Sunday, 18 August 2013

I’m Not Stressed. Or Am I??

Recently, I met a young girl of about 24 and when she learnt about what I do, she asked, “What can I do about these pimples? Is there something I can apply to make them go?”

Now of course, pimples occur due to bacterial infection but the root cause of it is wrong lifestyle and stress. Wrong lifestyle includes irregular sleep habits and wrong food which affects the digestive system. When the digestive system is irregular, it manifests in many ways, one of them being pimples. Another cause is stress, which affects all the systems of our body and weakens the immune system, thus leading to infections, like pimples.

External applications are practically useless if this basic root cause is not tackled. When I explained this to the girl, she was confused. “But I am not stressed. My exams are long over.”

This is when I realized that most people associate ‘stress’ with some external stimulus or event. Thinking that stress occurs only if there is a stressful situation is a common misconception. Stress is a state of mind. A person can be stressed even when they have nothing to do.

Psychological tests show that ‘Type A’ personalities are more prone to stress. People of this personality type tend to be perfectionists, want to keep in control of any situation, worry about work, think and procrastinate a lot, etc. These are stressful personalities and they get affected, whether the situation demands it or not.

Stress is a defensive response of our body. It is a fight and flight response to a situation that the body considers a threat to itself. For example, if there is a bomb blast near us, we will become jumpy, our pulse rate increases, blood pressure increases, adrenalin rushes through our body and that helps us to cope with the situation and run away from the danger.

However, in present times, our way of thinking has changed and we worry about everything. Our negative thoughts and state of mind signal the brain into thinking that there is a constant threat to the body. Due to this, it is continually in fight or flight mode. This is the reason that prolonged stress leads to chronic diseases like Hypertension, Diabetes, PCOD and other symptoms like pimples.

What is really required is not some medication or external application to remove the symptom, but some relaxation techniques and de-stressing therapies on a regular basis that can help relax body and mind. Over time and regular treatment, one learns to be more relaxed in their approach to life and so balance is restored in the body.

So be aware, watch yourself and your thoughts in any situation. It is said that an idle man can be more stressed than a busy man because his thoughts can turn negative and lack of physical exercise weakens the body and mind.

So be active and stay healthy.

Ms. Ankita Shah
Director & Trainer

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Testimonials of Pristine Senses Academy's Foot Reflexology (Pro) Course

Session on Etiquette, Client Consultation and Marketing

"The course is well designed with a systematic approach and practical experience. One-on-one attention helps in getting the concepts right."

Vibhuti Agrawal
Mumbai, India
Foot Reflexology (Pro)

Sister Lourdu Mary (r) receiving her certificate in Foot Reflexology (Pro)

"The course was really good and pleasing. As I started to do reflexology for my friend with cervical problem, she was able to feel the ease in 3 days. But I accompanied it with oil massage locally as well as reflexology."

Sister Lourdu Mary
Tamil Nadu, India
Foot Reflexology (Pro)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Frozen Shoulder and Massage

Do you have frozen shoulder?
If you have stiffness and in the neck, shoulder and upper back area accompanied by intense pain in the upper arm, radiating all the way down to the wrist, you may have Frozen Shoulder. This pain increases in intensity in cold weather, at night and when certain movements of the hand are performed. It also restricts the movement of the arm and you may not be able to keep your arm straight and lift it completely up above your head. If you have these symptoms, it is important to visit a doctor or orthopaedist to confirm the condition.

What are the causes of Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder could be caused by many factors. A sudden spasm of the muscles around the shoulders, a sudden jerk or activity performed that can cause a spasm or damage to the muscles, faulty posture and lack of exercise. Diabetes is also closely related to frozen shoulder. That combined with reduced blood circulation in the area can cause increase in pain.

What is the solution?
Many people have been able to get rid of pain and the condition by modifying their lifestyle and including some exercises in their daily routine.

Specific arm exercises, yoga asanas, physiotherapy, hot water fermentation, daily sun bath, specific arm massage and diet control (especially for Diabetics) has helped in maintaining and healing this condition. Many people have claimed to have been cured within a year by following such a routine.

