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Types of Massage

There are a variety of different styles, types and techniques of massage utilized by massage therapists. We've provided a description of some of the more popular and well known types of massage being used today.

Craniosacral Therapy
Myofascial Release
Integrated Neuromuscular Therapy
Sports Massage
Swedish Massage
Trigger Point Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy (also called CST, also spelled CranioSacral bodywork or therapy) is a gentle, noninvasive manual therapy intervention used by osteopaths, massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and occupational therapists. A craniosacral therapy session involves the therapist placing their hands on the patient, which allows them to palpate subtle motion in the neurofascial system, known as the craniosacral rhythm. The practitioner gently works with full connective tissue system of the body, known as the fascia, to detect and treat abnormal tension in the connective tissue of the nervous system, cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. In this way, the restrictions of nerve passages are said to be eased, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is said to be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their proper position. Craniosacral therapists use the therapy to treat mental stress, joint, neck and back pain, migraines, TMJ Syndrome, and for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia. Current evidence-based research shows promise for conditions such as sleep disorders, muscle pain such as tennis elbow, headaches, and other medical conditions.

Integrated Neuromuscular Therapy and Medical Massage

Medical massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Therapeuric massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes, and patients who have sustained physical injury. It is also not uncommon for receivers of medical and neuromuscular massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two. Neuromuscular therapy varies greatly. What one calls deep tissue another will call light. When receiving this specific work it is important to communicate what you are feeling.[2]

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release (MFR or fascial stretch) is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat aabnormal muscle and soft tissue tension, called somatic dysfunction and accompanying pain and restriction of motion. The fascia is the soft tissue webbing or network of connective tissue in the body that surrounds and protects all structures in the body. Fascia covers the muscles, bones, nerves, brain, organs, and circulatory vessels, and creates a space for cellular communication. When fascia becomes restricted by injury or disease, the tension of the scar tissue or adhesions can place pressure on sensitive structures, causing impaired mobility, pain, dysfunction. Myofascial practitioners are trained to assess a client's posture and range of motion, and to test muscle mobility to identify areas of tension, scar tissue, and painful tight areas known as trigger points. Myofascial techniques are used to stretch the tight tissue to restore mobility, reduce pain, improve circulation and improve functional performance. Techniques may involve very gentle work or deeper stretches to achieve positive outcomes for clients with limited mobility, muscle tension and stress, scar tissue, and a variety of medical conditions. For more information about updated research on fascia and hands-on fascial or myofascial release, visit www.fasciacongress.org.

Amma Therapy

Shiatsu (指圧) ("shi" meaning finger and "atsu" meaning pressure.) and Amma Therapy is an eastern (oriental) born therapy that uses pressure applied with thumbs, fingers and palms to the same energy meridians as acupressure and incorporates stretching. It also uses techniques such as rolling, brushing, vibrating, grasping and in one particular technique developed by Suzuki Yamamoto, pressure is applied with the feet on the persons back, legs and feet (special set up is required for the "foot" shiatsu).[2]

Sports Massage

Sports massage is actually a form of Swedish massage that is delivered to athletes. Most commonly, sports massage focuses on increasing blood and lymphatic fluid flow, reducing and eliminating pain as well as tender trigger points, and increasing range of motion of the affected area. Sports massages can be broken into 4 distinct types - the pre-event sports massage, the post-event sports massage, the restorative sports massage and the rehabilitative sports massage. As the names indicate, each type of sports massage has a different focus for the athlete as they are delivered at different times during their training and performance schedule.[1]

Swedish / European Massage

Swedish massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber) and vibration/shaking. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of eight weeks. It has also been shown to be helpful in individuals with poor circulation. The development of Swedish massage is credited to Per Henrik Ling, though the Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger adopted the French names to denote the basic strokes. The term "Swedish" massage is not really known in the country of Sweden, where it is called "classic massage".[2]

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger points or trigger sites are described as hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers. Trigger point practitioners believe that palpable nodules are small contraction knots[ambiguous] and a common cause of pain. Compression of a trigger point may elicit local tenderness, referred pain, or local twitch response. The local twitch response is not the same as a muscle spasm. This is because a muscle spasm refers to the entire muscle entirely contracting whereas the local twitch response also refers to the entire muscle but only involves a small twitch, no contraction. The trigger point model states that unexplained pain frequently radiates from these points of local tenderness to broader areas, sometimes distant from the trigger point itself. Practitioners claim to have identified reliable referred pain patterns, allowing practitioners to associate pain in one location with trigger points elsewhere.[2]

Positional release/ Strain-counterstrain therapy

In this technique, practitioners identify areas of pain and tension with trigger points and tight ropy bands of muscle, and use gentle positioning of the joints and muscles to release abnormal tension, relieve the painful trigger points and release the spasm, improving flexibility and function. It is an ideal addition to a Swedish massage. Clients may learn how to use the positioning to do self-release of tension, using pillows and bolsters or foam rollers as part of a home therapy program. Evidence-based research indicates positive results with this technique to decrease pain, improve strength, and improve function.

[1] Content Copyright ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC dba MassagePlanet.com
[2] Content Obtained from Wikipedia.com.