Massage Therapy is the administration of pressure onto certain areas of the body, promoting relaxation and better overall well-being.
Massage therapists or practitioners use their hands, elbows, knees, feet and various massage tools to treat patients of every kind. They are trained to provide the ultimate massage experience for anyone who suffers from injuries, complicated medical conditions, discomfort, pain or stress. The most common methods of Massage Therapy are Deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, Reflexology and Swedish massage.
Anma Massage, a traditional Japanese massage method, is aimed at specific vital points and meridians on the body that involves stroking, vibration, pressure, kneading, percussion and squeezing techniques. The basic strokes of Anma Massage are named Anbuho, Junetsuho, Annetsuho, Appakuho, Shinenho, among others, which are directed away from the heart, rather than toward the heart, like a Swedish massage. Additionally, Anma Massage is performed through clothing without any usage of lubricants.
Aquatic Bodywork is conducted as a one-to-one session between a practitioner and patient, primarily used for recreation, rehabilitation and therapy purposes. The patient is instructed to lie weightless in warm water as the practitioner supports the head, lower back and/or knees. The patient is then moved, stretched, massaged and mobilized in ways that are impractical otherwise. This water-based technique allows the patient’s body to rotate joint articulations and elongate muscles.
Developed in the Indonesian province of Bali, the Balinese Massage includes a variety of techniques like skin rolling, acupressure, firm or gentle stroking, percussion and the application of essential oils. The practitioner is able to locate and alleviate certain pressure points along the patient’s body through kneading and manipulating soft tissue. The patients who receive a Balinese Massage usually suffer from poor circulation, low energy, tiredness, depression or lethargy.
The Bowen Technique typically involves gentle rolling motions along the patient’s muscles, tendons and fascia. Recognized as a calm and relaxing experience, this technique is performed to alleviate restriction and pain without the need for a forceful or deep approach. Rather, the practitioner uses thumbs and fingers on specific points of the patient’s body that gently stimulate muscles and soft tissue.
Breema is often described as a combination between Thai massage and yoga, as it is performed to bring the patient’s body and mind together. No powerful techniques are involved because nothing needs to be fixed. The practitioner doesn’t press or pull, but rather uses his or her own body weight to interact with the patient’s body, providing support for its own healing energy. A full-body session includes work on the patient’s legs, feet, arms, hands, abdomen, shoulders, neck and/or head.
Champissage Massage is based on the traditional form of Champi, a popular Indian head massage, that has been practiced in India for more than 1,000 years. During a Champissage Massage session, the practitioner focuses on the patient’s shoulders, arms, neck, scalp, face and ears to balance the body’s energy.
Chua K’a is a three-part treatment that focuses on removing physical and psychic tension held in the patient’s body. During a typical session, the practitioner applies physical pressure to work the tissues along the body, using accurate hand and finger positions, and a stick called a “K’a.” When physical tension is released, psychic tension is, too.
CranioSacral Therapy is a hands-on approach that focuses on regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and releasing tension in the patient’s body to alleviate pain. The practitioner applies a gentle touch to a patient's skull, face, spine and pelvis to help reduce headaches, chronic neck and back pain, tension-related disorders, scoliosis and more. This therapy is known to improve whole-body health and performance.
Similar to the Swedish Massage, the Deep Tissue Massage focuses on the deepest layers of the patient’s muscle tissue, tendons and fascia. This method is popular for reducing stress hormones and heart rate, enhancing mood and relaxation, and alleviating chronic pain and aches by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin. Patients who use this method typically suffer from low back pain, leg muscle tightness, stiff neck, sore shoulders, and more.
Esalen Massage provides a patient with a state of deep relaxation and healing through nurturing contact, long flowing strokes and detailed attention to his or her entire body. The practitioner combines a genuine presence with integrating strokes, and slow, deep muscle work to release the stresses of everyday life, leaving the patient feeling whole and relaxed.