Gentle Swedish Massage by a trained therapist can greatly help in improving blood circulation, reducing muscle tension and spasms by treating specific trigger points and help in reducing pain and increasing range of movement of the hand. Aromatherapy in addition can boost the healing process.

If regular massage sessions turn out to be an expensive affair, a family member can learn the techniques of Swedish massage to help out in the treatment of a loved one.  The knowledge on alternative healing therapies never goes to waste and at least one member in each family should be aware of massage techniques as they can prove to be useful in many situations, including in knowing when not to massage.

However, one must remember that faulty lifestyle and many other factors are causes of disease and so, massage alone cannot help solve the problem. Regular exercise and lifestyle modifications are a must for healing, not just Frozen Shoulder but any such disease. 


Mr. Pinakin Shah
Pristine Senses Academy, Mumbai

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Spa Set-Up & Design – Important Points to Consider

The look of the spa is a very important aspect when designing the spa, however, certain requirements must always be considered before moving on to the creative aspect of spa design.

For this reason, it is necessary to consult an expert in spa interiors or someone who has had experience in setting up spas of their own. Personal knowledge of the therapies to be provided also plays a very important role.

Location – The location of your spa depends on your customer base and of course, the cost of real estate. If open to public, the location must be in a place where people generally hang out for relaxation and fun and where the entrance to your spa can be prominently seen.

Keep the therapy requirements in mind – The layout of your spa will depend on the flow of the therapies provided. A changing room, treatment room, steam room, shower room etc. will have to be included in the plan as per requirement. For example, if your therapies include wet room treatments, you will require such a room equipped with Vichy shower and appropriate washable flooring etc. You will have to visualize the treatments and their flow and consider the comfort and least effort on the client’s part.

Furniture – Apart from a comforting retreat-like feel, most of your furniture will depend on what kind of therapies you have to offer. Will it be traditional Indian in case of Ayurvedic therapies, or Balinese, Thai, or a more Westernized look? The massage tables and oils on display also depend on the type of therapy provided. For example, if your therapy includes Shirodhara, you will require a different massage table with head support for your client and a drain for the oil. Balinese massage requires a larger, wider and sturdier table while Swedish massage can have a more delicate and stylish table. If your therapy includes Khizi (Potli massage) you will have to make sure that arrangements are made for a heater beside every massage table.

Safety – Antique show pieces and shelves with fountains and lights, etc. are wonderful for the look of the spa. But keep safety in mind. Shelves should never be placed where there is a possibility of a client or staff member’s head banging into it. Corners of the shelves should be blunt for the same reason. Use flooring and material that are anti-skid and safe.

Cleanliness – The rooms will look relaxing and large if minimum clutter is kept in them. Keep everything neat and clean. Hygiene is the main concern for all clients and it can make or break a spa.

Privacy – Consider the privacy of a client. Many foot spas keep many chairs together without any partition as it does not require the clients to change out of their clothes. However, not all people can relax in public and a collapsible partition or option of the same can be provided for those who want it.

Waiting room – Again, depending on your area, marketing and client base, you may require a small, medium or large waiting room. The clients will require something to do while waiting. Plan the room accordingly. It should be a welcoming and friendly place.

Pantry – A fully equipped hygienic pantry for heating water, mixing oils or product, preparing welcome drinks or snacks for the clients, etc. is a must for every spa.

Therapist Room – Therapists (employees) are the backbone of the spa. They are the ones doing the hard work for long hours. If the therapists are tired or disgruntled, the services of the spa will suffer. And so it is very important to provide a separate room and washroom for staff to rest and for their personal needs. A sofa for resting and a small table with chairs for their lunch time would also be thoughtful. This room should never be forgotten when planning a spa.

Mr. Pinakin Shah

Thursday, 18 April 2013

When Not to Give/Take Massage

Many a times our body craves a massage, especially when we are sick and the body is aching. But is that the best time to get a massage? Should a responsible therapist give a massage at that time?

Massage is a very non-invasive and safe alternative therapy. But it can be harmful in two cases:

  • If done by an untrained therapist and
  • If done when contraindicated.

In the first case, we can ask for the qualifications (proof of qualifications) of the therapist. Beware, due to lack of licensing and standardization of massage training in India, even good spas may not have well trained therapists, as some of our students have experienced first-hand. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to do our research well and get the therapy from them at least once.

