Tag Archives: Massage Technique

THE SPORTS MASSAGE

Describing it in a nutshell, the Sports Massage is a specialty massage technique that was created and developed with athletes in mind. And as such, the Sports Massage prepares the bodies of professional and amateur sportspersons for their best possible performance before participating in a sport and it then helps their bodies to recover afterwards. However, just because the Sports Massage was designed for those participating in sports, you do not have to be an athlete to reap the benefits from it. After all, athletes are not the only people who get injured and they by no means hold the monopoly on pain.

The Sports Massage is, in effect, one of several forms of the Swedish massage and it promotes an increased circulation of blood and lymph fluids in the body. To break down or dissolve adhesions, which are painful clumps or knots within the muscles, and to widen the range of motion of stiffened joints, trigger point therapy is incorporated as part of the Sports Massage session. There are four different types of Sports Massage therapies and their distinction is made primarily by its time of performance in relations to the athletes sport activity. In other words, it is mainly their timing which makes them different from one another. The four types of Sports Massages are designated as follows:

* Pre-Event Sports Massage. The Pre-Event Sport Massage is a vigorous but shortened massage treatment that lasts anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes and is performed right before the sports event. Its main focus is on those specific parts of the athletes body which will be most intensively involved in the action.

* Post-Event Sports Massage. The Post-Event Sport Massage is performed within an hour or two of the event and its aim is to return bodies to their normal state by helping them recover from the hard work in the shortest time possible.

* Restorative Sports Massage. The Restorative Sports Massage is applied while the athlete is in training and it helps him or her practice harder while, at the same time, decreasing the chances of incurring injuries.

* Rehabilitative Sports Massage. The Rehabilitative Sports Massage is there to pick up the proverbial pieces by treating the injuries which resulted from the exertion of the sport. The foremost objective of Rehabilitative Sports Massage is to relieve pain and to return the body to its former, pre-injury state.

So, whether you are a professional or an amateur athlete or simply a citizen of the world who happens to have a precise problem such as a sore knee from your morning jog around the block or a frozen should because you slept on the wrong side of the bed or a stiff back because you forgot to use your legs when lifting the grocery back and so on, do yourself a favor and see a Sports Massage therapist. And the best way to find one is by getting referrals from reliable sources or by doing some research. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) suggests that you ask the following questions when interviewing a potential Sports Massage therapist or any other type of massage therapist, for that matter:

* Did you graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)?
* Are you licensed or registered as a massage therapist in this state?
* Are you certified by the national Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)?
* Do you have training in any specific massage modalities?

Beyond all that, you should just relax and enjoy the process while your body is being directed onto the path of healing.

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THE HOT STONE MASSAGE

The Hot Stone massage is a therapeutic massage technique in which a heated stone is held by the massage therapist who uses it to apply the customary and traditional Swedish massage strokes. Because they have the tendency to absorb heat and retain it for extended periods of time, the stones which are used are usual smooth, black volcanic basalt rocks of various sizes and shapes. For the most part, these rocks are heated in water at 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Native Americans are known to also have used hot stones for medicinal purposes but those were heated by direct fire. This technique of fire-heated stones was restored by Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona and she trademarked it as LaStone Therapy.

Primarily due to the effects of the heat from the stones, the Hot Stone massage is profoundly calming and delightfully relaxing as it rapidly releases the tension out of every soft tissue, be it muscle, tendon or ligament, which is included in this treatment while gentle and comforting peace washes over the client almost immediately. The hot stones are used throughout the entire session to massage, to stroke, to press, to manipulate and to knead the clients soft tissues. On occasion, heated stones are laid out to rest at strategic spots along the spine as well as in the palms of the clients hands and between the toes. This maneuver promotes the optimal flow of energy throughout the entire body. As soon as the stones cool down, the massage therapist will replace them with newly heated ones but areas that are inflamed, injured or swollen, will often be treated with cold stones instead of the hot ones.

To derive the most out of the Hot Stone massage therapy, clients are encouraged to:

* Indicate any discomforts such as those which might be created by stones which are too hot, by the massage therapist applying pressure with too much force, by the background music which may be too loud, by the room temperature which could be too hot or too cold and so on.

* Refrain from consuming a heavy meal and to abstain from ingesting any amount of alcohol shortly before the session.

* Arrive in plenty of time to check in and to relax before the treatment.

* Take a sauna, a steam bath or a hot tub before the session as it will relax and soften the muscles for better end results from the entire treatment. If the hot tub was treated with chlorine, the clients are asked to take hot showers in order to rinse off the chemical.

