Swedish / Relaxation
One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The disrobed client is coved by a sheet, with only the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.
Deep Tissue / Structural
Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep-tissue massage, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the practitioner form reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain, injury rehabilitation, and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques.
Performed by a trained prenatal therapist, many methods of massage and somatic therapies are both effective and safe prenatally as well as during labor and postpartum periods of women's pregnancies. Prenatally, specific techniques can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and easing pain and anxiety. In the postpartum period, specialized techniques rebalance structure, physiology, and emotions of the new mother and may gel her to bond with and care for her infant. Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions, and contraindications is highly recommended.
Developed in Japan, shiatsu is a finger-pressure technique utilizing traditional acupuncture points. Similar to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy (chi) and restoring balance in the meridians and organs in order to promote set-healing. Wioth the client reclining, the practitioner applies pressure with the finger, thumb, palm, elbow, or knee to specific zones on the skin located along the energy meridians. The treatment brings about a sense of relaxation while stimulating blood and lymphatic flow. The benefits of this treatment may include pain relief and a strengthening of the body's resistance to disease and disorder.
Lymph Drainage Therapy is unique in that healthcare professionals learn how to palpate the lymphatic flow. As they develop their skills, they can then identify the rhythm, direction, and quality of the lymphatic flow. Advanced practitioners will be able to precisely map the lymphatic flow to find alternate pathways for drainage. It evolved from years of training in traditional medicine, Asian medical practices, and manual therapies.
This system of massage utilizes very large, broad movements. Two-handed, forearm, and elbow application of strokes, which cover a broad area, is characteristic of lomilomi. Similar to Swedish massage, this system uses prayer and the acknowledgement of the existence of a higher power as an integral part of the technique. Lomilomi--Hawaiian for rub rub-- is described as the loving touch--a connection between heart, hand, and soul with the source of all life. Oils are used in the application of cross-fiber friction techniques. The practitioner often uses the forearm and elbow in the application of pressure.
A gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. This manual therapy enhances the body's natural healing processes and has proven effective in treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. The system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth down to the sacrum or tailbone. Since this system influences the development and function of the brain and spinal cord, any imbalance or dysfunction in the craniosacral system could cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities. These problems may include chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning disabilities, and other dysfunctions of the central nervous system. It encourages the body's natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the CNS, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease. The therapist uses a light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system.
Sports massage is designed to enhance the athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. Pre-event massage is delivered at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. Fast-paced and stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. During the massage, the athlete generally focuses on visualizing the upcoming event. Post-event massage is also delivered on site, through the clothes. The intent here is to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. When an athlete sustains an injury, skillful massage therapy can often speed and improve the quality of healing.
Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot, hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as zone therapy, this bodywork involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relief areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the boy'd energy flow to stimulate set-healing and maintain balance in physical function. This technique is used to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and stimulate circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-related illness and emotional disorders. Reflexology is also convenient in cases where an area of the body is traumatized or diseased to the extent that direct manipulation is not appropriate.
Breath therapy, which can ease anxieties and reduce stress, is the use of respiratory exercises to open lungh passages, oxygenate the blood, and cleanse the body by eliminating gaseous toxins. The client is encouraged to breathe deeply while the therapist works the appropriate muscles.
Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body's natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life force (chi) to aid healing. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses the gentle, but firm pressure of hands. Acupressure can be effective in helping relieve headaches, eye strain, sinus problems, neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, tension due to stress, ulcer pain, menstrual cramps, lower backaches, constipation, and indigestion.
A noninvasive therapeutic modality for the relief and control of myofascial pain and dysfunction. The goal of treatment is the client's recovery from or a significant reduction of myofascial pain. The treatment goal is achieved through a systematized approach. Treatment consists of trigger point compression, myomassage, passive stretching, and a regime of corrective exercises. Success may be measured subjectively by the level of pain reduction experienced by the client and objectively throughout increased range of motion, strength, endurance, and other measures of improved function. It relies heavily on client-therapist interaction, including verbal and nonverbal elements.
This enhances the normal mobility and tissue motion of the organs of the visceral system. Hypertonicity, displacement, and adhesions can all cause organs to work against each other, creating chronic irritation and fixed, abnormal points of tension. The visceral organs are dependent on their ability to move freely in the visceral cavity to the work correctly and efficiently. When they are pulled out of their effective positions, they cease to function properly. By freeing each organ to work compatibly with the others, a therapist can potentially alter and improve the structure and functioning of the entire body.