There are several different massage therapy modalities available and a large massage clinic with several different practitioners will likely offer a variety. This list does not include a full list of variations that are recognized in the medical journals, but should provide you with some insight to a few different modalities so that you can make inquiries to those clinics you will be visiting.
Massage Therapy - Holistic Healing
A traditional Chinese medicine focusing on finding Chi energy balance—this is our life force circulating throughout our bodies—by stimulating meridians (the energy pathways) have more healthy flow. The patients remain in full clothing while the therapist utilizes finger and elbow pressure on the same meridian points stimulated during Acupuncture. During treatment the muscle fibres are elongated, and begin to release toxins and waste materials within the tissue. There is an increase in the circulation of oxygenated blood, thereby promoting cellular nutrition and stronger resistance to disease.
The body is rebalanced, with the use of acupressure, resulting in a reduction of emotional and psychological tensions. Often patients experience a heightened body awareness after treatment. Increased blood circulation, less muscular aches, less sinus congestion, are all often benefits.
Clinical Deep Tissue Massage:
With a focus on specific areas of concern deep tissue massage works to alleviate chronic muscular pain, muscle tears and sprains and symptoms of nerve impingement. Effective in treating chronic pain, muscle adhesions (commonly called knots), neck and lower back pain, and circulatory problems, sciatica, and whiplash.
The Therapy form works through tension, layer by layer, getting to deeper muscles holding discomfort. Targeting the fascia (soft connective tissue throughout the body) to bring the body back into balance. The Massage therapist concentrates on local spots, so the client must be relaxed to permit the practitioner to work deeply. The pressure progresses, surface to deep, to the firmest level of pressure the client can tolerate. This approach can be either corrective or generally therapeutic.
Craniosacral Massage Therapy:
Gentle but powerful. With manipulations and adjustments at the sutures of the cranium, sacrum, and tailbone the therapist focuses on tension release from the membranes of the Cranial system (Head), this has an effect of the entire body allowing the body to self-correct. Soft, fluid movements of the bones and tissues of the head are used. The thorax, and hips may also be included in the sessions to help enhance the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Central nervous system imbalances occurring from the cranium and the sacrum (and vice versa) are reduced, resetting the body’s natural healing potential.
Improvement of nervous system function, overall muscle relaxation, immune system boost, and stress reduction are often experienced after a craniosacral session.
Esalen Massage Therapy:
A very Gentle flowing form of massage to nurture the body. Using long strokes, passive stretches, rocking, and flowing breath. Therapists will use hands and elbows within long strokes to include all the body in a session instead of focusing on local areas. Effective for energy release and stress reduction with a deeper sense of body wholeness. Intentional muscle kneading releases tension; passive joint movement reaffirms the sensation of spaciousness; and a nurturing, supportive relation between client and practitioner encourages the recipient to consciously sense into self. A meditative element exist within this massage form.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Gentle massage therapy technique focused on the connective tissue with an intent to mobilize the movement of the lymphatic fluid that bathes the tissues. The massage Hastens the movement through the lymphatic system and into the bloodstream. The lymphatic system is responsible for keeping the connective tissue surrounding cells free from inorganic materials, viruses, bacteria, excess proteins and water, destroyed cells resulting from surgery or trauma, and other dead cells. Rhythmic strokes pump the small capillaries, enhancing their ability to open and close, and accelerate the reabsorption into the lymphatic vessels. Results are remove toxins, reduces edema or tissue fluid retention, and decongests all lymphatic pathways while reducing pain, and inducing deep relaxation.
Reflexology Massage therapy:
Feet and hands are the focus here. In order to normalize body function, restore energy throughout the body, and maintain optimum health, specific touch techniques are used. Pressure on major reflex points in the hands and feet releases restricted energy flow and improves blood supply. The target spots correspond to each organ and major muscle group in the body. This is because the extremities have an excellent supply of nerve endings, as such, stimulation can have effects far beyond the focal point being targeted. These effects can include release of endorphins into the bloodstream, providing pain relief and a feeling of well-being.Clients claim reflexology gives them a feeling deep relaxation and reduction or elimination of pain. Circulation is improved, resulting in increased oxygen and nutrient supplies to the brain and body. Detoxification is promoted, as well as a normalization of the functions of the organs, glands, and structures of the body.
Japanese massage in origin with a focus on the human energy bio-field. Reiki is the healing modality that tunes the vibrational force in all living beings. A universal energy. The practitioner attunes the person’s bio-energy field to accept reiki frequency. Performed with a light touch of the practitioner’s hands upon various parts of the recipient’s body, (whom can remain fully clothed) in a pattern for optimum balancing of energy and enhancement of the natural self-healing processes. Vey meditative form of massage therapy.
Swedish Massage therapy:
Is the most well know form of massage in the west and is considered the classic text book style of massage therapy. It is the most popular and broadly used massage method employed today, and is a foundation for many of the alternative techniques developed. It has the effect of increasing blood circulation and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, increasing lymph circulation, and removal of metabolic waste caused by tissue damage and inflammation, and promotes relaxation. Swedish massage consists of manipulation of the muscles and connective soft tissue of the body, using five basic stroke variations: petrissage (kneading), friction (cross fiber), percussion (rhythmic tapping), effleurage (sliding or gliding), and vibration.