Happy National Massage Therapy Awareness Week!

Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful but Happy National Massage Therapy Awareness Week! This is the one week of the year where I have the opportunity to let know you more about the profession that I love and benefits you so much! Take a moment to explore the Resources & Research page.

Also be sure to look at this Consumer Survey done by the American Massage Therapy Association! Below is a summary of the information they collected. You can view all of the information here:

  • 75 percent claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the past 12 months was medical (43 percent) and stress (32 percent) related
  • 50 percent who have ever had a massage, received it for medical reasons including soreness, stiffness or spasms; to relieve or manage stress; for prevention or to improve quality of life; injury recovery; to keep fit or healthy/wellness and to control headaches or migraines
  • 50 percent said their doctor has either strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage
  • 89 percent believe massage can be effective in reducing pain
  • 87 percent recognize massage can be beneficial to health and wellness
  • 44 percent say medical benefits would motivate them to have a massage

Choosing the Best Type of Massage for You!

As you may or may not know, the world of massage is constantly growing and gaining new methods of practice. In the world of massage therapy we call these methods “modalities”. A single therapist can practice multiple modalities and use different techniques from each one during a single session. With all the technical words and jargon floating around, some of it gets misinterpreted (i.e. deep tissue massage does not necessarily mean hard pressure). So, how do you know which type of massage is best for you?

Below we will discuss just a few of the more common modalities of massage therapy. If you are interested in more specific modalities please feel free to comment on this post and I will send you links of how to learn more.

Swedish

When people think of massage this is usually the type of massage they think of. This includes long, sweeping strokes as well as varying pressure and “kneading” motions. Because of the nature of the strokes, this type of massage encourages good circulation of blood and lymph. This type of massage can be very healing and relaxing. What most people consider deep tissue massage is Swedish techniques used with a much firmer pressure.

Deep Tissue

This type of massage does not necessarily mean there is a great deal of pressure applied. Deep tissue describes how your therapist works with soft tissues. In this case, the therapist will be working deep within the muscle belly; working through fibers to create increased range of motion (flexibility) and decrease muscle spasms.

Deep Tissue Friction

This modality is particularly beneficial for those who have had recent injuries or surgeries. Once an incision or acute inflammation has healed, deep tissue friction may be applied. The objective of DTF is to create a more functional scar by breaking up scar tissue and helping the collagen fibers form in a more organized fashion. By doing this a person can gain greater ease of movement, less visible scars, and increased circulation, which is vital for an area to regain good functionality.

Pregnancy Massage

Many women find relief from aches, pains and low back issues with massage during pregnancy. The body goes through many physical and emotional changes during pregnancy and massage can be an immense comfort during the transition into motherhood. Typically, massage is not performed until the 2nd trimester. And, if you have any complicating factors (i.e. diabetes, pre-eclampsia, positive Homan’s sign, etc.) a note is usually required from your OB stating that you are safe to receive massage therapy. This type of massage is able to be modified in many ways to allow for the comfort of mother and baby.

Thai Massage

Typically, the client and therapist are both clothed in loose clothing and working on mats on the floor. Thai techniques can also be incorporated into table massage as well though. Thai massage can also be known as a type of assisted yoga with focus on deep stretching and breathing to encourage the flow of “prana” or life energy. Thai massage can be both relaxing and invigorating!

Reflexology

Reflexology is based upon the theory that there are reflexes in the ends of energy channels in the body (i.e. the hands and feet. And sometimes the ears) that have reflexes which correspond to organs within the body. By applying pressure and stimulating these organs reflexology creates balance.

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) or Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger points are spots within a tight muscle that are tender when pressed and can cause pain in other regions than the area being directly pressed (therapists called this referred pain). There are different types of trigger points that have many different causes (physical, emotional and chemical factors). Neuromuscular techniques can be both gentle and aggressive in treating trigger points, but all encourage the muscle to relax and bring blood back to an area where it was restricted before.