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Massage & Massage Therapy


Massage or massage therapy are systems of structured palpation or movement of the soft tissue of the body. The massage system may include, but is not limited to, such techniques as, stroking, kneading, gliding, percussion, friction, vibration, compression, passive or active stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement; effleurage (either firm or light soothing, stroking movement, without dragging the skin, using either padded parts of fingertips or palms); petrissage (lifting or picking up muscles and rolling the folds of skin); or tapotement (striking with the side of the hand, usually with partly flexed fingers, rhythmic movements with fingers or short rapid movements of sides of the hand). These techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal preparations, hydromassage, thermal massage or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by human hands. The purpose of the practice of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of the recipient. Massage does not include the diagnosis of a specific pathology, the prescription of drugs or controlled substances, spinal manipulation or those acts of physical therapy that are outside the scope of massage therapy.


Relaxation vs. Therapeutic


Massage for relaxation or stress relief.

If you’re feeling tense, overworked and under appreciated, a massage can be a great way to get yourself back into a happier, more relaxed state. The benefits of massage are numerous, including lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation to tight areas, and creating an overall sense of well being.

The most common massage technique in this category is Swedish massage, which uses long, gliding strokes along with muscle kneading and a few other methods. Another popular form of massage in this category includes hot stone massage. Relaxation massage is one of the few things in life that feels good and is good for you.

Therapeutic Massage for treating pain, injuries and specific conditions

When you have an acute or chronic injury, are experiencing pain, or are looking for help with a specific condition, you’ll want to get a better understanding of which techniques will be most effective.

Painful issues commonly treated by massage include sciatica, back and neck pain and muscle strains. Effectively treating these issues requires a very good understanding of muscular anatomy and deeper, more specific massage techniques.

Among the more popular of these techniques is Neuromuscular massage. Practitioners trained in this method understand how the nervous and muscular systems work together and can effectively treat a number of painful conditions in very targeted and specific ways.


Deep Tissue Massage


Deep tissue massage focuses on the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue in your body by using firm pressure and slow, deliberate strokes. People who suffer from chronic pain, high blood pressure, or muscle injury and overuse tend to benefit most from deep tissue massage.

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic condition or serious injury, you can experience numerous benefits from regular deep tissue sessions. These benefits include:

• Lowered blood pressure

• Reduced stress hormone levels

• Enhanced mood

• Better relaxation

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that lower blood pressure occurred after only one 45 to 60-minute deep tissue session. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, deep tissue massage increased levels of naturally occuring oxytocin and serotonin, powerful chemicals that help a person cope with stress and enhance their feelings of well being.

Additionally, deep tissue massage helps to break up scar tissue, which is often the cause of continuous pain and stiffness after surgery.l

What to Expect During a Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue is similar to Swedish massage, but uses slower, deeper strokes. The massage professional may even use specially designed massage tools or their elbow in certain areas to apply pressure.

Be sure to communicate openly with your massage therapist about the pressure they’re using and your comfort level. Some pain is to be expected, but it should be manageable and should never feel like you’re “bracing” your muscles.


Chair Massage


Known as seated massage, chair massage, or on-site massage, this technique involves the use of a specially designed massage chair in which the client sits comfortably. The modern chair massage was originally developed David Palmer, but the technique is centuries-old, with some Japanese block prints illustrating people having just emerged from a nearby bath, receiving massage while seated on a low stool. Seated massage includes bodywork and somatic techniques, such as shiatsu, amma, and Swedish massage, provided to the fully clothed client in a variety of settings, including businesses, airports, and street fairs.


Hot Stone Massage


Hot stone massage therapy not only feels amazingly relaxing, it can also provide a host of other benefits associated with massage. The use of hot stones allows you to achieve a deeper level of relaxation as the stones serve as a grounding force that makes it difficult to stay stressed very long. Hot stone massage has a calming effect that relieves pain, reduces stress and promotes deep relaxation.

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

With hot stone massage, tension melts away as a result of heat, allowing your massage therapist to access deeper layers of muscle. This results in a relaxation of muscle tension that accompanies a host of other benefits including:

• Improved circulation

• Increased metabolism

• Chronic pain relief

• Fewer muscle spasms

• Improved joint flexibility

• Improved mood

What to Expect During Your Hot Stone Massage

When you receive a massage involving hot stone massage protocols, your therapist will place smooth, water-heated stones at key points along your body. He or she will combine this practice with other massage methods in order to deliver the best experience and provide the most healing.

With regular hot stone massage sessions, you will begin to notice less pain and an improved ability for your body to handle stress.


Myofascial Release Massage


Myofascial release massage works the web-like protective band that covers your body’s muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments and tissues. This protective band is made of elastin and collagen fibers. The band or fascia is dynamic, meaning that it responds to forces, either internal or external and resists these forces to protect the area that it covers.

When you sustain an injury or experience acute or chronic inflammation in an area, you can develop scar tissue on the fascia. When this occurs, it loses its dynamic nature and becomes hardened. In this form, it can restrict natural movement, create biomechanical imbalances, and cause pain.

