Once upon a time, it was mainly the fairer sex who would preen, pluck and suffer all types of potions and lotions in a bid to make the body beautiful. More recently, a new breed of man has emerged in the western culture. Perhaps this is due to a correlation between feeling fit and healthy and feeling and looking good. No longer is there a stigma attached to men who are realising the benefits of improving their appearance. Others may not be overly concerned with their beauty, but have realised the importance of well-being and long-term health. With today's hectic and stressful lifestyles, more men have the desire to look and feel their best. Exercising is also an excellent way to keep the body fit and healthy and there is interplay between the 'fit body' and the 'body beautiful'. There is a growing demand amongst men for the means to improve their physical appearance and for personal grooming treatments ranging from facials to body massage. The industry has responded to their needs and a wide selection of treatment is available especially designed for men. So what are some of the most popular professional head-to-toe treatments available on the market today?
Your skin is the largest living and breathing organ of the human body, and clear and healthy complexions are the key importance to image. Touch is the core ingredient of massage and practitioners learn specialised techniques to determine the right amount of pressure to apply to specific parts of the body. For example, a face massage should always be carried out with a light feathery touch of fingers. A facial is used primarily to increase overall relaxation, improve circulation and relieve muscle tension.
Although pollution may cause damage to your skin, the sun is public enemy number one. Treatments are also designed to help protect your face from the elements, remove dead cell layers and generally improve overall appearance. Additionally it may assist in keeping premature ageing at bay by stimulating the blood vessels under the skin to improve elasticity.
Lotions or essential oils tailored to suit your skin type are applied to clean, soothe and protect. These oils and lotions may have different scents added to increase your overall relaxation. Treatments may include stress-relieving massage techniques to release tension in the neck and shoulders. Facials are ideal as a booster to refresh and invigorate your skin.
One of the best antidotes to stress is body massage. There are many different massage techniques ranging from very gentle to deeper muscle work. One of the most popular massages on the market today is the Swedish massage. It offers a lighter stroke and long smooth movements including kneading; friction, tapping and shaking motions combined with pressure work on specific areas of tension. It is designed to stretch the ligaments to help keep them supple and flexible as well as alleviate muscle tension.
When muscles are overworked, waste products such as lactic acid can accumulate in the muscle, causing soreness or stiffness. The specific massage techniques applied to the muscle aims to improve circulation, which increases blood flow, bringing fresh oxygen to body tissues. It is claimed within the industry that this technique can assist the elimination of waste products by releasing lactic acid trapped in the muscles. The general aim is to reduce stress and leave you feeling deeply relaxed and revitalised. It may also increase the spiritual sense of well-being.
Sports and Fitness Massage
Sports and fitness massages are specifically designed for those involved in heavy physical work, sports or those into fitness, who might stress or injure their bodies by spending too much time in the gym. They are treatment-orientated and are normally more thorough and detailed. This body treatment is appropriate before or after exercise and focuses on muscles used by a particular sport. You don't necessarily need to be injured to enjoy a sports massage.
Pre-event treatment uses very light and quick movements to warm the muscles, increases circulation, reduce the risk of cramps and prevent future strains. Pre-treatments are also ideal for protecting a current or previous injury from further damage. It is believed that relaxed and firm muscles may enable better and longer sports performances.
Post-event sports massage involves slower and deep tissue techniques. Vigourous activity may leave your muscles tired, stiff and sore. The application of pressure is massaged to specific points of the body to stimulate and unlock tension and treat disorders commonly resulting from athletic activities.
The key benefits to receiving a deeply relaxing sports massage are increased circulation, reducing inflammation, relieving muscle fatigue and soothing nerve endings. Therefore, these same techniques would appear to be hugely beneficial to everyone in the relief of general tiredness and stress, offering perhaps a more gentle healthy option to the universal stresses of day to day life.
Indian Head Massage
Traditional head massage ('champi' or 'champissage') has been practised for over a thousand years in India. Indian head massage is a quick and simple treatment that begins to work almost at first touch. A firm pressure is used to glide from your scalp in a gentle rhythmical manner to relieve tension in the neck, head and shoulders. The stimulation of blood flow that is said to be a result of this action helps to feed the hair follicles and allegedly promotes healthy hair. It is extremely relaxing, pleasurable and beneficial.
