Types of Massage Therapy

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage therapy is the most basic form of massage therapy that comes to mind when most people think about massage. As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. But Swedish massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension. With the improved circulation from a Swedish massage, your brain will release more Serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that gives you a euphoric feeling. Don’t worry, snoring during the massage is a compliment of your enjoyment of the treatment.

Additional Swedish massage techniques include circular pressure applied by the fingers, hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your professional massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. Also the therapist is likely to incorporate techniques that involves using their knuckles, forearms, and elbows. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints).

This type of massage is aimed toward decreasing tension within the deeper muscle tissues to rid the body of tight muscle bands that limit your range of motion. It is most beneficial for relief of muscle pain because during a Deep Tissue Massage your brain will release a neurotransmitter called Dopamine which is your body’s own natural feel good hormone.

A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people’s blood pressure fell after a single 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. Additionally, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage modalities like deep tissue reduce stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.

Please talk with your professional massage therapist to see if a deep tissue massage therapy would be beneficial for you.

Sports Massage

Although this type of massage is most beneficial for athletes, it is beneficial for anyone who has an active lifestyle including “weekend warriors” who just exercise for health or play sports for fun. Sports massage is the specific application of massage techniques, hydrotherapy protocols, range of motion/flexibility protocol and strength-training principles utilized to achieve a specific goal when treating an athlete. Notice my use of the phrase, “specific application … to achieve a specific goal.” Make sure to communicate what your goals are. Sports Massage can be performed before, during, or after an event such as cycling, running, or swimming. Regular Sports Massages reduce the occurrence of injuries and allow more frequent endurance training. It can also reduce your recovery time by as much as 50% when received within 24 hours after a strenuous exercise. Some variations of this type of massage require you to wear athletic wear such as biking shorts for certain manipulations.

Prenatal Massage

Massage relieves many of the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches and edema (or swelling). During pregnancy the extra weight or stress from daily tasks causes the areas such as the neck, shoulder, and hips to ache. During the early stages of pregnancy, before the abdomen begins to protrude, the expectant mother can enjoy a typical Swedish or Deep-Tissue massage. After the abdomen begins to expand I use a wedge to keep you in a reclined to eliminate any possibility of your pregnant uterus inhibiting return of blood to the heart. Also I use Preg-Pillow on the massage table that has indentations for the breasts and abdomen which allows the mother to lay face-down comfortably. Even during the third trimester, mothers enjoy the relaxing experience and usually don’t want to get up after the session is complete. Or you can choose to lay on your side with pillows if you prefer that when your back is being worked on.

Cupping Massage

Cupping massage is an ancient therapeutic practice rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, which has gained popularity in recent years for its profound benefits on musculoskeletal health and holistic wellness. Unlike conventional massage techniques, cupping involves the placement of suction cups on the skin, creating a vacuum effect that promotes healing and relaxation.

During a cupping session, therapists apply silicone or glass cups to specific areas of tension or discomfort, allowing them to adhere to the skin and gently lift the underlying tissues. This suction encourages the release of fascial restrictions, stimulates circulation, and facilitates the flow of vital energy throughout the body.

While cupping may leave temporary marks resembling bruises, these discolorations are harmless and typically fade within a few days. Beyond its physical benefits, cupping massage is believed to have profound effects on mental and emotional well-being, inducing deep relaxation and relieving stress.

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on approach to healing that focuses on the craniosacral system, which includes the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Rooted in osteopathic medicine, craniosacral therapy aims to enhance the body’s self-healing mechanisms by restoring balance to the central nervous system.

During a craniosacral session, therapists use subtle manipulations to release restrictions and encourage the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, promoting relaxation and alleviating pain and dysfunction. This holistic approach to healing addresses a wide range of conditions, from headaches and migraines to chronic pain and emotional stress.

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