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Different Types of Massages for You to Consider

Jan 25, 2008
Massage therapy is one of the oldest medical treatments. There are records of this treatment being practiced almost 4,000 years ago. Admittedly it was a fairly simple form of treatment at this time and was referred to as "rubbing". Modern massage therapy has now evolved to incorporate many techniques and is a recognized form of alternative treatment. It is all part of a holistic approach to medicine that looks at the entire overall health of the patient.

Basic massage: pressure, tension, motion, or vibration is applied to the soft tissues of the body. This can also include lymphatic vessels, joints, ligaments, muscles, connective tissue and tendons. It can be applied to the whole body or parts of it. There are many reasons for using massage therapy, a few common ones are; to help heal the body after injury, relive stress, manage pain, or improve circulation.

The patient is treated by, sitting in a massage chair, lying on a massage table, or lying on a pad on the floor. They are generally unclothed, or disrobed, with their body "draped" in towels or sheets. How the body is "draped" depends on where in the world you are having this treatment done. The therapy begins with the patient lying on their back and continues with them face downward. Relaxation is necessary for massage therapy to be effective.

Oils are sometimes used to increase the effects of massage therapy. Different oils are supposed to induce different reactions in the body. Massage therapy can also be practiced with no oil. Hot steam or sauna baths are often taken prior to massage therapy. This will help the patient to get warmed up and relax so that treatment can be more effective.

There are several different types of massage that are used in massage therapy. Here are some common ones:

Barefoot Deep Tissue: This is a combination of Eastern and Western techniques. The patient is loosely clothed and lain on their back or side, on a mat on the floor. No oil is used in this technique.

Bowen Technique: This is a rolling technique movement that is done to the fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.

Breema bodywork: This is also performed on the floor with the subject fully clothed. It is composed of gentle leans and stretches, to aid deep relaxation. Sessions typically last for about 50 minutes.

Chair massage: This can be done either manually or by mechanical means, motors in the actual chair.

Tui Na is a form of Chinese massage and involves pushing, stretching and kneading the muscle. Zhi Ya is another form of Chinese massage based on acupuncture. It involves pinching and pressing the acupuncture points.

CranioSacral Therapy: This, as the name applies, is the gentle massage of the head and spine.

Deep muscle therapy: this technique is generally focused on increasing blood and lymphatic flow to the muscles. It is often used to promote healing and help manage back and neck pain.

Deep tissue techniques: This massage therapy concentrates on specific sets of muscles, or joints. An experienced massage therapist should do this as when it is misapplied or done too quickly this massage can cause more problems and not help the patient.

Effleurage: This form of massage is almost like stroking and is used to calm the muscles. It is often performed around the heart to help circulation and lymphatic drainage.

Esalen Massage: This style of massage therapy uses traditional methods in a gentle manner. This will relax the body and help muscles and circulation.

Foot massage: The Chinese have different points on the sole of the foot that they associate with different organs of the body. This is to do with nerve endings in the sole and in theory is related to acupuncture and acupressure. This requires the patient to soak their foot in a foot bath of warm water and herbs before having this massage therapy done.

As you can see there are many types and styles of massage therapy. It is best to have this done by a licensed therapist who will know what combination of techniques to apply to your particular situation.
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