Foot Massage is typically used to alleviate anxiety and offer a deep state of relaxation. Since feet contain more than 7,000 sensory nerves, receiving this type of massage affects various parts of the body, for example, giving off pleasurable and relaxing sensations, promoting health and well-being, and releasing stress. In fact, studies have shown that patients’ stress substantially decreases after a foot massage.
Geriatric Massage helps alleviate specific problems of the elderly population, such as enhancing blood circulation, battling depression, reducing the pain of arthritis, increasing joint mobility, improving balance and flexibility, and encouraging well-being. The practitioner uses a gentle application of massage techniques, including light oil or lotion to prevent excessive friction to the skin.
Hilot Massage, also known as the art of healing, is an ancient Filipino method used to relax patients’ stressed muscles. Practitioners are trained to reset dislocated and sprained joints, such as fingers, knees and ankles, which is highly recommended for patients with upper back ache, and stress-related pain and anxiety. Key elements in the Hilot Massage include banana leaves and virgin coconut oil.
Hot Stone Massage is a popular treatment that is used to ease muscle stiffness, melt away tension, and increase circulation and metabolism. Practitioners apply smooth, heated stones to the patient’s body while conducting a massage, or they use the stones as an extension of their own hands. The heated stones warm up tight muscles so the practitioner can work more deeply.
Infant Massage allows a dynamic interaction to form between an infant and parent. This foundation of relationship building is important because children need physical contact and nurturing touch to achieve healthy growth and development. Infant Massage also helps soothe common discomforts and promote restful sleep.
Kum Nye is an effective healing and meditation practice that calms the body and mind through the use of proper massage, posture and exercise. Patients can address three kinds of tension in their body: superficial tensions, blockages in energy channels and knots in the chakras. Practices include movement, stillness, posture, visualization, breathing exercises and self-massage.
Lomilomi and Indigenous Massage of Oceania is a Hawaiian massage, however, the technique varies by island. It is commonly used in Samoa, East Futuna, New Zealand, Tonga and many other areas of Oceania.
Medical Massage is conducted to resolve conditions that have been diagnosed and prescribed by a physician. Medical Massage incorporates various types of methods, such as trigger point therapy, muscle testing, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, positional release and rehabilitative stretching procedures. Patients who receive Medical Massage would like to release tight and sore muscles, relieve nerve compression or entrapment, increase flexibility and range of motion, alleviate stress and improves circulation.
Metamorphic Technique is a form of gentle and light foot, hand and head massages, which helps the patient release deep blocks in their body's energy pattern. Metamorphic Technique can be practiced by anyone through little guidance.
Myofascial Release is an effective hands-on method that involves applying gentle pressure onto the patient’s myofascial connective tissue. Also known as a soft tissue therapy, Myofascial Release treats injury and discomfort as it eliminates pain, and releases muscular shortness and tightness. Patients who receive Myofascial Release usually suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and ongoing back, shoulder or hip pain.
Neuromuscular Massage is a popular method of massage therapy that is commonly used to treat lower back pain in patients. Practitioners utilize their fingers, knuckles and/or elbows to alleviate muscle spasms, and assess and prevent soft tissue injuries. Neuromuscular Massage is incorporated in healthcare facilities of nursing, dentistry, chiropractic, occupational therapy, physical therapy, osteopathic and physical medicine.
Postural Integration is an effective method of deep tissue manipulation that corrects body imbalances. Combined with elements of psychotherapy and bodywork, Postural Integration is usually conducted as a series of 10 sessions; the first seven sessions concentrate on a particular part of the body, while the last three sessions integrate the changes in the body.
Prenatal Massage is designed to help pregnant women and their changing bodies. This method not only enhances relaxation, improves mobility and increases blood flow, but also relieves insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping and sciatica. Prenatal Massage also reduces swelling in the hands and feet.