In the second case, there are a few points to remember where massage is contraindicated:

Fever/Infection – at this time, the body needs only rest, not stimulation. There is also a danger of the infection spreading within the client and to the therapist also.

Hypertension/Cardiac conditions – Massage generally helps in calming the body and mind and reducing stress. However, vigorous, stimulating massage should be avoided by anyone who has High BP or cardiac conditions. If one is taking blood thinning medication or has recently undergone surgery, they must avoid massage unless recommended by their doctor.

Diabetes – Again here it depends on the nature of the disease. If one is suffering from diabetic neuropathy, they may not feel the pressure during massage and may ask for more, but the therapist must not relent as it could be harmful. A doctor’s permit before treatment is recommended. In case of cuts or bruises or gangrene, there is a chance of infection spreading in the client as well as the therapist.

Injury/fracture/skin conditions – Any part with injury or infection should be avoided. In such cases it is better to avoid massage until the part is healed. In case of fracture, there should be absolutely no movement in the part and massage is strictly contraindicated. Some skin conditions are harmless, such as Psoriasis, Leucoderma, etc. But others may carry infection or be painful and massage on and around the part should be avoided.

Under influence or alcohol/drugs – If a person is taking strong prescription medication, a doctor’s permit should be acquired before massage. If under influence of alcohol, massage is strictly contraindicated as the nervous system is affected.

Cancer – Light, gentle massage can be very beneficial for cancer patients. However, in some cases, there are chances of it spreading in the body with massage. It is best to have a doctor’s permit for massage therapy.

Varicose Veins/Inflammation – Massage directly over varicose veins is contraindicated as well as in case of internal or external inflammation.

If massage is done to someone with any of the above contraindications, it can have an adverse effect. This is why a good, responsible therapist take the case history of the client before giving treatment. A client should be aware of these points before trying any therapy and the therapist should help educate the client for the same.

Mr. Pinakin Shah
Pristine Senses Academy

Friday, 1 March 2013

Article in Chitrakari Magazine (December 2012)

Click on the picture to enlarge and read.
Scroll down to read the English translation.

Article in Chitrakari (Gujarati) -December 2012

Foot Reflexology for Health

Foot Reflexology is an ancient science used for healing a person in a natural way. In Reflexology, the feet are a map of the whole body and when a point on the feet is stimulated, it triggers better functioning and healing in the corresponding part of the body.

Reflexology helps in cough, cold, pain relief, improved digestion, hormonal balance, Asthma, high blood pressure, stress, PMS, reducing side effects of strong medication in cases like cancer and also removes toxins from the body, etc. We all live very stressful lives and require these natural therapies to remain healthy.

However, many of us may find Reflexology and Massage in spas to be too expensive and luxurious. So, we get treatment at home from untrained bais and malishwalas, which is very harmful.

We should get treatment only from qualified therapists or, better still, we can learn the therapy for ourselves and use it as a profession or a hobby to heal family and friends.
So let us become self-sufficient and learn to care for our own body, mind and spirit.

Mr. Pinakin Shah
Founder, Pristine Senses Academy
Body-Mind Therapist and Trainer
Ph: 09820022335

(Chitrakari is a monthly magazine in Gujarati language)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Massage for Osteoporosis and Arthritis

Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis are two degenerative diseases that come with age. As such, they do not have any known cure. Aging is a natural process that cannot be reversed and there will be degenerative consequences. The main problem, where these become known as diseases is that they create a lot of pain and discomfort in the patient.

Certain experiments have shown that a person can live a painless, healthy life even with Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis if the muscles of the body are healthy enough. If you look at a car, it has shock-absorbers which not only protect the people inside it from jerks but even the car from damage if it goes on bumpy roads. Similarly, muscles act as the shock-absorbers of the body. If they are healthy and elastic, any jerks and shocks generated by any activity we do are absorbed by the muscles. But if the muscles are too tight, they can damage easily, while if they are too weak, the bones underneath them are more prone to damage.

This is why those who work out too much or participate in sports without enough warm-up and stretches have very tight muscles which are prone to injuries. And this is also why older people who have weak or under-exercised muscles, tend to easily fracture their bones with a fall. The central point here is muscle health.