Myofascial release massage focuses on breaking up the hardened fascia to restore a healthy level of flexibility and range of motion. The massage therapist uses their hands to stretch and break down the fascia to regain precious flexibility. The process takes time, and a specific area can be focused on for over five or more minutes. Several sessions are usually required to achieve lasting improvements.

The primary benefit of myofascial release is the lessening of pain during movements. Over time, flexibility and range of motion can be increased using this technique. Treatment sessions will include an initial visual assessment of the client’s posture and movement as well.

If you’re starting to feel old injuries flaring up again, consider myofascial release to combat the pain and regain your natural mobility.


Prenatal Massage


Pregnancy is a beautiful – but often uncomfortable – time for a woman. As she grows new life within her body, she experiences aches, pains, and fatigue like she’s never known. Fortunately for expecting women, prenatal massage helps to relieve those symptoms so that they can enjoy the miracle that is their unborn baby.

The Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Massage is an important part of prenatal care. It not only relieves pregnancy discomfort, but it also allows your body to do what is necessary in order to keep you and your baby healthy. Here are a few things a prenatal massage can do for you:

• Reduce stress;

• Relieve back, neck, and head pain;

• Reduce swelling;

• Alleviate cramps;

• Lessen stress on weight-bearing joints;

• Improve sleep quality;

• Encourage blood and lymph circulation;

• Minimize anxiety and depression associated with hormones.

Prenatal massage isn’t just a one-time fix. Regular massages can provide continuous symptom relief throughout your pregnancy. For instance, prenatal massages help you better manage headaches by keeping trigger points and muscles spasms to a minimum. And the release of serotonin, the body’s natural anti-pain chemical, during massage acts to combat recurring aches and pains.

What to Expect During Your Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage differs from regular massage in a few ways, but the main modification you’ll notice is the position in which you lie. To alleviate extra strain on the lower back and pelvic areas that can occur with the pressure of massage techniques, you’ll lie on your side with soft, supportive cushions propping you up. Or, if you prefer during your second trimester, you may lie on your back with a soft wedge under one hip for elevation. Either way ensures your comfort while allowing your therapist the ability to apply the right amount of pressure where needed.

The most important thing to remember about prenatal massage is that communication with your therapist is key. She’ll work with you to find the ideal position, but you must let her know if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort during the session.

Staying Safe During Prenatal Massage

Women with normal, healthy pregnancies benefit greatly from regular prenatal massages. If, however, you have a high-risk pregnancy or are early in your first trimester, speak with your doctor or midwife before beginning a massage therapy program. While the benefits are available to you too, it’s important to get the go-ahead from your physician.


Benefits of Swedish Massage

Stress relief

Relieving stress is one of the most popular reasons for people to seek massages. In addition to a lot of anecdotal evidence proving the stress relieving benefits of Swedish massage, there have been many scientific studies done on the topic, which show that those who receive massage therapy have lower stress levels and can handle stressful situations more effectively. Swedish massage, like many other types of massage, is one way people can relieve stress in their lives.

Relaxation

Stress relief and relaxation go hand-in-hand, and both are a commonly known benefit of all types of massage. However, while stress is one cause of tenseness, which can be eased through Swedish massage, there are other causes of tenseness that must be addressed, as well.

Some people have physically demanding jobs that can cause muscle tension. Even you are not stressed because of the job, using, pushing, and straining muscles can cause tension, which can have negative effects on your health. Through Swedish massage muscle tension is eased, providing you with overall physical relaxation, which can, in turn, lead to mental and emotional relaxation.

Increased circulation

The movements used in Swedish massage are similar to the way the body circulates blood. Because of this, Swedish massage can promote healthy circulation, increase blood flow, and help the body remove metabolic waste more quickly and effectively. Better circulation not only helps you feel better, but improves overall health since increased circulation and blood flow means other organs can work more effectively.

Pain relief

Another major benefit of Swedish massage is pain relief. As the muscles are relaxed and circulation increased, the body is put at ease, and pain is relieved. Not only can Swedish massage be used to ease pain as a result of an injury or muscle tension, but it can also be used to manage chronic pain that comes with a number of illnesses and conditions, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. By decreasing pain, Swedish massage can help patients relax, which can improve overall health and recovery.

Complementary alternative medicine

Swedish massage is often used as part of a patient’s treatment program for illness, injury, or disease. It is considered complementary alternative medicine because it is not medicine-based, as Western medicine often is, but is still beneficial to patients. In many cases, physicians may prescribe Swedish massage to work in conjunction with medications or other treatments in order to help a patient recover and work toward health. In many cases, Swedish massage is part of a holistic approach to a patient’s health, which helps address every aspect of a patient’s health—mind, body, and spirit—in order to promote health. Since massage and massage therapy have physical, mental, and emotional benefits, Swedish massage is an effective treatment to supplement traditional Western medicine.

Swedish massage, like many other types of massage, has many benefits that not only provide positive physical changes, but mental and emotional changes, as well. Stress and pain relief, increased circulation, relaxation, and complementary alternative medicine are just some of the benefits that come with regular Swedish massage. If you are in need of one or more of these benefits, visiting a certified, experienced Swedish masseuse may help bring you closer to overall health and happiness.