Massage is science and art- a puzzle piece in healing the body on the path to wellness. It is one of the most instinctive and natural ways of relieving pain and discomfort.

Bodywork and massage integrate various types of massage including relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, sports massage, acupressure and myofascial release.

One or all techniques can be used during a treatment to reduce and eliminate imbalances that are roadblocks to optimal health.

When practitioners are grounded in a solid understanding of these modalities and human anatomy, there are infinite possibilities to design truly effective, unique and customized experiences with every massage.

Deep Tissue Massage & Myofascial Release

Deep Tissue Massage is a method of bodywork that is designed to systematically release chronic tension patterns in connective tissue.

This is accomplished through the application of a deep, slow, and sensitive touch. The tools of Deep Tissue Massage are listed in the order of potential power that can be transferred into the tissue.

  1. Fingers
  2. Knuckles
  3. Fist
  4. Forearm
  5. Elbow

Deep Tissue Massage primarily affects a specific type of connective tissue that is called fascia.

Fascia is like a plastic-like tissue that surrounds all of the muscles and all of the individual muscle fibres. The fascia that wraps all of the muscles is called myofascia. Myofascia is the layer where most of the work is focused on.

Fascia also wraps around the organs, bones, nerves and blood vessels. Releasing fascial restrictions in an area of the body is not a localized event. The whole network will be affected. For example, work on the feet can change the alignment of the lumbar spine without actually touching the area of the lower back.

In its natural condition, fascia is an elastic, moist tissue. However, under stress fascia becomes rigid, short, and dehydrated. It loses its flexibility and layers of fascia become glued together.

The main stress factors for fascia are:

  1. Chronic muscular tension
  2. Physical trauma
  3. Lack of movement

When fascia becomes rigid the resulting strain patterns pull bones and joints out of their natural resting place. The posture loses its effortless alignment.

Fascia is plastic, capable of radical change. Tension in the fascial system can be released through a certain kind of touch. That is the quality of touch used in Deep Tissue Massage. We apply slow, deep, precise and sensitive pressure that is guided by a specific intention. The systematic release allows the body to return to a state of balanced alignment, comfortable support, and ease of movement.

Swedish/Relaxation Massage

Swedish Massage is a manipulation of body tissues( as by rubbing, kneading or tapping) with the hand or instrument for therapeutic purposes.

Today modern science and technologies are able to document the physiological effects and benefits of massage. Some benefits include, but are certainly not limited to:

  1. Stretch tight muscles
  2. decrease pain
  3. Increase circulation of blood and lymph
  4. Removal of waste products
  5. Improve mobility and flexibility
  6. Increase postural awareness
  7. Bring about a state of relaxation
  8. Increase overall sense of well-being

Sports Massage

Sports massage is an area of massage that is growing and changing. The demand for sports massage stretches from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior. 

Sports massage has many positive physical effects such as:

  1. Increased tissue permeability- encourages the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.
  2. Stretching- massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways.
  3. Break down scar tissue- scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can affect muscle, tendons, and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
  4. Improves tissue elasticity- hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.
  5. Open microcirculation- massage does increase blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.

Sports massage also has positive physiological and psychological effects such as a reduction of pain and anxiety and increased sense of relaxation and wellbeing.

Reflexology

Reflexology is an alternative practice involving the application of pressure to specific points on the hand and feet. The theory behind reflexology is that areas of the foot correspond to organs and systems of the body. Pressure applied to the foot is believed to bring relaxation and healing to the corresponding area of the body.

Like other therapies, reflexology is complementary to medical treatments and has many health benefits including but not limited to:

  • reduction in physical and emotional pain
  • reduction in anxiety
  • improved circulation
  • improved nerve function
  • reduction of headaches
  • improved bowel function
  • increased metabolism and energy levels
  • ease of PMS symptoms
  • ease of pregnancy discomfort

In Summary

Designing the massage involves making many decisions. Sometimes what is included during the allotted time is just as important as what is left out. It is preferable to place emphasis on the quality versus the quantity.

Also, designing the massage is a highly creative, fluid and intuitive aspect of giving massage.

Therapists must practice holding the clients’ request in the forefront of their mind, while simultaneously being focused in the moment. This will allow the therapist to truly sense and respond to the clients’ tissue as massage is given. The treatment becomes a successful experience when the practitioner applies the techniques with sensitivity and allows the work to flow in response to the client’s body.