Massage therapy is widely considered complementary to integrative medicine. Studies of the benefits of massage have shown that it is effective in reducing pain, stress and muscle tension. It may also be part of a treatment plan to assist in relief of anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia related to stress, myofascial pain syndrome, soft tissue strains or injuries, sports injuries and temporomandibular joint pain. In addition to the benefits of massage therapy for specific conditions, massage can be enjoyable for those that are seeking a sense of caring, comfort and connection.
This is a gentle form of massage using lotion or oil that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration kneading and tapping with a focus on the superficial layers of the muscles using massage oil or lotion to help relax and energize you and provide full body relaxation. This massage applies light to medium pressure while improving circulation.
How Does Massage Therapy Work?
Massage therapy improves circulation by bringing oxygen and other nutrients to body tissues. It relieves muscle tension and pain, increases flexibility and mobility, and helps clear lactic acid and other waste, which reduces pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.
Why Do People Get Massage Therapy?
People get massage therapy for relaxation or for a variety of health conditions:
- Back pain
- Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis
- Stress relief and stress-related conditions
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains
- Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Circulatory and respiratory problems
- Post-injury and post surgical rehabilitation
Massage therapy relieves stress. It is thought to help the body's stress response by lowering levels of hormones such as cortisol.
Massage therapy also appears to enhance immune function.
What a Typical Massage Therapy Session is Like:
A typical massage therapy session is between 40 and 90 minutes. Your massage will begin with a brief consultation and review of symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.
You will be asked to undress (many people keep their underwear on) while the massage therapist is out of the room, and lie face down under a sheet on a padded massage table.
The massage therapist will knock on the door to make sure you are ready. The massage therapist re-enters the room and will then adjust the face rest and pillows to ensure that you are comfortable and properly positioned. Tell the massage therapist if you are too warm or cold.
The massage therapist uses a light oil or lotion on the skin and begins the massage. A full body massage usually begins on the back and then moves down to the legs. You will then be asked to turn over so you are face up. The massage continues on your arms, legs, neck, and abdomen.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue Therapeutic Massage
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.
The muscular areas needing attention utilize the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain.
When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.
At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain.
It is important to communicate with your massage therapist if you feel discomfort or any soreness or pain that is outside your comfort range.
Unlike classic massage therapy, which is used for relaxation, deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as:
Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
Muscle tension or spasm
This is a Swedish massage with essential oils added to the massage oil. Extracted from flowers and other plant parts, essential oils offer a pleasing scent and are believed to have healing properties. Lavender for instance, has been found to promote relaxation. Although different essential oils may be selected to address specific needs, the therapist typically uses pre-blended oils to relax, energize, or uplift.
The nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones.
When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system. The soothing effects of aromatherapy massage may benefit a variety of conditions, including depression, insomnia, certain digestive disorders, and pain.
Essential oils are also believed to be absorbed through the skin.
Each essential oil has different healing properties. For example, some calm while others energize.
- calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium
- uplifting – ylang ylang, clary sage, rose, neroli
- energizing – rosemary
- cleansing – rosemary
- decongesting – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree
Orthopedic massage focuses on treating painful conditions which affect the soft tissues of the body. The massage therapist may integrate a range of techniques to treat these conditions, ideally adapting his or her style for each client, as every person's body is slightly different. Orthopedic massage may be recommended by a physician who wants a patient to pursue multiple treatment modalities, and people can also see an orthopedic massage therapist independently.
A therapist who performs orthopedic massage focuses on problems with the client's musculoskeletal system. He or she may release tight muscles, help to stretch shortened muscles and tendons, and decompress joints. The goal is to normalize the soft tissues of the body, both to treat specific conditions and to keep clients generally healthy and fit. Because orthopedic massage is designed to treat medical conditions, it requires extensive training.
The first step in an orthopedic massage session is assessment, in which the therapist will talk to the client about the problem and examine the area of interest. If the massage therapist partners with a physician, he or she will also look over notes from the physician. Then, the therapist establishes a treatment plan which considers the physiological effects of various massage techniques. Orthopedic massage is very flexible, since it integrates a wide range of bodywork styles with the end goal of improving the client's condition.
