Massage is the manipulation of soft body tissue with the hands, fingers, elbows and/or feet by rubbing or kneading movements. Massage can be applied by a qualified massage therapist, layperson or by yourself. Try using aromatic essential oils to enhance the experience.
There are several types of massage, each with its own technique and benefits.
Acupressure, like acupuncture, applies pressure to certain points but with the fingertips rather than needles.
Similar to acupressure, shiatsu uses the fingertips as well as hands, knees, elbows or feet to apply pressure.
Reflexology is a type of massage using pressure points in the hands and feet.
Swedish massage –
The most popular method of massage used today, Swedish massage uses long strokes, kneading and tapping of the muscles and soft tissue.
· Rolfing –
Rolfing is aimed at working the deeper soft tissues of the joints and at realigning or straightening posture. It works specifically on the connective tissue around the muscles and tends to be somewhat painful. Heller work is a type of Rolfing that boasts dramatic results in breaking bad posture habits. Aston Patterning is another offshoot of Rolfing.
Deep Tissue Massage –
The deeper muscles and the individual muscle fibers are the targets here. Massage therapists use fingers, thumbs and even elbows to apply pressure. Neuromuscular massage is one form of deep tissue massage that is applied to individual muscles to increase blood flow and reduce tension.
Sports Massage –
The techniques of sports massage are similar to those in Swedish and deep tissue massage but have been adapted to help warm up muscles before exercise and aid in relaxation before and after competitions.
Craniosacral Therapy –
Here the focus is entirely on the skull and spinal column. The pressure used is very gentle and is used to reduce tension caused by cranial trauma.
This therapy may benefit people who have had a stroke or an accident. It treats everybody differently using a range of postures and movement patterns.
Another method used for injuries is Trager, which uses gentle, rocking massage to release the body’s past harms or injuries. The idea is to make people more aware of their bodies, particularly the way they move and hold themselves because of the injury. This “freeing up” also rids people of the emotional stress associated with the injury.
Bowen Technique –
This method of massage incorporates rest periods between a series of massage movements within a treatment session to allow the body to absorb the healing process.
Core Energetics –
This is a technique where spirituality is an important element in the healing process. The core represents the higher self, and it encourages the patient to identify their core energy and feelings.
Lymph Massage –
Lymph massage is a specific technique that massages the lymph nodes and lymph system using light strokes. The strokes are always with the muscle fiber, rather than cross-fiber because the lymph system runs in the same direction as the muscle fiber. This is an excellent method for eliminating toxins.
Pregnancy Massage –
This massage relieves the tensions and aches caused by pregnancy and shift in the center of gravity to the body and may help reduce the effects of edema and fatigue.
Reiki is a healing technique that places the hands gently in specific positions either on or above the body. This laying-on of hands relieves pain and restores vitality.
Therapeutic Touch –
Therapeutic Touch touches the energy field around the body. It is based on the theory that the human energy field extends beyond the skin and flows in balanced patterns in health, but is depleted and/or unbalanced in illness or injury.