Deep Tissue Massage Therapy
Deep tissue, or “specific” work, is an intense anatomy based therapy with the goal of discovering and uncovering the exact pain and its location in order to release it. The work is always guided by the client’s tolerance with the keys being to breathe and stay relaxed so muscles are supple and responsive. The pressure starts lightly and progresses to the deepest level the client can tolerate. Deeper is not always better and each client’s situation will determine the necessary depth. Immediate results will be experienced, however some types of chronic pain are like onions, with layers needing to be peeled away over time.
Deep tissue work focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension, pain from injuries, and regain mobility of stiff muscles in the body. It also helps break up and eliminate scar tissue. This form of treatment usually focuses on more specific areas and may cause some soreness during or right after the massage. However, within a day or two the body will feel looser, freer, and more comfortable to move in.
This particular modality is ideal for those experiencing chronic pain and tenseness. Knots, or adhesions, are the most common type of muscle ailment that is treated with deep tissue massage therapy. When muscles are stressed they block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue. A deep tissue massage helps loosen muscle tissues, release toxins from muscles and get blood and oxygen circulating properly. Because many toxins are released during treatment, it’s important to drink plenty of water after a deep tissue session to help eliminate these toxins from the body.
Deep tissue massage is both corrective and therapeutic.
Geriatric Massage Therapy
The benefits of geriatric massage are numerous. Massage does the usual for seniors by encouraging circulation, decreasing muscular stiffness, and helping to decrease inflammation that may rest in the joints. However, it also treats so many of the typical conditions that arise with age – such as muscular stiffness, arthritis, skin discoloration, muscle and bone deterioration, tendonitis, bursitis, and respiratory problems such as asthma and emphysema.
Furthermore, the benefits of enjoying the simple pleasure of human touch and company for just a brief period of time is priceless for many lonely and depressed seniors. Careful massage can help provide the elderly with symptomatic relief and enable seniors to extend the vitality in their lives.
Typical sessions run shorter, around twenty to thirty minutes.
Gua Sha (pronounced “gwa shaw”) is simply body combing. It is an ancient healing technique used throughout Asia. Gua means “to rub or friction.” Sha is the term used to describe congestion of blood at the surface of the body. When friction is applied in repeated even strokes, the sha surfaces as small red petechiae (reddish, elevated skin rash). In minutes the petechiae fade into ecchymotic patches. The sha disappears totally in two to four days. The color and rate of fading are both diagnostic and prognostic indicators.
There are many reasons to seek out this wonderful technique.
Massage Suction Cupping
An ancient Chinese healing practice still in use today. Suction cups produce vacuums on the body’s surface by manually withdrawing the air through a suction gun. If you think of massage in terms of positive pressure (pressing in on body tissues), then massage suction cupping is negative pressure, drawing body tissues out from the body, to stimulate them with a reverse massage. The skin presses up into the cup, and there is usually a reddening of the area under pressure.
Massage cups soften muscles, loosen adhesions, lift connective tissue, bring hydration and blood flow to body tissues, and drain excess fluids and toxins by opening lymphatic pathways comfortably. Cups multitask quickly and effectively, making your session that much more beneficial and healing. Discoloration does occur after treatment and this is normal and a desired result. The marks show intense stagnation of body fluid and toxins in the area. This is not a bruise and will dissipate anywhere from a few hours to a few days. It is very important to up water intake after a session to ease elimination of toxins. Many are regularly experiencing the huge healing effects of cupping from celebrities to Olympic athletes. In fact, massage cupping is so safe it’s used on everyone from children to the elderly.
Conditions that respond to treatment especially include whiplash, fibromyalgia, bursitis, tendonitis, sluggish colon, IBS, stagnant Lymph and edema, poor circulation, sciatica, insomnia and anxiety, poorly Nourished skin and muscle tissue, lung inflammation and congestion, sinus infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis, cellulite and facial lifting.
Massage cupping therapy is not an irritant to the skin or body and actually draws inflammation out, yet does not add to it.
Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial release therapy is a technique that works the fascia, a layer of connective tissue between the skin and muscle layer. This technique is an extremely effective hands-on approach that works by applying gentle, sustained pressure to eliminate pain and restore flexibility and motion to the fascia (connective tissue). Fascia massage improves tissue health and range of motion.
