Types of Massage Therapy
There are many different types of Massage Therapy and a few of the most well known types are listed below.
The goal of a Swedish Massage is to relax the entire body and promote an overall sense of well being.
Swedish Massage is a very popular type of massage and it is recommended for those who have never had a massage before because it is gentle. There is less emphasis on specific tension areas or deeper muscle groups then there is on relieving stress.
The Massage Therapist uses long, slow, gliding strokes, kneading, and circular movements on the superficial layers of muscle. All of the massage techniques are done in the direction of blood flow towards the heart to promote increased circulation.
The Four Common Strokes of Swedish Massage are:
- Effleurage: a smooth, gliding stroke used to relax soft tissue
- Petrissage: the squeezing, rolling, or kneading that follows effleurage.
- Friction: deep, circular movements that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other, helping to increase blood flow and break down scar tissue.
- Tapotement: a short, alternating tap done with cupped hands, fingers, or the edge of the hand to help relieve stress, reduce pain, boost mood and promote relaxation.
The Benefits of Swedish Massage Therapy Include:
- Promoting general relaxation
- Improving circulation
- Removing metabolic waste products (which shortens recovery time from muscular strain)
- Relieving muscle tension
- Stretching ligaments and tendons
- Reducing emotional and physical stress
- Improving range of motion
- Stimulating the skin and nervous system
- Increasing the level of oxygen in the blood
Swedish Massage is recommended as part of a regular program for stress management and overall wellness. Let go of all your stress and tension; get a Swedish Massage today.
Deep Tissue Massage Therapy:
Deep Tissue Massage Therapy works on the deep layers of muscle, tendons and connective tissue. It is effective for relieving chronic muscle tension and pain from overuse or injury.
Deep Tissue Massage Therapy focuses on specific areas of pain and tension, called knots, also known as adhesions. Adhesions can block circulation, cause pain, limit movement, and cause inflammation. Knots are painful when pressed and can cause symptoms elsewhere in the body.
The Massage Therapist uses slow strokes to apply direct deep pressure and friction across the grain of the muscles to break down the adhesions which relieves pain and restores normal movement.
Many people experience some discomfort when receiving a Deep Tissue Massage. It is important to tell the Massage Therapist when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range.
People often feel soreness, stiffness or pain for one to two days after receiving a Deep Tissue Massage. To reduce the amount of soreness after the massage drink a lot of water and if you find it to be really sore apply ice to the area.
According to the August 2005 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine, 34,000 people ranked Deep Tissue Massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people’s blood pressure fell after a single 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. Additionally, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that Deep Tissue Massage reduces stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.
The Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage Include:
- Relieving or reduces chronic pain, muscle tension or spasm
- Increasing range of motion
- Facilitating recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
- Reducing stress level
- Alleviating repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Increasing blood circulation and lymphatic flow
- Assisting in resolving postural problems
If you or someone you know have muscles that always feel tight, a Deep Tissue Massage will help.
Therapeutic Massage Therapy:
Therapeutic Massage Therapy is a medical massage that promotes healing from a variety of traumas, such as an accident, an overuse injury or surgery. This type of massage is effective in the rehabilitation process and may be covered by your health or auto insurance provider. The focus is to relax the injured muscles and to allow those muscles to become as close to the original state as possible.
Therapeutic Massage Therapy can also help to reduce chronic stress and aid in the management of pain. Relief can be found for those with Fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, and/or overuse injuries.
The Benefits of Therapeutic Massage Include:
- Improving functioning of the circulation system
- Improving functioning of the lymphatic system
- Improving functioning of the muscular system
- Improving functioning of the skeletal system
- Improving functioning of the nervous system
- Improving the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness
If you have been in a car accident, have chronic stress, have chronic pain or have had a recent surgery a Therapeutic Massage is for you. It will work on the stress accumulated areas in an effort to achieve a relaxed mind and body.
A trigger point is a knot or wad of muscle fibers staying in a hard contraction, never relaxing state. A trigger point, when compressed, produces pain or other neurological sensations within the area touched or in another area of the body. A trigger point can be caused from injury, poor posture, repetitive motion, or emotional stress.
The Massage Therapist will locate a trigger point with the assistance of the Client and apply pressure to the middle of the contracted muscle area. The Client is asked to take deep breaths as pressure is applied to the affected area.
The Benefits of Trigger Point Massage Therapy Include:
- Releasing constricted muscular areas
- Interrupting the pain cycle
- Releasing toxins from the muscles
- Alleviating pain
A significant decrease in pain can be experienced from just one treatment. Receiving Trigger Point Massage Therapy on a regular basis can help naturally manage pain and stress from chronic injuries.
