Massage Techniques and Types of Bodywork

Definitions of common Massage and Bodywork Techniques
 
Watch a YouTube video about receiving massage by Gloria Coppola of Massage Pro Ce:
 
Video by MassageNerd about Sports Massage with Demo of Techniques:
 
DEFINITIONS OF COMMON (and some not so common) MASSAGE AND        BODYWORK TECHNIQUES
Acupressure - Pressure applied at points along the body's meridians to balance the energy channels of the body.
 
Acupuncture - Needles placed at  points along the body's meridians to stimulate or sedate organs, systems and meridians in the body. Only performed by licensed Acupuncturist. Not to be confused with Acupressure Massage.
 
Aromatherapy - Essential oils used for therapeutic purposes to help the body relax, heal itself or rejuvenate. Is often used in conjuction with Massage Therapy in the U.S. In England and other European countries it is used as a stand alone treatment for diseases such as fungal infections, skin infections, skin conditions, nervous conditions, headaches, and even antibiotic-resistant infections.
 
Belavi Facial - Facial done but without products like an esthetician uses. Hot towels and facial strokes. This technique is usually done by trained Massage Therapist.
 
Breema - Done on a padded floor usually, this technique involves stretches, rhythmic movements and postures using the Nine Principles of Harmony.
 
Craniosacral Therapy - Very gentle technique using the body's rhythms found in the spine, sacrum and meninges of the brain. Helps relieve head, neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, TMJ and chronic conditions. Biodynamics is a type of CST.
 
Deep Tissue Massage - Often more pressure than a relaxation massage. Used to relieve deep tension in muscles. Practitioner may use forearms, elbows or cross fiber friction to get deeper into the muscle tissue. Not a suitable technique for a first time client. Deep pressure may cause discomfort during application but the client should feel a lessening of tension in the area.
 
Esalen Massage - Technique originally taught by the Esalen Institute in California. It is noted for its long, smooth connecting strokes and deep relaxation induced by the fluid movements.
 
Healing Bodywork - Bodywork that includes elements of healing such as Reiki, Qi Gong and other energywork in the massage session.
 
Healing Touch - Touch used to balance all energies of the body and help the body heal itself. Healing is influenced by the relationship between a practitioner and their client.
 
Hot Stone Massage or La Stone - La Stone therapy was developed by Mary Harrigan using Basalt Stones. Hot Stone Massage is done by placing warm/hot stones or cold stones on clients to help balance their energy and relax deeply. For many clients the heat of the stones is extremely relaxing.
 
Infant Massage Instruction - Classes taught to parents of babies or young children to help the child relax, bond with their caregiver and increase coordination. Classes are taught in hospitals, community centers, homes or schools to parents or caregivers.
 
Injury/Rehab Massage -  Massage done by an experienced MT for clients with injuries who have already seen an MD and want to speed up their recovery or minimize the effects of the injury due to scar tissue and adhesions. Not meant to be a relaxing massage. Client participation is often required as well as focused breathing.
 
Integrative Massage - Combination of many modalities used to alleviate issues through the use of structural and functional rehab techniques. Incorporates many other fields of bodywork such as osteopathy, physical therapy, homeopathy and massage therapy. Many experienced MTs find themselves integrating many techniques to help clients rather than using a single technique.
 
Lymphatic Drainage Massage - Developed by Emil Vodder, Lymphatic Drainage Massage is used to help move the lymph fluid in the body away from areas that it can often collect. A trained practitioner knows where the concentration of lymph nodes are and how to effectively move the fluid from an area. This technique is especially helpful to clients who have had surgery that has removed or damaged their lymph nodes by helping reduce the lymph fluid these areas.
 
Maintenance Massage - Term used to describe a routine massage done to keep a client at the same functional level or maintain their current state of well being.
 
Medical Massage - Therapists use very specific techniques to relieve pain or recover from injury. Therapist must have good knowledge of pathology. MMTs often work with another Health Care Provider such as an MD or Chiro but may also practice independently. MMTs usually are very well trained therapists.
 
Myofascial Release-MFR - Using the application of gentle pressure in the direction of the fascial restriction a practitioner of MFR can release restrictions and gain more freedom of movement. Is beneficial for clients with fibromyalgia, headaches and chronic pain.
 
Myotherapy - Myotherapy is a method for relieving pain based on the application of pressure at trigger points throughout the body. Trigger points are defined as hypersensitive locations in the muscles that cause pain in response to undue stress. Myotherapy developed out of trigger point therapy, a method of pain relief developed by Dr. Janet Travell.
 
Neuromuscular Reprogramming -NMR - Using muscle testing the Therapist assesses dysfunction and works with neuromuscular pain at its source. A gentle non-invasive technique that retrains the client's brain to respond differently to  dysfunctional habituation and balance itself.
 
