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Therapeutic Massage

Injury Recovery Massage

Whether you are recovering from an acute injury, surgery or emotional trauma, therapeutic massage can support you.

Massage assists soft tissue healing by facilitating blood flow to the injured area, decreasing the armoring of surrounding muscles, mobilizing scar tissue that forms over the injured area, breaking up fascial adhesions that develop and decreasing associated pain. Massage techniques help normalize the connective tissue, thus increasing the range of motion and reducing pain.

Following emotional trauma, therapeutic massage can provide needed stress relief and a way to reconnect with yourself in a non-threatening, supportive environment. Massage Therapists can work closely with a client and other counseling services to assure the best recovery possible.

Approaches often effective in facilitating recovery following injury include: Orthopedic Massage, Myofascial Release, Deep Tissue Massage, Reflexology, Lymphatic Drainage Massage, Craniosacral Therapy, Medical Massage, Reiki and Energy work.

Therapeutic massage is very helpful for injury recovery from repetitive strains. These injuries are generally caused from overuse of certain muscle groups, due to executing the same movement over and over (repetitive movement). If these injuries are left untreated they can lead to increased pain, loss of function of the affected area and decreased ability to perform daily tasks. They can lead to loss of work along with costly workman’s compensation claims. Therapeutic massage is very helpful with injury recovery of such repetitive strain problems as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, tight low backs, and sore shoulders.

Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and more concentrated on the areas of tension and pain.

How does deep tissue massage work?

When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions block circulation and limit movement, causing pain and inflammation.

Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.

Will deep tissue massage hurt?

At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain. It is important to tell the massage therapist when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range.

There is usually some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage, but it should subside within a day or so. The massage therapist may recommend applying ice to the area after the massage.

What conditions is deep tissue massage used for?

Unlike classic massage therapy, which is used primarily for relaxation, deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as:

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage is a luxurious massage that does deep tissue work without some of the deep tissue massage pain. Hot stone massage is a specialty massage that uses smooth, heated stones. They are often basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat well, but they can be other types. The heat is both deeply relaxing and helps tight muscles release.

What Happens During a Hot Stone Massage?

Before you arrive, the massage therapist heats the stones in water heated to 120-150 degrees.

During the massage, the therapist places a thick towel on top of the blanket that covers you; then, she places stones strategically on your back. The stones on your back will warm your muscles while the therapist uses other heated stones to work your feet and legs. The stones placed on your back will be removed and oil applied to your skin. The therapist then uses other hot stones to massage your back and the back of your shoulders and neck. Next,you will turn over to lie on your back. The therapist then places the thick towel on the top of your thighs and places hot stones on them. Meanwhile, she uses more heated stones to work your arms and the front of your shoulders and neck. Finally, she works where the stones have been resting on your legs. Hot stones are used throughout the massage.

The therapist might also leave heated stones in the palms of your hands, on your belly or even between your toes to improve the flow of energy in your body.

If you have inflammation or muscle injury, cold stones are sometimes used.

What You Need To Know About Hot Stone Massage

* The therapist uses many stones of various shapes and sizes.
* The heat of the stones helps muscles release more quickly than in traditional massage.
* You should speak up if the stones are too warm or the pressure is too intense.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the most commonly offered and best-known type of massage. If it's your first time at a spa, Swedish massage is the perfect place to start.

What Happens During Swedish Massage?

Generally during Swedish massage, you are nude underneath a towel or sheet. The massage therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on, a technique called draping. You can keep your underwear on during Swedish massage, and many newcomers do.

During Swedish massage, massage therapists use massage oils, lotions or creams to facilitate smooth, gliding strokes called effleurage. Other classic Swedish massage moves include kneading, friction, stretching and (sometimes) tapping.

Swedish massage promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension and creates other health benefits. It can be slow and gentle or vigorous and bracing, depending on what the therapist wants to achieve.
Feel free to state your preference for pressure during Swedish massage. It can range from light to firm. Swedish massage usually includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension. If you want more intensive work and firmer pressure, ask for a deep tissue massage.

Why Is It Called Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage was pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Henri Peter Ling, at the University of Stockholm in 1812. It was introduced to the U.S. in 1858 as "The Swedish Movement Cure." Swedish massage is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports massage, deep tissue massage, and aromatherapy massage.

Prenatal Massage: Massage During Pregnancy

Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Pregnant women have often received ambivalent responses from the health community regarding the safety and purpose of massage during pregnancy. Modern investigation and research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.
The benefits of prenatal massage or massage during pregnancy:
Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.

Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques, one of which is called Swedish Massage, which aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. Swedish Massage is the recommended prenatal massage method during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.

Hormone regulation

Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health, when massage therapy was introduced to women’s prenatal care. Hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression) were increased in women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks. These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when relaxing, therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.

Reduction of swelling

Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body’s lymph system.

Improvement of nerve pain

Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.

Other potential benefits of prenatal massage

What precautions should be taken when seeking prenatal massage?

As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider. The best way to address the risks of prenatal massage is to be informed and to work together with knowledgeable professionals.

Body position during prenatal massage

Many professionals consider the best position for a pregnant woman during massage is side-lying. Tables that provide a hole in which the uterus can fit may not be reliable and can still apply pressure to the abdomen, or allow the abdomen to dangle, causing uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments. Consult your massage therapist before your first appointment to verify what position they place their clients in during the massage.

Be aware of sensitive pressure points

Trained prenatal or pregnancy massage therapists are aware of pressure points on the ankles and wrists that can gently stimulate pelvic muscles, including the uterus. Certified prenatal massage therapists are trained to avoid very specific and intentional pressure to these areas during pregnancy. Any woman who has experienced pre-term contractions or consistent Braxton-Hicks contractions should alert her therapist to that fact so that pressure points can be avoided completely.

Women with the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage:

Is prenatal massage safe throughout the entire pregnancy?

Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy – during the first, second, or third trimester. Many facilities will refuse to offer massage to a woman who is still in her first trimester because of the increased statistics for miscarriage associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Incorporating Massage Into Your Prenatal Care

The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women. Along with the guidance and advice of a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health supplement proven to improve pregnancy outcome, and maternal health. Consult your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice

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