This treatment offers a more holistic approach, therefore working on both a physical and psychological level to obtain a deeper sense of well-being. Physically, it claims to alleviate a variety of conditions including tension headaches, migraine, eyestrain, muscular tension, mental tiredness or anxiety. Psychologically, the benefits are said to be clarity of the mind and a sense of revitalisation due to improved levels of concentration and alertness.
Body Hair Removal
As a man, you may already know that just about your entire body is covered with hair. Body hair has social significance to both men and women and may differ from one culture to another. Some men may seek specialised treatment to replace hair loss, others to reduce excess hair while some men remain perfectly content as they are. In all cultures, either sex may find body hair such as hairy chests attractive but some may be self-conscious of excess hair on certain parts of the body.
Also, men's magazines and glossies promoting the smooth bare model have in some western cultures increased the popularity of hair removal. Men have a variety of treatment options to remove or reduce unwanted hair including shaving, plucking, waxing, sugaring, creams and sprays. These treatments offer a temporary solution, although there are other treatments such as laser or electrolysis which claim a more permanent effect. Shaving, plucking and waxing remain the firm favourites for many men although people's preferences of hair removal may depend upon their pain threshold and/or the size and location of the specific area involved.
Tweezers are ideal tools for removing unwanted hair from small areas, such as the nostrils, ears and eyebrows. The tweezers are used to firmly grip the hairs, which are then plucked out. To perfect the sophisticated and suave Bond look, Sean Connery was ordered to have his spectacular but somewhat naturally bushy jet black eyebrows trimmed before filming the first Bond movie.
Some men may prefer one of the individual facial care tools of which the range varies from hand held tools to electrical or battery operated appliances. These are designed to trim or remove hair from specific areas such as the nose. Combined facial tool systems are also available which are suitable for trimming the hair on the neckline, sideburns, beards, moustaches and eyebrows.
Waxing is one of the preferred methods used by many men to remove unwanted hair from larger areas of the body such as the back, shoulders, chest, legs and arms. Waxing is when a warm or cold gluey substance is spread on the skin in the direction of the hair growth. As the wax sets, the hair becomes trapped in the glue. Next a fabric strip is placed into the substance and the hair is removed by pulling the strips off in the opposite direction as the hair growth.
The question every guy wants to know, is it painful? You bet it is, although you can be the better judge how much. As it lasts 4-6 weeks and re-growth of some hair tend to be finer, it might be worth the pain. Some men are opting for a more extreme treatment, the back, sac and crack. This treatment involves removing hair from the genital area. Ouch! This is a specialist treatment and is definitely not one to be tried at home.
Sugaring is another popular form of temporary hair removal. Using an ancient technique which originated in Egypt, a thin layer of paste made primarily of sugar is applied to the surface of the skin. The sugar paste solution normally consists of all natural ingredients and is therefore non-toxic. The process of removing hair by sugaring is similar to the waxing method. Using a spatula, a thin coating of the sugar paste is spread onto the skin in the direction of the hair growth. Cloth strips are placed on the sugar solution and stroked firmly several times in the direction of hair growth. The cloth is then pulled quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth taking the sugar, hair and root with it.
As the sugar paste only adheres to the hair as opposed to the waxing system that glues the wax to the skin, this method may prove a more gentle way of removing hair. Practically all areas of the body are suitable for this treatment, although men have one exception. As the root hair system of the beard differs to all other areas of the body, it renders this treatment unsuitable. Again this system purports to keep the treated areas hair free for approximately four to six weeks.
A more recent technology of hair removal is the laser system, which claims to remove hair on a permanent basis. It works by emitting a gentle beam of light to targeted areas that passes through the skin to the hair follicle. The hair absorbs it and the energy from the laser is transformed into heat disabling the hair follicle. Lasers can treat hundreds of hair follicles simultaneously, so the process may be quicker to other forms of hair removal treatment such as electrolysis. Proper use of this system requires great expertise and training by the practitioner and not all skin types will be suitable for this treatment.
For example, to be considered a suitable candidate for this treatment, one's body hair selected for removal must be darker than the surrounding skin tissue. People who opt for laser treatment will need to be absolutely certain that they never want hair in that area again as once this treatment is applied there may be no reversing it. People contemplating laser treatment should seek professional advice for an educated and informative evaluation before undertaking treatment.