Myofascial Release Massage Therapy:
Myofascial Release is a gentle stretching of the fascia. Fascia is a connective tissue that forms a three dimensional web around and through all muscles, bones, nerves and organs. Malfunctions within the fascia due to trauma, postural habits or inflammation creates a binding, which results in abnormal pressure and it can initiate pain or malfunctions at other sites throughout the body.
Myofascial Release is preformed dry or with very little lubricant. The Massage Therapist engages the soft tissue layer by rolling, pinching, stretching and kneading. Through releasing the fascia, the underlying muscles can more easily be massaged to reduce pain and increase range of motion.
The Benefits of Myofascial Release Massage Therapy Include:
- Relieving pain
- Relieving headaches
- Aiding in the muscular healing process
- Restoring movement
People who have Fibromyalgia, Scoliosis, and chronic pain experience good results with this type of Massage Therapy.
Aromatherapy Massage Therapy:
Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils (extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots) to enhance the benefits of Massage. The essential oil(s) is added to the Massage lotion or oil. It can also be added to the air through a diffuser or nebulizer.
Essential oils have been used in healing for thousands of years, they are powerful antioxidants and they are anti-microbial. Essential oils are absorbed through the skin quickly and when it is inhaled, molecules enter the nasal cavity and stimulates the Limbic System in the brain. The Limbic System influences emotions and memories. It is directly linked to the adrenals, the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, the parts of the body that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, stress, memory, hormone balance, and breathing. This makes the effects of essential oils immediate in bringing about emotional and physiological balance.
Each essential oil has its own unique characteristics, healing properties and benefits. One of the most common essential oils used in Aromatherapy Massage is lavender. Lavender is for pain relief, calming, reduces inflammation, acts as a mild antidepressant, supports the respiratory system, aids in detoxification and promotes restful sleep. Chamomile and Geranium are for calming. Sage, citrus and rose are for uplifting. Rosemary is for energizing, aids in recovery and cleansing. Eucalyptus, pine, and tea tree are for decongesting. Mint enlivens the body and mind by increasing circulation. Clove, sweet birch and cypress aid in tissue recovery and decrease pain in muscles and joints. Peppermint aids in pain relief and cools the body while increasing circulation.
Aromatherapy Massage Therapy can be used for a variety of health conditions, such as allergies, stress, bruises, burns, diarrhea, ear aches, premenstrual syndrome, energy, insect bites, relaxation, poor digestion, headache, menopause, insomnia, nausea, bronchitis, colds, flu, sinusitis, sprains, wounds, muscle and joint pain, arthritis, nervousness, restlessness, and scars.
Today, Aromatherapy can be found in a variety of places; integrated into holistic treatments, used in spa treatments and in products such as candles, massage oil, and other relaxation products.
Pregnancy Massage Therapy:
Pregnancy Massage Therapy is also known as Prenatal Massage Therapy. It is a gentle and nurturing massage for the expectant mother. Pregnancy Massage can focus on areas to provide specific relief or can be done as a full-body Massage. In this type of Massage the Massage Therapist uses additional pillows to ensure comfort and modifies techniques to account for the major changes that are occurring to the body.
In the early weeks of pregnancy the woman may lay on her back and her abdomen. In the mid to later weeks of pregnancy, as the belly grows, the Massage will be done in a side-lying and semi-reclined position. This position alleviates the extra strain on the lower back and pelvic areas when the pressure of massage techniques are applied. Regardless of the week of pregnancy, it is always best to consult with your Doctor prior to receiving a Prenatal Massage.
The Benefits of Pregnancy Massage Therapy Include:
- Reducing stress
- Decreasing swelling
- Relieving muscular aches and pains
- Relieving joint pain
- Reducing anxiety
- Reducing depression
- Enhancing sleep
Pregnancy Massage Therapy may also be helpful during a time when medication and other medical options may are more limited.
Geriatric Massage Therapy:
Geriatric Massage Therapy is designed to address the specific needs of the elderly population. It uses a gentle and light application of techniques and can include passive stretching. Geriatric Massage Therapy provides comfort (especially for those who are touch-deprived), enhances circulation, relieves anxiety and depression, improves balance, reduces pain, increases range of motion, improves posture, and encourages overall well-being.
Geriatric massage can be especially helpful for maintaining and improving overall health as we age.
If you have a specific health condition(s), you should receive permission from your physician before you schedule an appointment for a Geriatric Massage.