Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a practice that dates back thousands of years. The term massage therapy covers a group of practices and techniques. In all of them, therapists press, rub, and otherwise manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body, often varying pressure and movement. Typically, the intent is to relax the soft tissues, increase delivery of blood and oxygen to the massaged areas, warm them, and decrease pain. In the United States, massage therapy is sometimes part of conventional medicine. In other instances, it is part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching:

  • Massage helps relieve the stress, anxiety, and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.
  • It is proven to be beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more.
  • Massage promotes relief from pain due to musculoskeletal injuries.
  • It stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin which strengthens the immune system,  prevents fibrosis or scar tissue, increases the flow of lymph, and improves sleep.
  • Massage promotes relaxation.
  • It improves the flow of blood to muscles and organs stimulating general good health.

Choosing a Type of Massage

There are over 80 types of massage. Though some consumers may know the specific massage modality or technique they want, it is generally best to ask me about which massage modality will give you the results you want.  I typically use a variety of massage modalities in a massage session to best achieve the results you desire.

The therapies that most people are familiar with are:

Acupressure

Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body’s life force to aid healing.

Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses the gentle but firm pressure of hands. Acupressure, the older of the two traditions, continues to be one of the most effective methods of treating tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the human hand.

The healing touch of acupressure reduces tension, increases circulation, and enables the body to relax deeply. By relieving stress, acupressure strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness.

In acupressure, local symptoms are considered an expression of the condition of the body as a whole. A tension headache, for instance, may be rooted in the shoulder and neck area. Thus, acupressure focuses on relieving pain and discomfort as well as responding to tension before it develops into a “dis-ease” — that is, before the constrictions and imbalances can do further damage.

Craniosacral

Craniosacral is an alternative medicine therapy used by osteopaths, massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and occupational therapists. When using Craniosacral I gently work with the spine and the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia to ease the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord. This will help to realign bones to their proper position. Craniosacral therapy treats mental stress, neck and back pain, migraines, TMJ Syndrome, and for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. When giving a deep tissue massage I use patterns of strokes and deep finger pressure on parts of the body where muscles are tight or knotted, focusing on layers of muscle deep under the skin.

Deep tissue massage benefits people who are:

  • Experiencing consistent pain
  • Involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes
  • Recovering from a physical injury
  • Suffering from stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.

Neuromuscular

Neuromuscular Therapy uses static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. When using this modality, I manipulate the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses to the body which are responsible for every movement, function and thought. Injury, trauma, postural distortion or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body vulnerable to pain and dysfunction. It is, therefore, necessary to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health.

I use neuromuscular therapy to address five elements that cause pain:

  1. Ischemia: Lack of blood supply to soft tissues which causes hypersensitivity to touch
  2. Trigger Points: Highly irritated points in muscles which refer pain to other parts of the body
  3. Nerve Compression or Entrapment: Pressure on a nerve by soft tissue, cartilage or bone
  4. Postural Distortion: Imbalance of the muscular system resulting from the movement of the body off the longitudinal and horizontal planes
  5. Biomechanical Dysfunction: Imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting in faulty movement patterns (i.e., poor lifting habits, bad mechanics in a golf swing of tennis stroke, computer keyboarding)

Reflexology

Reflexology is sometimes called “zone therapy”. It is a natural healing art based on the principle that your body is a system of zones and reflex areas. These zones and reflex areas reflect an image of your body on your feet and hands which correspond to every part, gland, and organ of your body. I apply pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, cream, or lotion to relieve tension, improve circulation, and help promote the natural function of the related areas of the body. This balances the energy in the related area and leads to healing. The feet are the primary area of application.

Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is based on the fact that there is an unseen “life force energy” flowing through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”

A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating relaxation and a feeling of peace.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is a lighter massage than deep tissue. The five basic strokes are:

TMJ

Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders (TMJDs), commonly called TMJ, are a collection of poorly understood conditions characterized by pain in the jaw and surrounding tissues and limitations in jaw movements. TMJ pain is often described as a dull ache in the jaw joint and nearby areas, including the ear, which comes and goes. Some people, however, report no pain, but still have problems using their jaws.

Symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Migraine and/or chronic headache
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw
  • Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together or a bite that feels “off’
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Ear pain
  • Decreased hearing

To treat TMJ, I manipulate the muscles around the jaw and roof of the mouth. This relaxes the muscles to allow the jaw to return to its natural state of alignment. Of course, I wear a glove for your comfort and protection.