the brain that resemble a pine cone hence its name. It makes you feel sleepy and helps your body regulate its circadian rhythm also known as the sleep/wake cycle.

When this rhythm is disrupted or thrown out of balance, you can reset it by getting a regular bamboo massage.

Toxins

Toxins are everywhere and your body is exposed to them on a daily basis.

They are in the air you breathe, the food you eat and even the things you put on our body.

The accumulation of toxins in your body’s tissues and muscles interferes with its natural balance. Your prevented functioning to your fullest potential because it causes fatigue, muscle aches, and pain, weight gain, poor memory and concentration, headaches, vertigo, cravings and constipation among other negative effects.

The various types of manipulation techniques used on the body in a bamboo massage session help release these toxins.

They get eliminated through your blood and through the lymphatic system. The use of essential oils in a bamboo massage session also increases the release of toxins.

Circulation

Blood and other important substance must be able to travel freely throughout the body to keep you healthy and ensure everything is in good working order.

Poor circulation makes this difficult and sometimes impossible resulting in unwanted complications like the pooling of fluids and numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, ankles, and legs as well as digestive issues, sluggishness, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, joint and muscle cramps or changes in skin color among others.

A bamboo massage can alleviate this by removing any obstructions. Not only does this help you feel better but it also improves your body’s ability to heal itself.

For instance, by improving the circulatory system, oxygen-rich blood can travel freely to damaged or tight muscles.

Immune System

The immune system is the body's first line of internal defense.

Being in a prolonged state of fatigue, stress, tension, or anxiety or other similar condition weakens your immune system as the cells that make up this system are unable to move freely in and out of muscle tissues and organs doing what they do best.

This increases your likelihood of falling ill. A bamboo massage boosts the body’s natural defense system by increasing the level of lymphocytes which are white blood cells whose primary function is to fight off viruses and defend the body from disease-causing invaders.

It also prevents the overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are cells produced by the immune system that are linked to inflammation and tissue destruction.

Stress And Anxiety

When you feel stressed or anxious, the levels of chemicals like adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol start rising.

This can result in tension headaches, tight muscles, fatigue, depression, increased blood sugar levels, heart rate and blood pressure among others.

Moderate to deep pressure tissue massage techniques like those used in a bamboo massage can decrease the levels of stress-related hormones which in turn calms not just your body but your mind as well.   

Mood

You’ll always leave a bamboo massage feeling better especially if it is done right.

This is because all that deep tissue stimulation increases the levels of chemicals and neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin also known as “feel good” hormones.

These are known to influence your mood in different ways. High levels of oxytocin decrease your stress levels and make social interactions and the desire to bond with others easier.

Low levels of serotonin and endorphins are linked to depression and erratic mood shifts.

The daily rigors of life can cause these hormones to fluctuate and getting a regular bamboo massage helps to restore balance and improve your mood.  

What Does A Bamboo Massage Feel Like?

bamboo chopping the back

A bamboo massage is similar to a deep tissue or Swedish massage.

Your body will feel warm and have a pleasant tingling sensation that energizes you first before giving way to a relaxed feeling.

The energizing feeling comes from the circulation of oxygen-rich blood along with other vital nutrients and the elimination of toxins that are clogging up your circulatory system.

The reduction of pain and the release of tension, as well as mood-lifting endorphins, causes you to feel relaxed.

How Is The Massage Performed?​

Bamboo massage techniques vary from one therapist to another.

Typically, they use a bamboo massage tool kit. It contains between seven to ten hollow bamboo sticks. The sticks are called ‘cho’ sticks after the Chinese name for bamboo which is ‘Zhú.’

They come in different weights, lengths, and diameters ranging from 4 to 15 inches.

Some are in pairs and have either flat or rounded sides or a combination of the two.

The muscle being worked determines the size of the bamboo stick used. Longer and heavier sticks are  better for long, gliding and rolling movements and strokes.

They are used on larger muscles in the back, legs, thighs, and arms as they long, gliding and rolling movements and strokes are easier to perform with them.

Shorter, lighter sticks are used for gentle taps and vibrating and deep circular motions on small muscle groups.

To enhance the session and ensure that all trouble spots are dealt with, your massage therapists may incorporate other massage techniques like Shiatsu, Ayurveda, Reflexology, or Thai massage techniques.

How Much Does A Bamboo Massage Cost?

The price of a bamboo massage varies due to factors like location, duration, and therapists level of expertise.

On average, an hour-long massage ranges from $50–$150.

More affordable options may be available from your local massage school or from home-based massage therapists.

Additionally, massage therapy may be covered by your insurance company if used to treat a medical condition like a chiropractic issue.

Who Should Get A Bamboo Massage?

A bamboo massage uses deep, slow pressure as its target area is the deeper layers of muscle and the connective tissue surrounding it.

This amount of pressure can be uncomfortable.

Therefore, this type of massage is best for chronic aches and pains in areas where flexibility and mobility are diminished like in the neck, upper back, shoulders and legs.

Pregnant women with discomfort in these areas should first meet with their physician before signing up for a session.

Who Shouldn’t Get This Type Of Massage?

Avoid getting a bamboo massage if you have any of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Fever
  • Dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Bruises
  • Wounds
  • Rashes
  • Severe sunburn
  • Heart problems
  • Blood clots
  • Inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Infectious disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Varicose veins
  • Broken bones
  • Skin problems
  • Recently involved in an accident

Why Is Bamboo Good For Massages?

Bamboo is supple and resilient and retains heat better than stones in addition to being easier to use than they are.

Using it allows the therapist to deeply stimulate muscle tissue evenly and create a longer lasting sense of relaxation.

Stress and strain on the therapist's hands and fingers are also reduced enabling them to do a better job on their clients.

How To Choose A Massage Therapist

Finding a good bamboo massage therapist increases your chances of having a good session. Following are things to keep in mind during your search.

  • Licensing and Insurance - Your massage therapist should be fully licensed and insured. This is regardless of whether they work from home, come to your home or work in a spa. It shows they approach their job as a profession and have the required training.
  • Experience and additional training - As with any job of this kind, experience makes for a better massage therapist. It’s also especially important if you are seeing them for a specific condition and not just for a general massage. They should be able to sufficiently demonstrate a keen understanding of your condition and how best to help you get relief. Also look for massage therapists who continually polish or upgrade their skills as this reflects their commitment to their craft.
  • Pre-massage consultation - Professional massage therapists will always request to conduct a pre-massage consultation. This ensures that you are both on the same page and helps them create a plan and set targets against which progress can be measured. It also gives you an opportunity to check out their professionalism and knowledge as well as how they make you feel.
  • Personal recommendations or referrals - Personal referral or recommendations from someone you trust can help you choose a good massage therapist. Online testimonials can also be reviewed.

Once you select a massage therapist, make sure they are as professional with you in your subsequent meetings with them.

When you arrive for your first session check to make sure what was discussed is carried out. Also be sure to speak up during the massage if you want any adjustments made.

Your session should last for a minimum of 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Most people do not see positive gains with anything less.

Conclusion

A bamboo massage is a great way to supplement your health care routine.

When performed by an experienced, licensed professional, it is very safe and well tolerated and can provide long-lasting physical, mental, and emotional relief.

Anyone with any health concerns or conditions should talk to their physician prior to getting this or any type of massage.

Editorial Staff
 

Editorial Staff at MindBodyPal is a team of experts led by Tyson Chiu. We love tacos, lattes and Funky Fridays.

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