Let’s Talk About Massage – Part 1

Let’s Talk About Massage – Part 1

Types and Styles

 

Hey guys, it’s Mike here from Muscles Kneaded Massage Therapy.  I wanted to talk some about the different types and styles of massage, and their associated benefits, so I decided to put together this little 2-part series (can two parts be considered a series??).  Before we jump into all that, let’s learn a new word.

MASSOTHERAPY  [mas-oh-theruh-pee]

Massage Benefits
Massage Therapy

At its most basic, it means medical or therapeutic treatment by massage.  Note my emphasis on medical or therapeutic there?  This in no way implies that the massage you get when you do “Spa Day” isn’t a real massage, or that I’m a Spa hater, or that I’m not a fan of candles, essential oils and all things zen.  I love all of those things.  What I’m really trying to point out here is that there is so much more to it than that.

Massage therapy, one of the oldest forms of effective medical care, is thought of as a holistic therapy as it helps to relax tired muscles and lower blood pressure – among other things, but we’ll talk more about that in Part 2.

While there are many different types of massage therapies available, we’ll take a minute to highlight a few of the most popular here, along with their specific style and/or purpose, such as the manipulation of muscle tissue to relieve pain and/or tension, or the holding of positions to increase flexibility.  Without further ado, the most popular types of massage are:  deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, sports massage and trigger point therapy.  I’m also going to round this list out with prenatal massage, as it is truly gaining momentum in popularity!

Let’s break these bad boys down.

 

Deep Tissue Massage – This is an intense form of massage that is used to release the connective tissue restrictions in the body, and can also help relieve chronic tension.  Improvements in posture and range of motion have also been noted.  Your massage therapist should focus on releasing tension from the deeper muscular structures.  If you therapist comes across an adhesion (chronic knot), they may recommend lifestyle changes, that can improve your posture, balance and overall relaxation levels.

 

Swedish Massage – originally introduced in Stockholm, Sweden by physiologist Henri Peter Ling, a swedish massage can be characterized by lighter, calming touch than say, a deep tissue massage, while still soothing muscle tension and improving blood circulation.  Essential oils may be used to appeal to the clients olfactory senses.

 

Sports Massage – whether you are a professional athlete, Olympian or the average weekend warrior….sports massage is designed to cut down on sports related injuries, it can be used post-event to alleviate inflammation and muscle tension and pre-event to loosen muscles and warm them up prior to amateur or professional level events.  It can also be used as a method to promote muscle repair, by releasing lactic acid and tension, allowing for better oxygen and blood flow.

 

Trigger Point Therapy – to better understand trigger point therapy, we need to understand what a trigger point is.  Trigger points are discrete and painful areas in the muscles that can radiate pain to surrounding areas.  They are generally caused by the body under-going some sort of physiological dysfunction (think poor posture, mechanical repetition or acute trama).  With that in mind, trigger point therapy is a massage therapy technique designed to locate and manipulate trigger points in an attempt to ‘deactivate’ that pain source.  Once a trigger point is located the therapist will apply pressure until pain dissipates.

 

Prenatal Massage – Prenatal massage can be used to relieve many of the normal discomforts that arise during pregnancy such as backaches, leg cramps or edema (swelling).  While it is agreed that women who are pregnant can incorporate massage therapy as part of their prenatal care routine in the first, second or third trimesters, it is not widely recommended during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, as this is the timeframe when women are at increased risk for miscarriage.  Also, please be wary of massage tables that have a hole for the abdomen.  This can cause the abdomen to dangle causing an uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments and can also cause undue pressure on the abdomen itself.  Many professionals believe the best position for prenatal massage is side-laying, utilizing cushions and wedges for both support and comfort.  If you are pregnant and thinking about massage, consult first with your physician to ensure that this therapy will not pose a risk to you or your baby, and always seek treatment from a therapist that has been specifically trained in prenatal massage.  They have completed the course-work that goes above and beyond the national standards for regular massage therapy.

 

For myself, as a therapist, my style is more that of deep tissue massage, customized to meet my clients needs.  I feel this is most beneficial for the client.  I hope you have found this post informative and helpful in deciding the type of massage that will most benefit you.  Here at Muscles Kneaded, we want you to be educated and confident in the services that we provide.  Our next post will talk more about the specific benefits of massage therapy, so stay tuned.

 

Until next time I wish you health, happiness, love and massage – and remember….Everybody Needs To Be Kneaded!

 

~~~ Mike ~~~

 

 

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