* Remove all their clothing and be assured that they will remain completely covered with a towel. This will give the massage therapist better access and direct contact with the skin.

* Take slow, deep breaths throughout the session as it helps to relax the body and release more toxins.

* To banish irrelevant thoughts from racing through their heads by concentrating on the feel of the therapists movements over their bare skins.

* Get off the massage table after the session very slowly as dizziness may set in otherwise.

* Absorb the full results of the massage treatment by allowing some quiet time in a peaceful place.

* Drink extra water after the massage to flush out and wash away the toxins released during the treatment.

The Hot Stone massage is beneficial in many ways as it promotes deep muscle and soft tissue relaxation, eases stress, releases toxins, alleviates pain, improves circulation and calms the mind. Quite appropriately, therefore, there is an impressive list of ailments which are treated with Hot Stone massages and they are:

* Muscle aches and pains due to over use, injury or stress.
* Back pain caused by injury, poor posture or misuse.
* Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
* Arthritis.
* Fibromyalgia.
* Stress, anxiety, nervousness and depression.
* Insomnia.
* Any number of circulatory problems.

The Hot Stone massage requires specialized training, it involved more preparation time for disinfecting and heating the stones, the session are often somewhat longer than usual and more time is spent cleaning up. As a consequence, the Hot Stone massage tends to be more costly than any other conventional and basic Swedish massage. But it is worth it and you are worthy of it!

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THE CHAIR MASSAGE

Massages in chairs or simply in sitting positions have always had their place among most ancient and traditional massage techniques around the world but the contemporary Chair massage as we know it today and as we occasionally refer to as the On-Site or Seated massage is a trend that began as recently as 1982. The Chair massage was the brainchild of David Palmer, the director of the Amma Institute of Traditional Japanese Massage at that time who is considered to be the father of Chair massage. Mr. Palmer came to realize that, whether due to the high cost or the sensual intimacy of conventional table massages, or maybe the lack of sophistication on the part of the public or perhaps due to the combination of the three in one proportion or another, there were too few people who sought such bodyworks services and, therefore, there was not enough work for all the graduates of his institute. Mr. Palmers entrepreneurial intuition and insightfulness led him to adopt a few existing old-time techniques and to renovate others to develop a modern massage technique which could be performed anywhere as it required only brief periods of time, no need for the removal of clothing and quite reasonably priced. Consequently, his Chair massages became convenient, affordable and non-threatening.

The first clients to enjoy the newly developed Chair massage were the employees and customers of the Apple Computers outlets where David Palmer and his graduates set up their makeshift workstations in 1984. That venture lasted only about twelve months and the demand at the time was not huge, but they did give up to 350 Chair massages each week and it proved to be a step in the right direction and a very good beginning. By 1986 a specially designed and structured chair to better accommodate Chair massages went into production and today, there are well over 100,000 such chairs in use within the United States as well as in many other nations around the world.

David Palmer realized that Chair massage will be truly successful only with further development of this particular niche and he opened continuing education seminars for training graduates of other massage schools. During the twelve months of 1986, he taught 24 Chair massage seminars at 24 different locations in the United States as well as in Sweden and Norway. The concept of the Chair massage was embraced with open arms when presented to the American Massage Therapy Association and as a consequence, by 1990 just about every massage school in the nation was teaching it.

The Chair massage is not officially categorized as a therapy or a treatment but rather as a minimal relaxation technique. Whether that was a deliberate marketing ploy and clever salesmanship or not, it worked to attract people who would otherwise shy away from other kinds of massage therapies and treatments. For the most part, those who took the first step and braved the process of the Chair massage, would have become more open minded about progressing and graduating into the true massage therapies.

Nowadays, chair massages are readily available in shopping malls, airport terminals, independent shops, franchises, hotel lounges, hospitals, gyms, spas, bus depots, train stations, supermarkets, community centers, eateries (particularly the new-age cafs), convention centers, beauty salons, barber shops, medical and dental offices, university campuses, corporate workplaces and even at street corners, public parks and city square throughout the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. The Chair massage is estimated to be the fastest growing and most popular form of skilled touch, as professional massages are performed on the otherwise touch-deprived masses. It is David Palmers greatest dream to see young children performing shoulder rubs among family members and friends as part of their regular daily routine; and expressed in his own words, When we reach that point I will know that we have arrived at our goal of a world where touch is recognized as essential to the development and maintenance of healthy human beings.

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