Massage Modalities and Facts
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for curative and rejuvenating effects. Dating back to ancient Egypt, India, and the Far East, this simple therapy has been used for centuries to reduce stress and tension, refresh and invigorate the body, soothe emotions, and clear the mind. After an initial discussion with the client, specific essential oils are used in conjunction with other appropriate techniques, such as massage, acupressure, or reflexology. Used in oils, the essential oil is absorbed through the skin and into the body to affect physiological change. When inhaled the aroma directly affects the limbic area of the brain that is related to emotions and memories.
Within the craniosacral system is the cerebrospinal fluid that moves in a slight but perceptible tide-like manner. Craniosacral therapists assist in facilitating change in areas of restriction where this tide-like motion is limited, confined, and immobilized. By using a gentle light touch, this fluid becomes more rhythmic and balanced, and the central nervous system is restored. Craniosacral therapy is helpful to those with nervous disorders, motor-coordination impairments, attention deficit disorders, insomnia, and other problems. Craniosacral therapy was originally developed in the early 1900's by an osteopath named William G. Sutherland and later refined and promoted by Dr. John Upledger.
When a ten or twenty minute relaxation session is needed, this is the technique for you. You are massaged fully clothed in a special chair designed to relax you. Because the chair is completely portable, you may see chair massage at the airport or health club, or you may want a practitioner to come to your office or business to massage the staff or guests at a party.
This technique addresses specific muscles and muscle groups. The practitioners are trained to fix specific problems. It is a fundamental technique that offers fast results for both pain and stress. This form of cross fiber massage was first written about in the late 1800's in New York City. A medical doctor performing autopsies noticed that diseased areas of the body were surrounded by muscle fibers that were dehydrated and stuck together. He surmised that if one would rub across these fibers, they would release and the healthy state of muscle would be restored. This technique begins gently and progresses deeply as the outer muscle fibers relax, allowing the second and third layer of muscle to be addressed.
Pregnancy places strong demands on a woman's body and is a time for the body to be nurtured and pampered. This massage not only relieves the tensions and aches caused by the extra weight and shift in the center of gravity to the body, but it reduces swelling, soothes the nervous system, acts as a tonic, reduces fatigue, and enhances energy.
Swedish massage is now known as "traditional" massage. In the 1820s a Swedish doctor, Dr. Per Henrik Ling, developed the first modern method of massage through his study of physiology, gymnastics, and the massage techniques borrowed from China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. This is considered to be one of the most popular types of massage. Swedish Massage uses a system of long gliding strokes, kneading, friction, percussive, and shaking motions or vibration techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles. Swedish Massage is intended to vibrate glands and organs as well as move lymph. It is performed with oils, and a session last between 50 - 90 minutes.
It is primarily for full-body sessions and promotes general relaxation. It is effective for most ailments, because massaging the skin, the body's largest organ, sets up a chain reaction that produces a positive effect on all layers and systems of the body. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, and promotes health and well-being.
Swedish Massage also relieves muscle tension, reduces anxiety, strengthens the immune system, improves blood circulation, detoxifies, balances the nervous system, and facilitates states of deep relaxation that may open a door to the soul and spirit in the process.
This special form of massage is typically used before, during, and after athletic events 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. Depending on the needs of the athlete, a variety of techniques are used including classic Swedish strokes, cross-fiber friction, pressure-point work, and joint mobilization.
Popularized in the United States by physiotherapist Eunice Inghram in the 1930s, this is an acupressure type technique performed on the hands and feet and is based on the ancient Oriental theory that meridian lines or pathways carry energy throughout the body. Because each zone or part of the body has a corresponding reflex point on the feet, stimulating that reflex point causes stimulation in the natural energy of the related organ. Crystalline-type deposits and/or tenderness indicate a dysfunction, and pressure is applied to clear out congestion and restore normal functioning and health.