What is Massage?
Massage Therapy is the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body.
The purpose of Massage Therapy is to aid the ability of the body to heal itself.
Massage consists of a group of manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or causing movement to parts of the body. Massage Therapists usually apply pressure with their hands, but they can also use their forearms or elbows.
There are various massage techniques to address different problems of the anatomy and to help you de-stress. There are also many types of massage; some are gentle while others are very active and intense.
Massage Therapy can be described in terms of the type of techniques performed. In practice, many Massage Therapists use multiple techniques or methods in their work. Effective Massage Therapists can determine each person’s needs and then use the techniques that will best meet those needs. It involves applying touch with some degree of pressure and movement.
Massage Therapists must use touch with sensitivity in order to determine the optimal amount of pressure to use for each person. Touch used with sensitivity also allows the Massage Therapist to receive useful information via her hands about the individual’s body, such as locating areas of muscle tension and other soft tissue problems. Because touch is also a form of communication, sensitive touch can convey a sense of caring to the person receiving massage, enhancing the individual’s sense of self and well being.
There are five classical massage techniques: Effleurage, Petrissage, Percussion, Friction and Vibration.
Effleurage is a soothing, long, gliding stroke made with the entire flat surface of the hands that may be deep or superficial. The purpose of this movement is to heighten circulation and increase the depth of relaxation.
Petrissage (otherwise known as kneading) is firm but gently grasping the skin and surface muscles with the thumb and fingers, and rolling, squeezing, or wringing them, and dropping them back into place. It allows detailed work on the body.
Percussion is rapid alternating movements using both hands in tapping (using fingertips) hacking (using chop movements with stretched fingers) cupping (using cupped hand movements, Slapping ( using flat, open palms)or pounding (using both fists). It is stimulating to the muscles and may be stimulating or calming to the nerves.
Friction can be long, slow, firm stroking movements or rolling circular movement in which the hand is kept in contact with the skin and the superficial tissues are moved over the deeper underlying ones. It is used to break down adhesions, clear out congestion and toxic waste build-up. It raises local temperature and should be followed by effleurage.
Vibration is very rapid back and forth shaking or trembling movements performed by the whole hand or the fingers. It has stimulating effect on the nervous system.