Fascia is a thin tissue that covers all the organs of the body. This tissue covers every muscle and every fiber within each muscle. All muscle stretching is actually stretching of the fascia and the muscle, the myofascial unit. When muscle fibers are injured, the fibers and the fascia which surrounds it become short and tight. This uneven stress can be transmitted through the fascia to other parts of the body, causing pain and a variety of other symptoms in unexpected areas. Myofascial Release treats these symptoms by stretching and releasing the uneven tightness in injured fascia.
Most patients are surprised by the gentle nature of Myofascial Release and find it a very relaxing form of treatment.
To clarify, Myofascial Release is not massage. This modality is used to equalize muscle tension throughout the body. Unequal muscle tension can compress nerves and muscles causing pain. Progress is measured by a decrease in the patient’s pain and by an improvement in overall posture.
Prenatal Massage Therapy
Prenatal massage work is very powerful for both mothers and babies. Studies have found that regular massage therapy on pregnant women calm babies in vitro. This, in turn, has a lasting effect of calmer babies once born. Due to the added weight on mothers from carrying babies, this technique relieves some of the pain the body experiences as well as increases blood flow.
Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Pregnant women have often received ambivalent responses from the health community regarding the safety and purpose of massage during pregnancy. Modern investigation and research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.
Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques, one of which is called Swedish Massage, which aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. Swedish Massage is the recommended prenatal massage method during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.
Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy – during the first, second, or third trimester. After the birth of the baby, mothers can begin receiving massage therapy six weeks after a vaginal birth and eight weeks after a C-section. During this time, mothers at MASSAVEDA who have had a C-section will learn a special technique they can do every day at home to help reduce the appearance of scarring.
Mothers and newborns also appear to benefit from massage. Mothers trained to massage their infants often feel less depressed and have a better emotional bond with their babies. Newborns who receive massage from their mothers also tend to cry less, and are more active, alert, and sociable. Premature babies who receive massage therapy have been shown to gain weight faster than preemies who do not receive this type of therapy. Infants who receive massage regularly may also sleep better, be less gassy or colicky, and have better body awareness as well as more regular digestion.
Reflexology is the study, science and art of using various touch techniques on specific points of the feet, hands, or ears to normalize body function and restore energy throughout the body. It releases restricted energy flow, improves blood supply and promotes neurological stimulation of the affected area. The goal of the work is to break down crystal deposits in the body or electrical part of the nervous system to help restore internal balance.
Feet have 7,000 nerve endings, which is why this method is generally performed on the feet. Feet, hands, and ears contain “reflex points,” or direct connections to specific organs and structures, throughout the body. Along with benefits already mentioned, reflexology soothes the nervous system and supports the body for it to draw on its natural ability to heal itself.
Reflexology is as old as acupuncture and ancient texts indicate that different cultures had their own variations of this art. Doctor William Fitzgerald developed reflexology as we know it today in 1913 and further research was done by Eunice Ingham. She developed the “map” of the body pertaining to reflexology.
Trigger Points & Neuromuscular Therapy
Neuromuscular Therapy is also called Trigger Point Myotherapy. This technique alters the length muscles to teach them how to operate correctly. Muscles are manipulated back into the shape originally intended. Less is more during this treatment session to avoid bruising and soreness. This type of therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm to release the lactic acid from the muscle, resulting in increased blood flow and oxygen. Fascia is also stretched to keep the body loose. If the shell of the body is loose, the muscles are allowed to loosen and relax back into their natural form.
Trigger points are located all over the human body. Pressure is placed directly into a tight or sensitive trigger point area which often causes radiating pain. Releasing the trigger point encourages increased circulation to the area allowing the underlying tissue to soften.
The common cause of trigger points results from various forms of trauma, ranging from a direct injury, excessive stretching, heavy lifting and twisting, or even emotional stress. These sensitive regions will often activate pain in referring areas. Once the trigger point is eliminated, massage can be used to aid in removing the waste products and to restore circulation to the area.
Dr. Janet Travell is the person most often associated with trigger point therapy. She describes trigger points as “…a small, hypersensitive region from which impulses bombard the central nervous system and give rise to referred pain.”