Finally, the therapist works with the client on the table. By using various soft tissue manipulation techniques, the massage therapist can alleviate an assortment of painful conditions caused by soft tissue strain. Depending on the client's issue, the massage therapist may recommend multiple sessions to treat the problem, to ensure that it is eliminated and to build up strength and resistance in the affected area so that the condition does not recur.
This is similar to Swedish massage, but it's geared toward people involved in sport activities of all abilities to prepare for or recover from sporting events by helping to prevent or treat injuries, improve flexibility and enhance athletic performance. This massage is designed to manipulate the body’s soft tissues and focus on certain muscle groups depending on the athlete’s sport. The sports massage includes strokes that are generally faster than a typical Swedish massage and may include compression pressure point therapy, friction and joint mobilization.
Massage has become an integral part of the new athletic regimen from sports medicine clinics, to college training rooms, to professional locker rooms to Olympic training. Growing number of trainers believe that massage can provide an extra edge to the athletes who participate in high performance sports. Massage has become a necessary ingredient for a complete workout. More and more people are realizing that a complete workout routine includes not only the exercise itself, but also caring for the wear-and-tear and minor injuries that naturally occur with strenuous movement. The physiological and psychological benefits of massage make it an ideal complement to a total conditioning program.
Anyone who routinely stretches their physical limits through movement such as running, cycling, hiking, swimming, dancing, tennis and other racquet sports, strength training and aerobics can benefit from a massage. There are others who does strenuous activities in a day that is not normally classified as exercise. Examples are mothers with small children, gardeners, and others who use their bodies strenuously in their work.
Incorporating massage in your conditioning program has many benefits. It helps you get into good shape faster, and with less stiffness and soreness. It helps you recover faster from heavy workouts, and relieves conditions which may cause injury.
What Happens When You Exercise?
Regular exercise increases vigor and promotes a general sense of well-being. If done in moderation, it can help relieve the effects of stress, and has been linked to decrease in psychological depression.
Regular exercise produces positive physical results like increased muscular strength and endurance, more efficient heart and respiratory functioning, and greater flexibility.
These positive physical changes occur as the body gradually adapts to the greater demands put on it by regular exercise. The body improves its functioning to meet the challenges placed on it.
This massage is ideal for high school and college athletes and provides support to the working areas of the body before, during, and after an event.
Sports massage therapy offers these proven benefits:
Prevention of injury
Enhanced athletic performance
Restored flexibility and range of motion
Faster recovery from injury
Removal of lactic acid buildup
What is pregnancy massage?
Pregnancy massage is massage therapy specifically tailored for the expectant mother's needs. It is also called pre-natal massage. This light, full body nurturing massage focuses on the special needs of mothers-to-be during pregnancy.
How is pregnancy massage different from regular massage?
The mother's body is properly positioned and supported during the massage, using pillows and padding. Proper positioning ensures comfort and safety for the mother and baby. Cushions enhance support, decrease pressure and increase relaxation for both body and mind. Mother and baby share in the benefits as stress and tension melt away, leaving you feeling balanced and energized.
Also, some massage techniques, such as deep tissue work, cannot be used. Certain areas of the body should be avoided during pregnancy.
What are the benefits of pregnancy massage?
Pregnancy massage has been found to reduce stress on feet, ankles, lower back, and neck, as well as decrease swelling in the arms and legs, and relieve aches and pains in muscles and joints.
It's a popular complementary therapy during pregnancy for back pain, when choices for pain relief, such as medication, are often limited.
Not only can massage be physically beneficial, but the human touch can be comforting and provide emotional support during pregnancy.
Massage therapy has been found to reduce anxiety and depression.
Chair massage therapy is an over the clothing massage treatment delivered on a relaxing face down chair. Perfect for a quick shoulder, back and neck massage. If you’re short on time but need therapeutic attention to a particular part of your body, this massage feature is what you’re looking for.