Tag Archives: Swedish Massage

The Common Types of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a science of healing that has been existing for several hundreds of years now. This is the typical resort of people who want to be free from their daily stressors. People from all walks of life see this as an ultimate solution to their aching muscles and as an escape from the pressure which their busy lifestyle imposes on them. For sure you have already tried one after the other. In reality, there are more than eighty recognized kinds but this article is about to cover ten of the popularly used types of massage therapy. Read on and find out what they are and what they are comprised of.

The first one is called the Swedish massage. This is a typical find in the United States. It is known to be done in such a relaxing and gentle way. With this kind of massage therapy, the masseur or masseuse makes use of the long strokes that are basically made up of the circular and kneading movements on the muscles by using either oil or lotion for a more relaxing effect.

The next one is termed as Aromatherapy. This is the term used simply because the professional masseur or masseuse uses one or more of the known scented plant oils in the execution of the massage session. You will be asked to choose the oil of course. Among the many plant oils, the lavender is one of the most sought-after because of its recognized effect in the alleviation of stress, both physically and emotionally.

Have you heard of the hot stone massage? Well, this is another kind. With this, smooth stones are heated and then placed on particular points of the body which need to loosen up the tight muscles. The stones also help in balancing the energy centers of the body. If you experience muscle tensions, you may request the professional to apply some gentle pressure.

The deep tissue massage is known to heal the deeper muscle layers and the connective tissues. Slow strokes are used across the muscles. The strategy is also referred to as the friction technique. This kind is employed on people who experience painful or chronically tight muscles, repetitive muscle strain, problems with the posture, and to help those who are recuperating from serious injuries.

Then you also have the Japanese massage therapy that is called Shiatsu. This therapy utilizes the localized finger pressure following some rhythmic sequence as what is done in acupuncture. The points are held for about 2 up to 8 seconds because the massage is meant to enhance the energy flow within the body.

Thai massage actually resembles Shiatsu in such a way that it re-aligns the energy in the body by applying the gentle pressure on some points. Stretches and compressions are done as different postures are followed.

The pregnancy massage is perfect for the expecting women. It is crafted to lessen swelling, aches, stress, depression, and anxiety.

Reflexology or foot massage includes the use of pressure as applied to particular areas on the foot. The practitioners believe that every point on the foot is associated with an organ in the body.

Sports massage is used on the athletes who need to get their physical injuries treated and prevented.

The back massage is of course another popular one. It is applied to relieve the tension in the back as caused by improper posture, lifting of heavy objects, and long sitting.

There you go with the types of massage therapy. Choose one which best applies to you!

MASSAGE THERAPY AS COMPLIMENTARY ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Massage therapy is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of procedures and methods of pressing, rubbing and manipulating muscles and other soft body tissues such as tendons, ligaments, skin and connective tissues. The main objective of massage therapy is to relax the soft tissues while promoting an increased delivery of blood and oxygen to the areas being massages and, therefore, to decrease tightness and pain. Massage therapy is most often accomplished by utilizing the massage therapists fingers, hands, arms, elbows and/or feet. Occasionally, however, mechanical and electronic devices may be also used.

As a matter of fact, there are more than eighty official types of massage therapy treatments but some of the most widely known are the following:

* The Deep Tissue Massage. This technique uses a combination of strokes and deep finger pressure applied way down under the skin and into the muscles at the painful sites in order to breakup knots and loosen tightness.

* The Trigger Point Massage. This procedure is also known as the Pressure Point Massage and it is more focused on specific myofascial trigger points with a stronger force than the Deep Tissue Massage. The goal here is to dissolve the painful knots that were formed in the muscles as well as to relieve additional symptoms in more remote areas of the body.

* The Swedish Massage. This system utilizes oblong smooth strokes, kneading and friction of the muscles as well as movement of the joints to increase their range of motion and flexibility.

* The Shiatsu Massage. Using altering rhythmic pressure, tapping, squeezing and rubbing along the meridian and on various other parts of the body, the main objective of this Eastern massage therapy is to enhance the flow of a fundamentally important energy called gi. And this energy, in the ancient Chinese medicine is believed to be the life force that regulates a persons spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness that is easily affected when subjected to the rival forces of yin and yang.

Whether the four most often practiced massage therapies I mentioned above are used as complimentary alternative medicine (also known as CAM) or any one of the other recognized eighty which are available to a lesser or greater extent, there are important points to be considered:

* No massage therapy should ever be used in place of regular or ongoing medical care.