The best way to keep the muscles strong and elastic is through Massage and Yoga Asanas. Yoga Asanas ensure that all the muscles of the body, external as well as internal, are used and kept healthy, like a well used and well oiled machine. Massage ensures that stressed and contracted muscles are relaxed through specific manipulating techniques and they get enough fresh blood supply to keep them healthy. Mental relaxation, which is a result of massage, help in improving body functions, including digestion and absorption of important nutrients like calcium.

Massage also helps in draining out toxins from the muscles and the body in general, which helps in better functioning of the body and has also anti-aging in property. Geriatric Massage is very important for the physical and mental health of senior citizens. However, it is important to note that degenerative diseases are a long-term process. They can start at a younger age and only show themselves through symptoms when we get older and when the condition worsens. And so, if we start taking measures at a younger age, it helps to slow down the degenerative processes and thus can even help in preventing these diseases to a certain extent.

Mr. Pinakin Shah

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

10 Steps to Reduce Pot Belly for Men

 'Pot belly’ or ‘beer belly’ is a very common condition that almost all men suffer from after the age of 25. Unfortunately, this condition is not taken very seriously, except in terms of aesthetics and looks. In fact, large abdomen in men is a warning sign for many diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, endocrine conditions, etc.

Why wait till it’s too late? Why not take some preventive or remedial measures from now. You do not need to go to experts to reduce the belly, unless it is an extreme case. There are some simple steps you can take to make small changes in your lifestyle that will work wonders:

1. Start Early: You may not even have a pot belly right now, but that does not mean that you will not in the future. Most diseases that occur at an older age are a result of our actions when we are younger. If you are a smoker or drink heavily, your lungs and liver will survive and struggle for a few years and so nothing will happen when you are in your 20’s. But the organs ultimately do give up in the future when they are not strong enough anymore. Cancer, liver disease, respiratory problems, all are a long-term result of the same. So do not wait until you are old. Start creating good habits from now.  

2. Food: Avoid staying hungry for long times, avoid overeating. Large meals put a lot of load on the stomach and intestine to digest. Chances are that a lot of food will be stored as fat instead of used for energy, especially if you are not physically active. Have a large amount of salad – especially cucumber and tomato just before every meal, reduce alcohol and sugar intake, processed food and fast food like soft drinks, fries and burgers. Eat more raw food like fruits. You will find that they are so much tastier and satisfying than cooked food. It de-toxifies the body, makes you feel light and healthy and, over time, you won’t even feel like polluting your body with unhealthy food.

3. Walk: Pot belly has two causes, one is high calorie intake and second is a sedentary lifestyle. A good one hour walk first thing in the morning helps improve blood circulation, improves digestion, improves stamina, prevents many diseases and is very refreshing. Try and walk amongst nature, in the park rather than in a closed environment like a gym. Spending quiet time with nature calms the mind.

(picture courtesy
4. Play: Play sports, go for a swim, cycle. Why is this important? Because overeating and weight gain are related to emotions. De-stressing can solve a lot of problems. Playing with kids is the best exercise for body and mind and it is so enjoyable that it doesn’t even feel like effort. Spend time with family and maintain good relations. Care for others. This creates positive feelings and emotions which lead to a happy and healthy life.

5. Posture: When walking and sitting, keep your back straight. This helps to tuck in the abdomen automatically and keeps it toned. Erect spine also has many health benefits. Wrong posture affects the nervous signals in the central nervous system i.e. brain and spine. Keeping the spine erect keeps the channel clear and the spine healthy, which in turn keeps the body and mind healthy.  

6. Relax: Some relaxation time, especially for the mind is essential during the day. The entire day goes in stress where the mind and body are both tense. This leads to emotions, indulgence and irritability. Some Yogic relaxation techniques like Savasana, for at least 15 minutes during the day can work wonders.

7. Body-Mind Therapies: A full Body Massage or Foot Reflexology therapy twice a month helps to improve digestion, remove toxins from the body, tone the muscles and reduce excess fat and cellulite on the body. It not only relaxes you physically but it a very important therapy for relaxing and soothing the mind.

