Generally, massage is utilized to improve the flow of blood and lymph (fluid in lymph glands, part of immune system), to reduce muscular tension or flaccidity, to affect the nervous system through stimulation or sedation, and to enhance tissue healing. Therapeutic massage may be recommended for children and adults to deliver benefits such as the following:
- reducing muscle tension and stiffness
- relieving muscle spasms
- increasing joint and limb flexibility and range of motion
- increasing ease and efficiency of movement
- relieving points of tension and overall stress; inducing relaxation
- promoting deeper and easier breathing
- improving blood circulation and movement of lymph
- relieving tension-related headaches and eyestrain
- promoting faster healing of soft tissue injuries, such as pulled muscles and sprained ligaments
- reducing pain and swelling related to injuries
- reducing the formation of scar tissue following soft tissue injuries
- enhancing health and nourishment of skin
- improving posture by changing tension patterns that affect posture
- reducing emotional or physical stress and reducing anxiety
- promoting feelings of well-being
- increasing awareness of the mind-body connection and improving mental awareness and alertness generally
Therapeutic Deep Tissue
Deep tissue massage is used to release chronic patterns of muscular tension using slow strokes, direct pressure, or friction directed across the grain of the muscles. It is applied with greater pressure and to deeper layers of muscle than Swedish massage and it is especially effective for chronic muscular tension and overuse syndromes.
Sports massage uses techniques that are similar to Swedish and deep tissue but are specially adapted to deal with the effects of athletic performance on the body and the needs of athletes regarding training, performance, and recovery from injuries.
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. Myofascial connective tissue runs in patterns or “lines” throughout the body and can cause global tension patterns when restricted.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger Point Therapy is a form of massage therapy in which direct pressure is applied to specific points in the muscle tissue that are the source of localized and/or referring pain. Once the trigger point is found, the therapist will apply sustained pressure for several seconds while the patient takes deep breaths and relaxes into the pressure. Pain relief and greater range of motion is often experienced immediately after the release of the trigger point.
With cupping, air is used to create a suction effect with special cups that are placed on the body. The vacuum that’s created pulls the skin and blood vessels in toward the cup, which is why they can leave marks on the skin. Cupping pulls blood into a focused area, improves circulation, and loosens up muscles and joints to provide increased range of motion for the patient.
Pre-and Perinatal Massage
Massage therapy during pregnancy utilizes unique positioning and bolstering to ensure the comfort and safety of the pregnant woman and her baby during the session. Studies indicate that massage during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
Swedish massage is often referred to as the “relaxing massage.” The therapist uses light to firm pressure with long, gliding strokes directed towards the heart.
Shiatsu is a type of acupressure where the practitioner applies pressure to specific points along the body’s meridians to stimulate the flow of energy and to promote relaxation and healing.
Aromatherapy utilizes essential oils as part of the massage session to help affect your mood, alleviate pain, or detoxify the body. You can choose something that is relaxing, balancing, or invigorating, based on how you want to feel when the massage is finished.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage therapy promotes deeper muscle relaxation through the placement of smooth, water-heated stones at key points on the body. Hot stones can assist in “melting away” some of the more stubborn tension points in the client’s muscles and can be a great adjunct therapy when combined with deep tissue work.
Lymphatic massage helps to encourage the natural drainage of lymphatic fluid, therefore removing toxins, decreasing inflammation in the tissues of the body, and stimulating immune system function.
Cranial Sacral Therapy
Craniosacral therapy facilitates the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and balance meningeal tension between the cranium and the sacrum. During craniosacral therapy, the practitioner uses a light touch to assist with the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation in which the practitioner lightly places hands over the client’s body to facilitate the flow of energy and to promote healing.