What is Massage?
Therapeutic massage enhances medical treatment and helps people feel less anxious and stressed, relaxed yet more alert. It had been said that, 'Massage is to the human body what a tune-up is for a car.'
Massage: The application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation. The many variations of massage account for several different techniques.
Bodywork: Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or repatterning to affect structural changes to the body
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 healing abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life force (sometimes known as qi or chi) to aid healing. 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.
The use of essential oils (extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots) in body and skin care treatments is known as aromatherapy. Used as a healing technique for thousands of years by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, essential oils aid in relaxation, improve circulation, and help the healing of wounds.
An ayurvedic massage is one part of the traditional detoxification and rejuvenation program of India called panchakarma, in which the entire body is vigorously massaged with large amounts of warm oil and herbs to remove toxins from the system. With the client's permission, oil is also poured into the ears, between the eyebrows, and at specific chakras, or energy points, during techniques known respectively as karna purana, shirodhara, and marma chikitsa.
These treatments have been modified to meet the needs of the West and have been powerful in their effects on the mind and nervous systemócalming, balancing, and bringing both a heightened sense of awareness and deep inner peace. The techniques can be done either as stand-alone treatments or in conjunction with the ayurvedic body massage.
BOWEN TECHNIQUEDeveloped by Thomas Ambrose Bowen of Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, this hands-on, light-touch body therapy consists of gentle rolling movements over muscles and tendons to stimulate the body's own healing mechanisms. Originally intended to help people suffering from muscularskeletal problems, Bowen Technique has also been successful with many other conditions, including asthma and respiratory ailments in children and pre-teens.
CONNECTIVE TISSUE MASSAGE
Also known as bindegewebsmassage, Connective Tissue Massage (CTM) techniques are designed to specifically affect the connective tissue of the body. The technique consists of the massage therapist subtly hooking her fingers into the skin and superficial connective tissue while performing a dragging or pulling stroke that somewhat stretches the skin. CTM leaves a visible mark that looks somewhat like an abrasion or burn, but which goes away without leaving a scar.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Techniques that utilise 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 from reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques.
INFANT MASSAGE INSTRUCTION
Qualified instructors teach parents how to properly massage their infants. Infant massage is also utilised in hospital neonatal care units. This specialised form of touch is successful, not only in the critical weight gain of premature infants, but also in creating a strong bond between parent and infant and exposing a young child to the benefits and pleasures of touch.
Stones of all shapes and sizes and varying temperatures, ranging from zero to 140 degrees, are used during LaStone massage therapy to elicit physical healing, mental relaxation, and a spiritual connection to earth energy. Warm stones encourage the exchange of blood and lymph and provide soothing heat for deep-tissue work. Cold stones aid with inflammation, moving blood out of the area, and balancing male/female energies. Stones are placed in varying positions on the body for energy balancing or may be used by the therapist for specific trigger-point work. The alternating heat and cold of thermotherapy brings the entire body into the healing process, with a rapid exchange of blood and oxygen and alternating rise and fall of respiration rate as the body seeks homeostasis.
LYMPH DRAINAGE THERAPY
Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) 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.
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. Reflexology involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body's energy flow to stimulate self-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.
Developed in Japan, shiatsu is a finger-pressure technique utilising traditional acupuncture points. Similar to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy and restoring balance in the meridians and organs in order to promote self-healing. With 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.
Sports massage is designed to enhance 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 visualising 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, skilful massage therapy can often speed and improve the healing.
One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energise the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. 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 generalised relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.