What Is Massage?

Massage is defined by Mirriam Webster as: : manipulation of tissues (as by rubbing, kneading, or tapping) with the hand or an instrument for therapeutic purposes.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/massage

In the West, basic training for massage therapists is in Swedish massage, which combines a variety of techniques such as effleurage (gliding strokes), petrissage (kneading), friction, and tapotement (light percussion). Other massage modalities, typically learned through continuing education instructors, may encompass some, most, or all of the basic techniques, or draw on other skill sets.

Below are a few of the more common styles of massage therapy and how they work with the body:

Ashiatsu

Ashiatsu is a bodywork form that applies therapeutic pressure (through clothing) to promote health and well being. Although “Ashiatsu” literally means foot (ashi) pressure (atsu) in Japanese, ashiatsu techniques also make use of knees, elbows, palms, and fingers where necessary and appropriate.

Chair Massage

Performed with the client fully clothed in a chair designed for the purpose. Massage sessions are short (10-20 minutes) and typically target the head, neck, shoulders and back.

Craniosacral therapy

Developed by Dr. John Upledger. It is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases restrictions in soft tissue and tension deep in the body to relieve pain and improve health.

Cupping

Using glass cups to create a vacuum in order to increase warmth and circulation. Cupping can be very effective for relieving pain in Fibromyalgia sufferers.

Deep Tissue Massage

A category of massage therapy set apart from other modalities and used to treat specific skeletal and muscular disorders and complaints. It may employ both a dedicated set of techniques that are intended to achieve a measure of relief and/or a slow, deep penetration of the deeper layers using standard massage strokes.

Lomi-Lomi

The traditional massage of Hawaii, it combines massage with sacred Shamanic principles and energy awareness.

Lymph Drainage Therapy

A gentle, hands-on approach to assist proper flow of lymphatic fluid and reduce localized swelling.

Rolfing

Structural integration technique discovered by Dr. Ida Rolf, which reorganizes connective tissues in the body.

Sports massage

Massage combined with assisted stretching geared toward the athlete’s sport (or sports) of choice, focuses on the muscle groups that are most associated and stressed after working out. Each session is targeted to meet the unique needs of the client based upon his or her physical activity. The client often remains clothed.

Thai massage

A system of massage and assisted stretching developed in Thailand, and influenced by the traditional medicine systems of India, China, and Southeast Asia.
It is often performed on the floor with the client dressed in comfortable clothes that allow for movement.

Trigger Point Therapy

Discovered and mapped by Dr. Janet Travell, TPT involves deactivating trigger points in muscles that refer pain to other areas of the body.

Tuina

A hands-on body treatment that uses Chinese Taoist and martial arts principles in an effort to bring the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine into balance. The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press, and rub the areas between each of the joints, known as the eight gates, to attempt to open the body’s defensive (wei) chi and get the energy moving in the meridians and the muscles.

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