8. Yoga: Yoga is more than physical exercise. It involves correct lifestyle, habits and attitude. All this combined prevents all kinds of problems. Apart from walking, simple Yogic stretches and Asanas for the body and some breathing techniques and attitude changes for the mind are very effective. This is more effective than gymming because exercises in the gym lead to build-up of muscle mass which turns into fat if the exercises are discontinued for a little while. Yogic exercises are scientifically designed to exercise even the internal organs which improves their tenacity and functioning.  

9. Accept yourself: No one in the world is perfect. Do not worry of what others think about you. Everyone is busy worrying about themselves anyway. Accept yourself and your body, be happy and confident and that alone will free you from a lot of problems, physical as well as mental.

10. Health Checkup: A pot belly can lead to many diseases but it can also be a symptom of an existing condition. After the age of 40, regular health check-ups are a must for every individual. Early diagnosis of a disease can lead to quick cure or prevention. Make sure you consult a doctor and start taking regular calcium and vitamins, either through diet or supplements, as advised. Remember, the most important thing in the world is your own health.
These changes are not at all difficult to make in life. Start with one and continue it religiously till it becomes part of your daily routine. It is not much to ask, good habits are worth the effort. Slowly, keep adding more to your routine and watch your life and health change.

Why spend money on pills and doctors when your health is in your own hands?

Stay Healthy !!

Pristine Senses Academy

Monday, 21 January 2013

Geriatric Massage - Massage for Senior Citizens

What is Geriatric Massage?

Geriatric Massage is a specialized massage for senior citizens, that lasts for approximately 30 minutes. It is a modified form of Swedish Massage (soft tissue) that is suited to the sensitive and delicate skin and muscle structure or the elderly.

We have found through experience that gentle massage which is soothing and relaxing turns out to be all the more enjoyable for senior citizens as they are in need of caring physical touch and emotional support. Many of our elders experience loneliness, fear of death and disease, fear of being dependent and of course, suffer from certain age-related health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, nervous disorders, etc. This leads to tension, anxiety and physical weakness which are relieved through Geriatric Massage.

Need for Geriatric Massage

It is not necessary that all senior citizens are weak and suffering from disease. Many of our elders are more fit than us as they used to have a lot of physical activity during their younger days. However, those who are fit also require regular massage because with age, the muscles have comparatively less capacity and strength and blood and lymph circulation is also less.

Geriatric massage is especially important for those who are not very mobile or are on the wheel chair. It includes light stretching, reflexology and massage on hands and feet and gentle manipulation of muscles which helps in improving the posture, circulation, relaxation, gives relief in pain and in conditions like arthritis, gout, Parkinson’s, etc. It helps to release toxins from the body, improves respiration, digestion, better sleep, helps to maintain sensation in extremities and moisture, texture and tone of skin and muscles.

This therapy is mainly taken as a preventive therapy to help avoid health conditions and to keep the joints and extremities in good condition.

Requirements of a Geriatric Massage Therapist

A therapist performing Geriatric Massage needs to have knowledge not only of massage techniques but also knowledge of psychology, etiquette, nervous system, hygiene, diseases, medication and their repercussions on health and skin and how they would affect the massage procedure.

There can be some health conditions that are contraindicated in Geriatric Massage and so the therapist should do a thorough client assessment before beginning the treatment and ask for a doctor’s certificate where necessary. The therapist needs to be sensitive to the client’s feelings and reactions during the treatment. Even a slight excess pressure can cause pain and discomfort. There will be no fixed system of massage, it would differ from client to client. There is no place for deep tissue massage in Geriatric Massage. Even if the client may have excess cellulite, deep tissue massage may lead to pain and soreness after a few hours.

In this therapy, special care is taken to make sure the client is in a comfortable position and is kept warm. In most cases, clients will not be comfortable lying in the prone (face down) position and so massage has to be done in such a way that both sides are covered without moving the client.

Geriatric Massage is a highly underrated but a much needed therapy. There is still not much awareness of this technique in India. So it is our duty as trained massage therapists to spread awareness for the benefit of our elders. A good place to start our practice would be in our own family, hospitals and old age homes.

Our elders need to feel cared for and if done by a close family member, the feeling of well-being, positivity and happiness generated from Geriatric Massage can be manifold.

Training in Body-Mind Therapies

(image courtesy -