Massage is one of the most basic of all natural healing techniques and is based on the remarkable power of touch. Although there are a very wide range of massage techniques and modalities (see below), general benefits include: enhanced relaxation, reduction of anxiety and tension, increased flexibility and tissue elasticity, improved circulation and range of motion, injury prevention and recovery, improved immune system function and energy flow, and an increased feeling of health and well being.
Deep Tissue Massage
By using direct pressure, compression, and friction applied either along or across the grain of muscle tissue, massage therapists are able to reach deeper portions of the thick muscles of the body and often individual muscle fibers. This type of deep massage is very specific, focusing on individual muscles, and tends to involve slower strokes and greater pressure. Deep tissue massage is mostly used to release chronic muscle tension and congestion in problem areas.
A regular sports massage can help prevent injury, speed injury recovery, and improve the overall condition and function of the muscles. Sports massage identifies muscle tightness, trigger points, muscular imbalance, and scar tissue which if left untreated may lead to injury. The benefits of sports massage include: improved range of motion and muscle flexibility resulting in improved power and performance, shorter recovery time between workouts, increased blood flow to maximize the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the muscle tissue and enhanced elimination of the metabolic by-products of performance.
Fascia is the complex web of tissue that surrounds, wraps and holds muscles in the body. Because it is found throughout the body, tension in one part of the fascia can affect other parts. Myofascial Release is used to find and release restrictions in the muscles and fascia that have been affected by inflammation and tension, thus improving overall function of the body. This technique yields greater mobility, flexibility and range of motion as well as increasing overall health and wellness.
Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy
Myofascial trigger points are an extremely common cause of pain. Trigger points are painful when pressed on, cause a shortening of the muscle fibers, and have a special property called referred pain. Referred pain means that a trigger point in one muscle can create pain in another area. For instance, when the muscle at the top of your shoulder (trapezius) has a trigger point it will refer pain up the side of your neck and head causing a headache. Since a trigger point is the contraction mechanism of the muscle locked into a shortened position, the treatment of the trigger point involves unlocking that contraction mechanism. This can be achieved in several ways. Trigger Point Pressure Release involves applying pressure with a finger or other instrument to the trigger point and increasing the pressure as the trigger point "releases" and softens. There are a number of variations on this technique and a skilled practitioner will choose which is right for each patient and muscle treated.
Originally developed in Europe as a treatment for lymphedema disease, this technique focuses on improving the flow of lymph throughout the body. Lymph is a clear to yellowish watery fluid that circulates throughout body tissues picking up fats, bacteria, and other unwanted materials. Lymph Drainage Massage consists of a light, soothing massage that encourages the drainage of lymph from the spaces between the muscles and organs of the body, and from nodes (or glands) located throughout the body. The function of the lymphatic system is to filter and neutralize bacteria, cancer cells and other infectious organisms. Lymph Drainage Massage assists this system in helping the body to detoxify, and is especially helpful when lymph circulation and/or the immune system has been compromised.