Neuromuscular Therapy - NMT - Balancing of the musculoskeletal system with the CNS or central nervous system to relieve pain through soft tissue manipulations. This technique can be used in conjunction with Rehab/Injury Massage or Deep Tissue Massage.
 
Orthobionomy -Ortho-Bionomy is a form of bodywork that helps people experience comfort, balance and an enhanced sense of well-being. It is highly effective in working with symptoms from chronic stress, and pains or problems associated with postural and structural imbalances. The practitioner acts as a facilitator to educate the person being worked with. Positions of comfort, gentle movements, compressions, and subtle techniques are used to stimulate reflexes that initiate a relaxation response through the body. Self care is taught to support the changes that occurred during a session. Ortho-Bionomy relieves pain, tension and discomfort and brings about a feeling of wellbeing through a process that is interactive, educational and supportive. From www.ortho-bionomy.org
 
Orthopedic Massage - Taught by Whitney Lowe, Orthopedic Massage uses Medical and Sports massage to treat soft-tissue injuries. Strong emphasis on assessment, adaptabilty of treatment and using the correct treatment for the injury. Can be used as a Rehab Massage Technique.
 
Pain Management Massage - Not a specific technique but a type of bodywork and/or massage for pain relief or management. Especially useful for clients with chronic pain, fibromyalgia or injuries.
 
Pre-Natal Massage - Massage done for clients while they are pregnant. Helps relieve back, shoulder, neck and other pain associated with pregnancy. Also helps the client relax, which can help keep blood pressure lower, lessen swelling, and allow for easier delivery.
 
Pre/Post Event Massage - As the name implies these techniques are done before and after athletic events to help the client prepare, warm up and reduce chance of injury beforehand and reduce pain, spasm and the build up of wastes in muscle tissue after the event. Can be done on site or at a facility before and/or after the event.
 
Qigong - Meaning Life Force, Qigong is a gentle technique based on Chinese Medicine. It is a combination of breathing, movement, intention, healing and visualization to help create a balance in the body or in one's life. Practitioners usually practice the technique on themselves as well as treating clients.
 
Reflexology -  Done primarily on the feet and hands. Reflexology,whose roots are in Chinese medicine, stimulates points on the hands and feet that correlate to organs or areas in the body. Through stimulation of these points a connection is made between the organ and the extremity. This helps stimulate healing and lymph flow and can also be very relaxing.
 
Rehab Massage - Rehab/Injury Massage is used post injury or surgery to decrease adhesions/scar tissue, increase circulation, decrease post injury/surgery pain and help maintain ROM (range of motion). Done by experienced MTs after client has seen an MD.
 
Reiki - Japanese healing art. It is done with hands close to or on the body. There are 12  positions in Reiki which help the practitioner balance the client's energy as they move down the body through the positions. Can also be used within other bodywork sessions. Many MTs practice Reiki as well.
 
Relaxation - A term used to describe a basic massage. Can be Swedish, Esalen or any combination of techniques. Meant to relax with little or no deep work.
 
Rolfing - A technique developed by Ida Rolf. It is a Structural Integration technique which involves the stretching of fascia to correct habitual patterns of misalignment.
 
Shiatsu - The technique refers to the use of fingers and palm of one's hand to apply pressure to particular sections on the surface of the body for the purpose of correcting the imbalances of the body, and for maintaining and promoting health. It is also a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses. - Japansese medical department of the Ministry of Welfare (current Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) in December 1957.
 
Sports Massage - Massage usually done on athletes who need deeper work throughout their massage including stretching. It is for the client whose body has specific needs and who know their body fairly well. Sports massage should only be done by trained professionals. Can include Deep Tissue Massage but is distinguished by the fact that this massage is done to keep people who use and overuse their bodies in shape to perform, sometimes in spite of current injuries.
 
Stretching -  As the name implies it is simply a means of elongating the muscles to allow them to return to their normal less hypertrophied state. By stretching origin and insertion points to the point of tolerance a muscle is lengthened to allow a fuller relaxation upon release.
 
Swedish Massage - Originally called Swedish Gymnastic Massage. It is now a catch all term for any basic or relaxation massage therapy. It has evolved to be less vigorous and more relaxing than at its inception. It was meant to prepare athletes for competition and keep them performing better than their counterparts who weren't receiving massage.
 
Trager  - Technique developed by Milton Trager. Gentle movements, soothing technique for releasing pain points in the body.
 
Trigger Point Therapy - Technique used to relieve areas of congestion, tension or pain in a muscle. Involves putting pressure on an area in a certain manner to encourage its release. Can be done with thumbs, fingers, elbows or forearm.
Usually integrated into another massage modality and not used alone. Initially the technique can be uncomfortable but because of good results clients will tolerate the discomfort.


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