Massage Therapy 101

Aaaah………Massage! Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing massage to melt away tension and reduce stress? Massage Therapy is a great way to soothe sore muscles, release deep muscle tension and heal soft muscle tissue. It can also be a good preventative for muscle injuries and several health conditions. But what kind of massage do I need? Will I have to undress? What is the difference between Swedish and Deep Tissue? Will having a massage hurt? What are the benefits of massage?

Here’s the low down on the rub down.

There are many different types of massages including Swedish, deep tissue, aromatherapy, prenatal, reflexology, sports massage, neuromuscular, canine massage, equine massage, massage cupping, chair massage, lomi-lomi  (Hawaiian deep tissue massage), reiki, myofascial release, infant massage, craniosacral, thai, hot stone, accupressure, lymphatic drainage and thai compress…. just to name a few. Each type of massage style has it’s own benefits and techniques specific to that style of massage.  Benefits and some of the conditions that are helped by massage include relaxation of muscles, increasing circulation, improved digestion, headaches, joint pain and arthritis, TMJ, soft tissue and muscle injuries, anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, reduces scar tissue, aids in healing, back pain, carpal tunnel, neuropathy in the legs and feet, tendonitis and many more. During your massage, the Massage Therapist will ask you to undress to YOUR comfort level and you will be fully draped or covered with a sheet to respect your modesty and state laws. All “important areas” will be covered at all times during the massage, no matter the type of massage you are receiving.

Lets talk about a few of the most popular types of massages…….

The most popular massage type is Swedish Massage. Widely known for being the “traditional” type of massage, it uses gentle, long flowing strokes. Great for a first massage! Won’t leave you sore the next day and is generally good for anyone. Based on techniques from Sweden, this massage increases circulation, soothes aches & joint pain, relieves tension headaches, promotes healing and balance in the body.

Next we will talk about Deep Tissue Massage. Deep Tissue, just like the name says, uses deep pressure and techniques that work the connective tissue or fascia, releasing muscle tension and can help break up scar tissue. Deep Tissue is very similar to Neuromuscular Therapy,  also working on fascia, trigger points and range of motion restrictions. Most individuals experience muscle soreness and tenderness for a day after the massage session. This is a normal therapeutic tenderness. Pain in not. The pressure should be within a range of feeling a little tender or ” good hurt” , but not too deep to cause just pain. A little tender, but not pain. Feel free at any time to tell the Massage Therapist how the pressure feels for you. Your Therapist will adjust the pressure according to your needs-with any type of massage. If the discomfort lasts for more than 24 hours, then the pressure used during the massage was too deep for you. PAIN IS NOT ALWAYS GAIN!!….you always want to stay in a pressure level that is comfortable to you.

Aromatherapy Massage…… Ahhh! Aromatic essential oils are combined with traditional Swedish Massage techniques to relax the body and calm the mind. This massage combines the benefits of traditional massage and essential oils to increase the overall healing properties.

Prenatal Massage is designed for the expectant mother and baby. Gentle Swedish Massage techniques are used to soothe muscle aches and tension that she will experience during her pregnancy. During a Prenatal Massage, special techniques and lying positions are used to make sure mommy and baby are comfortable. Prenatal Massage is very beneficial for the mommy to be and baby. Great for any time after the first trimester.

Reflexology Massage….Who doesn’t enjoy a wonderful foot massage? This unique massage uses gentle techniques that work the reflex points or nerve endings to relax muscles,  bring balance and healing in the body all by working the reflex points in the feet, ears or hands. Based on techniques and ancient healing principals from China to India. This massage is also great in conjunction with other massage types and allied modalities.

Hot Stone Massage…..just sounds heavenly! During a Hot Stone Massage, hot or rather warm basalt (polished lava stones) stones are use to work the muscles, releasing tension and increasing circulation. Similar to Swedish Massage, the techniques used are long flowing strokes, combined with acupressure points the encourage the muscles to release further tension. This massage can also combine traditional massage techniques with the Therapist’s hands and the use of warm stones during the session.

Thai-Herbal Compress Massage is the next favorite massage we will talk about. This massage uses a combination of traditional Thai Massage techniques originating from Thailand, and combines ancient holistic healing principals with herbs and oils. Steamed compresses filled with herbs and essential oils are applied to the body to release muscle tension, increase circulation, promote healing and balance. This massage also can include gentle stretching and range of motion to the joints.

Here is another favorite. Canine Massage ……a massage specially for dogs. Although we pet and scratch our doggy companions everyday, they too need massage therapy. Canine Massage can be done at home or by a certified therapist. Pressure and techniques are gentle on doggy muscles and can help with behavior issues, anxiety, helping to calm hyperactive dogs and can deepen your bond with your canine companion. Canine Massage is also great for training your doggy companion to be comfortable with having their paws, stomach and body touched and worked on. This can be useful in grooming, vet visits and regular checks for skin and coat issues. Canine Massage can include gentle Swedish Massage techniques with acupressure points to bring balance to the body and mind.

No matter the type of massage you receive, massage has many benefits. Always tell your therapist if the pressure is uncomfortable and only go to a Licensed Massage Therapist that is trained in that type of massage. Drink plenty of water after your session; this will help to detox the body of toxins released during a massage and aid in rehydration of the body. Relaxing after a massage will increase the benefits from your session. So relax, treat your self to a massage…..you deserve it!

Category : Blog Posted on September 4, 2013

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