Reflexology is a type of bodywork that focuses on patients’ hands and feet. Since those “reflex” areas correspond to specific organs, glands and other parts of the body, performing Reflexology helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system in order to heal itself. This method is known to reduce stress, help the body achieve a state of deep relaxation, and even relieve the pain of multiple sclerosis and cancer treatments.
Shiatsu Massage, also known as the finger pressure massage in Japanese, helps alleviate back pain, insomnia, anxiety, stress, headache, depression, and much more. Practitioners use finger and palm pressure to stimulate the entire body, especially along the meridians, to improve the flow of natural energy.
Sports Massage is designed for athletes of every kind that helps prevent injuries, targets muscle-tendon junctions, reduces fatigue, promotes flexibility and prepares body and mind for optimal performance. Practitioners focus on areas of the patient’s body that are drained and stressed from aggressive and repetitive movements during training or after an event.
Structural Massage focuses on realigning the skeletal system by removing toxins of the muscular system with a technique called rolfing. Rolfing includes manipulating the soft tissues for safer movements, better posture and balance. Results and benefits from structural massage include an increased range of motion, decrease of pain and overall better coordinated body movement.
Swedish Massage is the most recognizable massage technique used in massage therapy techniques today in popular culture. Techniques include tapping, bending, stretching and kneading and long gliding strokes towards the heart. The movements help to warm up muscle tissue, breakdown tension knots, decrease muscle toxins and improve overall circulation and flexibility.
Influenced by traditional medicine systems and Ayurvedic techniques traditionally used in Chinese medicine or in Thailand, India and Southeast Asia, Thai Massage Therapy uses yoga like stretches and pressure from your therapist’s feet, hands, knees and legs. During the course of a thai massage you will be moved in a variety of yoga-like poses while the therapy works to mobilize joints, stretch muscles and apply acupressure to troubled areas of the body.
Using a variety of compression, joint manipulation, friction, swing, pinching, grasping, vibration and percussion, Traditional Chinese Massage uses these body massage techniques to encourage better blood circulation, relieve muscle stiffness and remove any blockages of qi or negative energy. Through time, traditional chinese massage has evolved to tui na massage, an mo massage and dian xue massage.
Targeted for postural problems, physical mobility and added pain relief, the Trager Approach of massage therapy helps to release the strain caused by repeated physical and mental patterns unhealthy to the body. The trager approach provides greater relaxation by using gentle rocking and body lengthening movements through self care exercises of physical movement and mental gymnastics, “mentastics.”
The specifics of trigger point therapy include using isolated pressure and release by certain points of pain on the body to break down a sore build up or knot in the body’s muscles. This method needs both participation of the massage therapist and the person being massaged. The subject is needed to compliment the therapist’s points of physical pressure with their own deep breathing to accurately locate the exact location of pain and areas of constriction in the muscles.
Watsu massage methods seek to increase a person’s mobility and flexibility while helping to decrease stress, pain and insomnia. Similar to aquatic bodywork, watsu massage uses warm water induction to float and gently stretch the massage patient to take weight off the body’s vertebrae for a decrease in muscle tension and increase in overall relaxation.
A healthy massage method that incorporates Hawaiian Kahuna and Swedish massage techniques, Yeru massage uses unbroken, smooth full-body length strokes to create a relaxing treatment that is said to balance hormone levels in the body, deal with depression and anxiety and create an overall healthier body image.
There are many studied and valid medical advantages to using Massage Therapy for overall body wellness. Benefits from Massage Therapy consist of Stress relief, improved range of motion, reduced pain and lower anxiety outside of harsh painkillers and prescription medications.
The power of touch from Massage Therapy has been proven to benefit those who suffer from anxiety, depression, hypertension and high blood pressure due to stress. Massage therapy is therapeutic to the body’s senses and activates dormant cells that function to fight diseases and viruses for a natural immunity boost. Regular massage therapy can also aid in having better posture, sleep, relief from tension headaches, and better skin circulation and tone.