Once simply thought of as alternative medicine, therapeutic massage has become an increasingly popular way to maintain good health and wellbeing. There are many types of massage and each uses touch as a healing method to relieve tension, pain, and stress. Massage techniques can provide effective treatment for muscle tension and spasms, anxiety, headaches, and fatigue. They can also help manage chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Let us look at some of the most popular types of massage therapies and the ways they can help heal the body and mind. It is important that you talk with your therapist to discuss what forms of massage they offer and which ones may be most beneficial to you in terms of what you are looking to achieve.
Different Types of Massage
Myofascial tissues are the strong, fibrous connective tissue found throughout your body which supports and protects your muscles and bones. In some individuals, these tissues can become tight and sensitive, leading to a chronic condition that is known as myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial release involves searching for and massaging the areas found to be tight. It is important to release the tension in these areas because they can restrict muscle and joint movements and create localized muscle pain.
Any area of the body containing soft tissue can lose flexibility, especially after an injury. Myofacial release massage aims to restore the range of motion in these tight areas. This should be administered by a trained professional such as a sports medicine specialist, chiropractor, or massage therapist, as they understand the appropriate amount of sustained pressure that is required to release the tension within the myofascial tissues. Treatment sessions involving this type of massage do not use machines or creams.
Deep Tissue Acupressure
Deep tissue acupressure is a massage technique involving the use of knuckles, elbows, and sometimes tools to release knots deep in muscle tissue. Deep tissue acupressure breaks down painful adhesions, or rigid tissue, in muscles and ligaments which can limit movement and create pain and inflammation.
Deep tissue acupressure massage involves strong pressure being applied and is therefore not exactly relaxing. This can leave you feeling a bit sore afterwards. Athletes and those undergoing physical therapy tend to seek this type of massage in order to breakdown scar tissue. It is also used to treat chronically tense areas such as stiff necks and tightness in the lower back along with muscle pain caused from whiplash, rotator cuff injuries, plantar fasciitis, and tennis elbow.
Polarity – Marma Point Therapy
Polarity therapy or marma therapy are alternative therapies that attempt to balance the flow of energy within the body in order to improve or maintain health. Marma point therapy focuses on the 107 points within the body that are thought to be access points to the body, mind, and consciousness. Both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine believe that energy can get locked within these points and marma therapy looks to free this energy. To achieve this, a therapeutic massage utilizes warm medicated oil in combination with specific strokes to eliminate aches and pains and revitalize tissues and energy flow within the body.
Being aware of the marma points allows one to give themself a self-massage to stimulate the body’s biochemistry in order to produce exactly what your body requires. It is said that this type of massage eliminates toxins, regenerates tissue, encourages good sleep, and helps to release blocked energy which can prevent disease. This type of massage is often used in combination with yoga and hydrotherapy to help with migraines, anxiety, and depression.
This non-invasive type of massage focuses on the head, neck, and back by applying gentle pressure to relieve compression which can cause pain and tightness. The goal is to relieve both emotional and physical stress that is thought to be caused by the disruption of cerebrospinal fluid in the central nervous system.
Cranial-sacral massage can help ease back and neck pain along with proving extremely beneficial for those suffering from migraines. A lot of stress and tension can be stored within our scalps and a scalp massage can do wonders when it comes to releasing that tension. Cranial-sacral massage aligns the structural integrity of the body, allowing your innate vital force energy to restore impeded circulation and correct any nerve impingement. This process is said to allow your cells to be able to heal themselves.
Which type of massage sounds most appealing to you?
I was introduced to stress management and mindfulness yoga about 5 years ago when I moved to the desert. I was looking for a yoga class and found Kabir and his mindfulness yoga. I have been with him ever since.
After several decades in the tech industry, I decided that I was ready for a change. I looked into several new fields, but kept coming back to massage because of my many years of great experiences in receiving massages. Initially I was concerned about going back into the classroom, but found the courses to be engaging and fascinating. I chose a school that included numerous energy classes in its curriculum and a very diverse student body. That experience was one of the best times of my life.
My practice has developed over the years by combining numerous physical and energy techniques in my massages. By talking with the client, I am able to begin to determine what is going on with the client, what they need, and what they are expecting from the session. If the objective is to help the client unwind, a combination of Swedish, Myofascial Release and Marma Points may be used to gently coax the fascia tissue to release and allow the associated muscles to breathe and ease. If the client is looking for a boost, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Polarity and Acupressure may be integrated into a stimulating routine to help reunite the muscles and generate more endorphins to the treated areas.
Myofascial Release is one of my favorite modalities because it is gentle, relaxing, and very effective in beginning to get muscles to release. So many clients have returned because they have discovered that there doesn’t need to be pain for there to be relief.
The most important aspects about my practice are to create a safe environment for each client so that they are comfortable talking with me and know that I am working with them to help them toward their goals.