What Massage Techniques do you Love?

August 29, 2012

Most programs that teach Massage Therapists cover the same required techniques. After certification there are even more techniques to learn. Some latch onto the newest, keep their old, throw out this/that, or integrate all of it. After 4 years of being out of school, I’m still learning everyday (even when I get a massage!). Here is a run-down of some I use in my practice. What is your favorite?

  • Swedish Massage – Long strokes and kneading of the muscles makes this the most commonly requested massage technique. Generally used in full body sessions to promote relaxation, circulation and relief of muscle tension.
  • Trigger Point Therapy – Concentrated finger pressure to tender areas and their referring patterns in the muscle which breaks the cycle of spasm and pain.
  • Myofascial Release – Mild hands-on stretching aimed at relieving connective tissue restrictions.
  • Deep Tissue Massage – Long, slow strokes and deep finger pressure releases chronic patterns of tensions, while improving body alignment and freedom of movement.
  • Hydrotherapy – Use of water (in all forms) to help treat the tissue. Hydrothermal therapy is used in a moist heat pack form to loosen the tissue. Cryotherapy is used in a cool wash or ice form to treat acute injuries or inflamed tissue.
  • Sports Massage – Typically used before, during, and after athletic events, the purpose is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries.
  • Joint Mobilization, Stretching, Range of Motion, Postural Integration, Orthopedic Testing, and other exercises are used in most, if not all, therapeutic sessions.
  • Prenatal Massage – Prenatal massage shares many of the goals of regular massage — to relax tense muscles, ease sore spots, improve circulation and mobility, and just make you feel good. But it’s also tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies, and therapists who are trained in prenatal massage adjust their techniques accordingly.
  • Special Needs Massage – Massage and touch therapy tailored to the individual needs of those with disabilities including (but not limited to) those with autism, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome, Plegia and other delays.
  • Infant Massage – Infant massage lessens tension, fussiness and irritability. Digestion is aided and this can provide relief of gas and colic. Massage is also a wonderful way to lessen stress for parent and baby. It enhances nurturing bonding and love, the essential ingredients for emotional and physical growth and well being. Studies have shown increased weight gain, and immune function. Myelination of nerves is also increased. These things in turn are needed for brain and muscle development. Parents become more aware of baby’s nonverbal cues. One-on-one communication instills a massage of love and security. As your infant learns to relax and release stress, sounder and longer sleep is often the end result.
  • Pediatric Massage – Pediatric massage may continue beyond infancy into adolescent years. Studies have shown help in behavioral and focus of children. Special needs including autism, down syndrome, ADHD/ADD, asthmatic children, and more have integrated massage therapy as well for calming and muscle development.
  • Reiki – Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands”. Any massage can be customized to use Reiki.
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