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Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Benefits of massage therapy depend on the type of technique used for the condition being treated. Many people have gotten a massage before most of them in a spa setting have experienced a swedish massage with addons such as aromatherapy massage, hot stone, or reflexology massage.  Many times a swedish massage is given with some of the deeper aspects of a massage included. In a clinical setting such as a Professional Massage Clinic or a Chiropractic Office you may experience Myofacial Release, Deep Tissue Massage, Rolfing, Sports Massage, Thai Massage, Prenatal Massage, Chinese Cupping or Trigger Point Massage.  When deciding what you need it is important to understand different techniques and what a new therapist you may visit specializes in.  In my experience most therapists will combine multiple techniques to their session to best treat why someone is coming to them for.  In other cases such as Rolfing for example this is a method of massage which has a progression of sessions you go thru to make a full body correction.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage is by far the most common method which is universally taught to all massage therapists.  Almost every massage some Swedish techniques will be used to ease you into the work the therapist is planning to do.  Swedish is a gentle method of full body massage including kneading of the muscles, long flowing pressure to muscles, deep circular motions, and passive joint motions while applying pressure to muscles.  The goal of a Swedish Massage is relaxation of the body and mind, improve blood flow, and push toxins from the muscles into the lymphatic system.

Myofacial Release

Myofacial Release is a technique that is therapeutic with the goal of elongating the fascia surrounding the muscles and release trigger points within the muscle.  Fascia is the connective tissue covering that envelops the muscles of the body separating it from other muscle groups.  Poor posture and tightening of muscles cause fascia to shorten also, leading to impeded blood flow in the muscles and possibly entrapping nerves.  During a myofacial treatment the therapist will use moderate to heavy pressure working very slowly in the direction of the muscle.  Some techniques will also apply the same pressure while moving the involved joints.

Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphatic drainage is a technique which works with the system in our body responsible for returning cellular waste back into the circulatory system. Our cells are bathed in a fluid called extracellular fluid.  This fluid is produced when our capillaries deliver nutrients to the cells from the blood.  This fluid is also composed of the waste products our cells produce during metabolism.  This waste is returned the to circulatory system into the veins via the lymphatic system.  The lymph ducts join in certain areas of the body such as the groin, armpit and neck into the lymph nodes.  Our immune system has a strong presence in the nodes because they are waiting to attack pathogens in the extracellular fluid.  The lymph passes through the nodes and then returns to the venous circulation in the neck at the right and left thoracic ducts.  Lymphatic massage is a technique that helps facilitate the return of these fluids back into the venous circulation so they can be delivedered to the liver and kidneys for elimination.  Excessive build up of toxins can lead to many symptoms but most commonly this technique is used to treat excessive swelling and muscle pain.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage in my view is a generic term that describes multiple techniques including Myofacial Release.  During a deep tissue session the therapist will be applying strong force into the muscle focusing on breaking up myofacial adhesions and trigger points.  The main difference in my opinion between the two is during a deep tissue massage the speed of the strokes may very from slow to fast during a cycle on a muscle.

Rolfing

Rolfing is a system technique invented by Ida Rolf.  Rolfing is a system based off the same philosophy as Myofacial Release with one large difference.  When getting a Rolfing session it is at least a 10 visit health plan.  Rolfing is an entire body treatment that is focused on fixing the entire structure of the body.  An example would be tension of myofacia in the legs can be causing tension into the neck.  It takes into account the wholeness of our musculoskeletal system.  Myofacial Release has techniques for every part of the body but during a session focus would be only on the area and related structures not the whole body.

Sports Massage

Sports massage would best be described as targeting muscles around a dysfunctional joint.  Usually injuries related to sports are the area Sports Massage Therapists.  Many of the techniques used would be similar to a deep tissue massage with extra focus on the tendons which are the site muscles attach to bones.  Sports Therapists will use techniques such as cross friction massage which is when massage is not done in the direction parallel with of the muscle/tendon fibers but instead they will go perpendicular to the fibers.  The idea is breaking up adhesions between the muscle fibers or the fibers of a tendon.  This is very useful in chronic sports injuries.  A Sports Massage would also involving stretching of tight muscles.

Trigger Point Massage

Trigger Point Massage is a focused technique that applies constant deep pressure to areas in the muscle that have trigger points.  Trigger points are the lumps in your muscles you feel during a massage.  The place that hurts with pressure during a massage but at the same time is a good hurt.  These are areas in the muscle where the muscle is being overworked and not efficiently eliminating toxins related to sugar metabolism.  These toxins are an irritant to the muscle and actually cause the nearby muscle fibers to contract.  This reactive muscle contraction starts a vicious cycle creating more toxins and more irritation.  Trigger Point Massage uses pressure directly over the trigger point sustained.  The treatment consists of this sustained pressing on a trigger point followed by flowing techniques such as a Swedish of Deep Tissue Massage.  The goal is to move the toxins out of the specific points in the muscles and break up the vicious cycle.

Prenatal Massage

As the name says this is a technique we use during pregnancy.  The massage has no direct affect on the baby or the birthing process. The massage is used to help the expectant mother relax and treat muscle discomforts during pregnancy.  The techniques used during are all about positioning, so most of the massage the patient is laying on their side or pillows/bolsters are used to move into face down position if tolerated.  The techniques used can be any the above during the massage but Swedish and Deep Tissue are the usual methods used.

Thai Massage

Thai Massage is different than all the above techniques because it is not your classic remove your clothes get under the sheets on a massage table and a therapist uses lotions massaging a muscle by hand.  During a Thai massage you wear loss fitted clothing and lay on a mat.  Developed in India it is sometimes referred to as assisted yoga massage.  During a session the therapist will be on the floor with you pulling, stretching, and rocking your body in different positions.  The ultimate goal is improving energy flow in the body but most noticeably you will feel looser, relaxed, and energized after a session.

Chinese Cupping

This is a method used in traditional Chinese medicine alongside acupuncture.  In Chinese medicine it is believed that your body has energy flowing through channels called meridians.  Many factors can adversely affect this flow but when it is not flowing properly the energy will build up or stagnate in a part of the body.  This stagnation can lead to many things but pain is commonly a symptom.  One of the methods used to treat this is cupping.  Cupping uses glass, plastic, or silicone cups to create suction on the skin to free this energy stagnation.  Massage Therapists have seen the benefit of using these cups as a way to pull toxins from the muscles and increase blood flow.  The cups can be briefly used during a regular massage.  The cups can be applied over a trigger point for 5-10 minutes or with the silicone cups they be moved over the body to treat broader areas.  The negative pressure created by the cup pulls fluids including blood to the skin and can cause bruising during a session.  The bruising is normal and resolves in a couple of days and does not always happen. It is believed that if a lot of toxins are pulled from the muscles bruising will be increased and is a good sign.

Aiello Family Chiropractic

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(615) 864-8037

7127 Crossroads Blvd Suite 102 Brentwood, TN 37027


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