What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for a therapeutic effect. The massage therapist uses a range of techniques which help prevent and reduce stress and tension, as well as discomfort from injuries or chronic conditions and lead to improved health and well being.
Swedish massage is considered the foundation for most table techniques. It is characterized by the use of lotion or oil to allow gliding strokes over the skin. Most strokes are done toward the patient’s heart with the goal of improving blood and lymphatic circulation. Swedish technique consists of five basic strokes: effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), friction, tapotement (percussion), and vibration, though all these strokes are not used on every part of the body. Our therapist blends in various techniques, depending upon training and experience, to address the specific needs of the client. In general, it is the manipulation of the body’s soft tissue (i.e. the skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) using the hands in a gentle, flowing massage technique. Varying degrees of pressure and stretching movements are incorporated. It is most commonly used for relaxation and improving well being.
A typical full-body massage session lasts for 60 minutes, many therapists will offer shorter sessions for treating specific areas such as the back, neck, shoulders or any area experiencing discomfort or pain. On the first visit clients are asked a number of questions concerning general well-being, injuries and pre-existing medical conditions that the therapist should know about, in order to determine if there are any contra-indications (physical conditions that would prohibit or limit massage therapy).
The prime purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Whether one is a world class athlete, or a desk jockey, minor injuries and muscle tension occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse. Massage aids in recovery and repair of these soft tissues. Above all, sports massage can help prevent those nagging minor injuries that so often get in the way of optimum performance and achievement.
This treatment is not just for the athlete: anyone can benefit from sports massage, including people in physically demanding jobs and those not quite so obvious (occupational, emotional and postural stress may produce many similar characteristics to sports injuries). Sports massage tends to be deeper and more vigorous than Swedish massage. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response techniques similar to acupressure. The skilled therapist brings together this blend of techniques, knowledge and advice during a treatment. The goal of sports massage is to promote optimum performance, injury-free training and minimize post event injuries.
Pre and Post-Natal Massage
Massage during pregnancy is therapeutic bodywork which focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the dramatic changes of the childbirth experience.
Pregnancy massage can be done in different ways. Pregnant women may lie on their sides to be massaged, and they can actually lie on their bellies, since a specifically designed pillow makes it possible for expectant moms, no matter how far along they are, to lie flat on their stomachs.
Benefits of prenatal massage include:
- Emotional support and nurturing touch
- Relaxation and decreased insomnia
- Stress relief on weight-bearing joints, such as ankles, lower back and pelvis
- Neck and back pain relief caused by muscle imbalance and weakness
- Assistance in maintaining proper posture
- Preparing the muscles used during childbirth
- Reduced swelling in hands and feet
- Lessened sciatic pain
- Fewer calf cramps
- Headache and sinus congestion relief
Massage during pregnancy is safe for most mothers. Our massage therapist will want to know if you are having any problems or complications with your pregnancy before you begin.
Hot Stone Therapy
Hot Stone Massage Therapy is a concept that has seemed to come into popularity within the last 5-10 years. Even within the last four years, it has become the rage at Spas and Therapeutic Centers all over the world. Contrary to popular belief, Hot Stone Therapy was NOT first discovered in the desert of Arizona or by massage therapists' visions of saints.
This is an age old therapy dating back 5000 years to India and most certainly even the Mayan culture. Ayurveda, the ancient healing tradition of India, spoke of a universal source of all life. The energy called "prana" is the energy, or the breath of life which moves through all forms to give them life. Yogis work with this energy with breathing techniques, meditation, physical exercise and massage to produce altered states of consciousness, healing and longevity. They would not only use their hands for manipulation and healing but also utilize “tools” the earth would provide such as herbs, flowers, crystals and stones.
Stone Massage Therapy came from the healers using rocks from the river beds and warming them either in hot coals or hot water. By placing the hot stones on cloth on the body and arranging them along the energy centers of the body, a healing process would occur. The hot stones have a tendency to relax the muscles and “draw out” muscle pain and discomfort.
The hot stones seem to connect the flow or paths of energy together in order to rebalance the physical body, emotional mind and soaring spirit as one. As the stones cool the healer replace them with hot stones again. The feet are extremely energy sensitive and are also stimulated in Hot Stone Massage.
As in Reflexology, the entire body can be seen "reflected" in the feet. Hot stone Therapy works with tiny River Rocks between the toes to de-stress and stimulate the nerve endings in the feet. At the end, the healer would massage the feet and body with the stones and scented oil. Cool stones could then be placed on the pulse points for revitalizing and rejuvenating. Stone Therapy was utilized by many cultures across Europe and within the Mezo-American and Native American tribes as well.
Stone Massage Therapy has found new life in the West within the last 10 years. Since the ever-growing popularity of alternative therapies channeling into the mainstream, every Spa and Salon has jumped on the band wagon to meet the growing demand of its consumer.
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