Electrolysis is another method of hair removal which claims to remove hair on a permanent basis. This method of hair removal has been in existence for more than a hundred years and several different techniques have been developed over this period. You would therefore need to investigate and examine all methods more fully before embarking upon a specific treatment. In the more traditional electrolysis treatments, a low current is passed through a very fine metal probe to destroy the hair follicle and the loosened hair is then removed with tweezers. Each hair has to be treated individually and if the treatment is performed by a fully qualified practitioner, the skin tissue surrounding the hair follicle should not be damaged.
A more recent technique using tweezers has been developed in the last twenty years. Tweezers which grasp the hair close to the skin also use an electric current to remove the hair. This is allegedly a less painful treatment than the probe method. A possible risk is that should the tweezers slip and come into contact, or grip the skin, this could result in infection. The risk of this event occurring is very small if the process is undertaken by an experienced and well qualified practitioner. As mentioned previously, each hair has to be treated individually.
All electrolysis methods require a series of treatments over a period of time, and people who begin electrolysis on large areas of the body may soon stop because it can prove a very costly, tedious and time-consuming process. If the procedure is not carried out by a fully experienced practitioner, there is the risk of permanent skin damage or infection. As level of expertise and qualifications vary greatly from place to place and country to country, it is extremely important to check the credentials of the practitioner beforehand. Once again it may be prudent to reiterate the need to seek professional advice.
Hand and Foot Care
There are varying types of hand and foot care treatments to choose from and your digits will love it. A general treatment is when the hands or feet are soaked in a warm bath, nails filed and cuticle tidied. There are other packages on the market such as hand and arm massage, foot scrubs and buffs to remove hard skin, foot wraps where your feet are wrapped in warm towels followed by massage or paraffin buffs to help give you the softest feet on the planet. This may be a great way to relax after a long day at the office or after treading those eighteen holes on the golf course. Whatever treatment catches your eye, all are aimed to leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised.
Most people would agree that good health helps us to achieve a better quality of life. As well as helping us to look and feel good, physical exercise strengthens bones, heart and lungs as well as toning muscles. There are a number of things you should think about in trying to get fit. First you need to consider your goals and decide which exercise programme will suit you best. To test its suitability for your individual needs, always research into any new type of activity you are considering. If you choose an activity you enjoy, it should help keep you motivated. Plan a regular exercise routine which suits your lifestyle and can be undertaken at least three times a week. Finally, before you embark upon any fitness programme always consult your doctor to establish guidelines for your exercise plan.
Before embarking on any kind of exercise always take time to warm-up before undertaking your main workout. The best way to warm-up is to do whatever activity you have chosen, but at a reduced intensity. It is equally as important to cool-down after exercise. Activities for cool-down should be similar to warm-up activities, body movements at a slow pace followed by a stretching exercise which allows the body to relax. It is important to bear in mind the necessity of stretching before, during, and after any exercise routine, as this has been clinically proven to reduce injury.
Aerobic exercise is any kind of activity which exercises the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system. Good examples include walking, running, jogging, swimming, rowing, racket sports and cycling. Should you also wish to lose weight, a sensible eating plan combined with regular cardiovascular exercise should help you to achieve your goals effectively.
Body Sculpting is a weight training fitness program that focuses on conditioning and streamlining the body without building muscular size or bulk. In the search of 'body beautiful', adding light weights to your cardiovascular workout will sculpt and tone your body. Any exercise aimed at toning your body needs some form of equipment, such as hand-held weights or bars to provide resistance for your muscles to work against. If you want to condition your muscles with toning exercises, you can use machines and free weights at either a health club, gym or at home. Light weight training should help to burn fat and increase your lean muscle mass to both tighten and tone muscles. Wherever and however you choose to exercise, adding more physical activity into your daily routine will help keep you fit and healthy and may in turn enhance your self image.
A wide range of other alternative treatments is available for men, offering specialised massages, aromatherapy, tanning, barbering, hair treatments and body care services. Many of the techniques used require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. Always use a reputable salon with a fully trained and experienced therapist. The treatments offered are both aesthetic and holistic, in that they are moving towards integrating both eastern and western philosophies. As this entire means is a move towards integrating the body and the mind. Guys, if you want to make a good impression, turn heads, care about your well-being and long-term health or are just in need of pampering, book your appointment today.