How do I know what type of massage I want? How long of an appointment should I ask for?
No two massage therapists do the same type of massage. Sharon tries to incorporate all the different types of techniques she has been trained for into the best massage match your specific goals. She is certified in following massage techniques and will incorporate certain styles of each into your current massage:
Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to energy work that is more common in Asian-style massage. Both Swedish massage and physical therapy were pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) at the University of Stockholm. In the early 19th century he developed a system called “Medical Gymnastics” which included movements performed by a therapist. The therapist generally starts by working on your back, using various massage strokes that include effleurage, kneading, friction and stretching. These became the known as “Swedish movements” in Europe and “the Swedish Movement Cure” when they came to the U.S. in 1858. Today it is simply known as Swedish massage.
Swedish massage is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports massage, deep tissue massage and aromatherapy massage.
A therapist will locate the muscle spasm in the back (or other body area) and then concentrate the hands-on treatment to this area by applying continuous pressure for about 30-seconds with their fingers, knuckles and elbows. The same pressure must be maintained by the massage therapist for the entire 30-seconds in order to encourage proper blood flow in the area.
Typically, painful muscle spasms occur when our muscles lack adequate blood flow. When this occurs, lactic acid accumulates in the muscle. Anyone who has worked out will be familiar with the formation of lactic acid in muscles – it accumulates in, and causes soreness in muscle tissue following a strenuous workout. Neuromuscular therapy is applied on this same principal. It disperses the lactic acid, so the deficient muscle can begin to accept a clean supply of oxygen and blood flow.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a sports massage is that it consists of specific components designed to cut down on sports-related injuries. It specifically alleviates muscle tension and inflammation post-event, and provides a warm-up to loosen muscles for amateur and professional athletes pre-event. Although this technique is not normally used outside of an athletic event purpose, certain aspects of the modality may be incorporated into a massage session.
Myofacial Release Massage:
Myofascial Release is a gentle therapy, consisting of a mixture of light stretching and massage work. During a session, the therapist will apply hands-on massage strokes in order to release tension from the fibrous bands of the muscles, bones, nerves and joints, by unblocking any scar tissue or adhesions due to injury in the muscles and surrounding tissues.
The therapist will often use light to moderate traction and twisting strokes to apply the appropriate tension on the soft tissue, and to achieve a full reflex range of the muscle. This slow and subtle technique can be used to unblock fascia and muscle throughout the body restoring total physical harmony.
Myofascial release is a safe therapy that can be used as a preventative method or to promote the healing of an injured, stiff or painful muscle. However, this therapy has also been effective in treating patients with sloppy posture, chronic fatigue, severe tension and anxiety, as well as repetitive stress injuries of the muscular-skeletal system.
Dr. Fitzgerald was a medical professional, working as an ear, nose and throat specialist and surgeon. However, when working with patients’ feet, the doctor noted that when he applied pressure to specific parts, it sometimes affected another portion of the body in a positive way. Working from this newfound theory, Dr. Fitzgerald created his first reflexology chart. He divided the body into ten vertical zones. The zones traced reflexes on the hands and feet, and noted that when pressure was applied to these “zones” other areas and organs of the body responded.
Today, a reflexology therapist will still apply acupressure and massage to the ears, hands and feet within these same zones. The client is said to benefit from improved circulation, detoxification, reduced tension and the body’s ability to heal itself. The Association of Reflexologists claims that this treatment method can be effective for back pain, migraines, infertility, arthritis and many other problems.
During a reflexology appointment, the therapist will ask you questions to determine your present condition. She or he will then apply pressure to the hands and feet – according to a reflexology foot map. Different spots will, theoretically, have an effect on different internal organs. So, you press on spot X on the sole of the foot, and healing takes place in, say, internal organ Y.
Chair massage, which is also referred to as seated or “on-site” massage, is a brief body massage session during which the patient lays face down on a specially designed massage chair. While in the chair, the patient’s neck, back, shoulders, arms and hips are all accessible to the therapist. Sessions can last anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.
Chair massage was originally developed by David Palmer, who in 1986 was the first to create a specially designed massage chair that could be taken to on-site massage sessions. Palmer developed the chair massage to help ease the daily strain that many office workers feel. If you have ever sat behind a desk all day staring at a computer screen you know what he’s talking about. This kind of office environment can lead to back pain, neck stiffness, tense shoulders, aching wrists, and the worst symptom of all which is bad circulation. Most of the aching symptoms that occur at work are caused by a loss of circulation which happens when people are sitting in a desk chair all day. This can lead to mental fogginess, decreased energy, and sore and stiff muscles, as well as more serious injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Chair massage increases the body’s circulation once again, restoring energy and helping to limit any office related repetitive-stress injuries. Since chair therapy is quick and can be easily brought to the office space, it’s a very relaxing, much need break at work. It will improve your overall well-being by reducing stress, boosting your mental alertness and creativity.
There are some benefits of chair massages as opposed to conventional massages on massage tables. Firstly, the massage is done through the clothing. This saves people the time of undressing and any embarrassment they might feel. Because the massage is completed through the clothing, it involves no messy massage oils or creams. It’s simply a direct massage of the muscle tissues to relieve stress and pain. Chair massage is convenient because with the mobility of the chair, the massage can come to you wherever you are. It can be brought into a person’s home or office and since it doesn’t take as long as traditional massages, anyone can find time to get a massage. The massage makes people feel safe because it can be done right out in the open as complete privacy isn’t needed. It’s inexpensive compared to other therapies and it focuses on quickly targeting the key tension areas of the body: the back neck and shoulders.