There are many benefits to massage therapy, and many different forms of massage. Our team at Integrative Physical Medicine wrote this article to help you better understand the services we have to offer. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions that you have.
Swedish massage is also known as the Western or classic style of massage. It is credited to the Swedish fencing master and gymnastics instructor, Per Henrik Ling. It is a scientific system of manipulations on the muscles and connective tissues of the body for the purpose of relaxation, rehabilitation or health maintenance. Swedish massage therapy is comprised of five basic strokes and their variations: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement (or percussion) and vibration
The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. Other possible benefits include stimulation of circulation, an increase in muscle tone, and a balance of the musculo-skeletal systems. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing heart load.
Pregnancy massage has been found to reduce stress, decrease swelling in the arms and legs, and relieve aches and pains in muscles and joints. It’s a popular complementary therapy during pregnancy for back pain, when choices for pain relief, such as medication, are often limited. Not only can massage be physically beneficial, but the human touch can be comforting and provide emotional support during pregnancy.
Trigger point massage utilizes ischemic compression of individual areas of hypersensitivity in muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia. These trigger points are defined by their referral of pain to distant locations in muscles, connective tissues and organs. Janet Travell, M.D., pioneered trigger point therapy in the United States.
A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. A trigger point in the back, for example, may trigger pain in the neck. The neck, now acting as a satellite trigger point, may then cause pain in the head. The pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache. Trigger points are caused by muscle overuse or injury, and because the aches are associated with moving parts, the pain is commonly mistaken for arthritis.
Trigger point work is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. In this type of massage the recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identifying the exact location and intensity of the discomfort.
The result of trigger point massage is the elimination of toxins in the muscles and the release of energizing endorphins. A significant decrease in pain is often found after just one treatment.
Deep tissue massage is also called deep muscle therapy or deep tissue therapy. It is an umbrella term for bodywork systems that work deeply into the muscles and connective tissue to release chronic aches and pains.
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, low back tightness, 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 concentrated on areas of tension and pain.
Sports massage was originally developed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training. Sports massage emphasizes prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons.
Sports massage is applied to athletes to help them train and perform free of pain and injuries. Massage therapists blend classic Swedish strokes with such methods as compression, pressure-point therapy, cross-fiber friction, joint mobilization, hydrotherapy and cryotherapy (ice massage) to meet the special needs of high-level performers and fitness enthusiasts.
But you don’t have to be in the Olympics to benefit from sports massage. Sports massage is also good for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion. The massage therapist generally concentrates on a specific problem area. (Sore neck and shoulders, anyone?) This is the type of sports massage that you see in the spa.
Our team at Integrative Physical Medicine is here to help you with all your massage therapy needs.