* Massage therapy should not be the cause or the excuse to postpone visiting a medical professional for existing medical issues.

* The massage therapists schooling and credentials must be verified as well as his or her experience with specific health and medical conditions.
* Any additional complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) such as herbs, supplements, special diets or other treatments which are suggested by the massage therapist must first be reviewed with a medical professional.

* Although the subject of massage therapy (how it works and why) has been studied for many years and continues to be studies, much of it still remains within the realm of a mystery.

* If and when massage therapy is performed by a well training and experienced professional, few risks are involved and the worst of them may be temporary pain or discomfort, bruising, swelling or an allergic reaction to the massage oils. The small number of serious injuries which have been reported were triggered by untrained hands that were not aware that certain medical conditions should not be massaged. It is, therefore, essential to consult a medical professional before undergoing massage therapy, particularly under the following circumstances:

* Deep vein thrombosis
* A bleeding disorder or when taking blood thinners
* Damaged blood vessels
* Weakened bones from osteoporosis, a recent fracture or cancer
* The presence of high body temperature
* Open or healing wounds, tumors, damaged nerves, an infection, a severe inflammation or fragile skin
* Pregnancy
* Heart problems
* Dermatomyositis or any other skin disease
* History of physical abuse

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THE SWEDISH MASSAGE

The Swedish Massage, which was conceived by Henri Peter Ling, a Swedish physiologist at the University of Stockholm, was publically introduced in 1812 as a means of improving blood circulation, of relieving muscle stress and pain, of increasing flexibility and of promoting total relaxation of the body and mind. The Swedish Massage was imported into the United States in the 1850s by Charles and George Taylor, two American brothers practicing medicine in New York who opened the first two Swedish clinics in the New World; the first in Boston, Massachusetts and the second in Washington, D. C. where Ulysses. S. Grant, a famed general during the American Civil War and the 18th President of the United States (1869 1877), allegedly frequented regularly for Swedish Massage treatments.

Since its inception in the early part of the 19th century, the Swedish Massage had become one of the most widely used massage techniques in the Western world and it is the basis for a number of other Western massage therapies which include the Sports Massage, the Deep Tissue Massage and the Aromatherapy. To attain its objectives, the Swedish Massage utilizes seven basic therapeutic movements:

* Effleurage. These are long gliding and soothing strokes which are aimed toward the heart while tracing the natural curves of the body. Massage oils are often used to facilitate smooth movement and to warm the muscles.

* Petrissage. These are movements which use strokes that lift, roll or knead soft body tissues. This process draws blood into the area and helps relax tense muscles and fascia as well as the rest of the body.

* Pinpoint Pressure. These movements are directed toward points that are knotted or hardened and painful to the touch. Pressure is directed to these points in order to break them down and release the muscle.

* Deep Friction. These are very small circular movements which press slightly below the surface of the skin and onto the muscle beneath it. These strokes relax muscles which contracted and tensed due to overuse or as a result of emotional stress at their deeper levels.

* Skin Rolling. This movement involves pinching a fold of skin and moving it forward in a rolling motion. This process lifts skin off its connective tissues to promote better blood circulation for the improvement of skin tone.

* Tapotement. This movement requires rhythmical tapping with cupped hands or with hands set in the karate-chop position. This practice awakens the body into vitality and the tingling sensation of energy and health.

* Finger Brushing. This movement is usually performed at the closing of the Swedish Massage treatment session as fingertips are lightly brushing against the surface of the skin to relax the stimulated muscles while calming the nervous system.

The most outstanding health benefits of the Swedish massage are in:

* Relaxing of tired, tense or overused muscles.
* Improving blood circulation without overburdening the heart.
* Increasing flexibility and widening the range of motion by stretching the bodys soft tissues: muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints and connective tissues.
* Stimulating the nervous system while simultaneously relaxing the nerve endings.
* Decreasing the recovery time of strained muscles by cleansing the tissues of lactic acid and uric acid as well as all other toxins and metabolic wastes.
* Bringing the skin to a healthier and more vibrant appearance of wellness.
* Helping the client achieve a feeling of connectedness and body awareness for maintaining a better posture and stance.
* Alleviating pain and any associated discomfort due to muscle tension, fractures, sprains, sciatica and stiff joints.
* Reducing emotion disstress.

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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