DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
While many massage techniques induce relaxation with soothing and gentle kneading, deep tissue massage involves more intense muscle manipulation, but offers proven healing that can restore mobility and relieve chronic pain.
Unlike most traditional massage that promotes whole-body relaxation, deep tissue massage is often used to target specific trouble spots after an accident or injury has left the client stiff and sore, as in instances of whiplash or falls. Repetitive- strain injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, benefit from deep tissue massage therapy, as well as those suffering from conditions like fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis that can cause achiness, inflammation and limited ease of movement. Chronic pain, muscle spasms and tenderness during recovery after an accident can all be effectively treated with therapeutic deep tissue massage.
Before a deep tissue massage, a trained and certified massage therapist will discuss the client’s accident, injury or complaints of generalized stiffness, gaining an understanding of how the pain or injury is impacting the client’s daily life and what he or she is hoping to gain from the massage therapy. The massage itself will be customized to the specific needs of the client, focusing on the stiff, sore and achy areas that are of the most concern.
Deep tissue massage works by breaking down muscle adhesions that often build up after an accident or are the result of a chronic illness. By applying intense, controlled pressure and friction to an afflicted area across the grain of the muscle, deep tissue massage relaxes rigid tissue and relieves the pain associated with stiff muscles, ligaments and tendons. Deep tissue massage may cause some discomfort and therapists encourage their clients to keep them informed about their comfort level and pain tolerance during deep tissue therapy. Therapists may encourage their clients to apply ice to tender spots following a deep tissue massage. Some soreness the day after a deep tissue massage can be expected, though the discomfort should pass in a day.
Indulgent and soothing, relaxation massage may not provide therapeutic treatment, but the psychological benefits of the deep relaxation it provides are equally beneficial to body, mind and spirit. Intended to relax tense muscles and ease stress, relaxation massage is the perfect antidote to workweek stress and a wonderful way to unwind.
Relaxation massage is typically performed in a temperature-controlled room with a soothing ambiance, delicate lighting and relaxing music playing in the background. The client lies comfortably on a massage table, undressed, but adequately draped with a large sheet. Usually performed in a salon environment, relaxation massage is also popular at resorts and hotels, and many offer spa services like relaxation massage in private cabanas for the ultimate luxurious treat.
Relaxation massage is entirely customizable. The massage therapist will tailor the massage to the needs and preferences of the client and increase or decrease pressure accordingly. Gentle and soothing, relaxation massage involves rubbing and kneading of the upper tissue layers, inducing deep relaxation that can often lull clients to sleep. Relaxation massage focuses on the neck muscles and shoulders, where much tension is held, as well as the muscles of the back, legs and feet for head-to-toe soothing. Fragrant oil aromatherapy is often combined with relaxation massage for a holistic and nurturing sensory experience.
Following a relaxation massage, clients should feel relaxed, pampered and recharged. In the hours following a relaxation massage, clients are encouraged to drink plenty of water to help flush toxins and to rehydrate the body.
Though originally designed to help athletes perform at optimum levels during games, sports massage is growing in popularity as an effective treatment for sport-related injuries or limited range of motion for people of all ages and fitness levels. Sports massage focuses on a client’s trouble spots, like shoulder soreness after eighteen holes of golf, or a tender hamstring just before a big race. Sports massage therapists understand sport-related injuries and can help minimize pain, speed recovery and help clients perform their best at their favorite activities with full range of motion.
There are four variations of sports massage and choosing the right one is based on the client’s current level of discomfort and upcoming athletic events:
- Pre-event sports massage involves a vigorous and stimulating Swedish massage that targets the muscles that will be used during the upcoming event, boosting circulation and revving up energy levels with brisk massage techniques that invigorate.
- Post-event sports massage is designed to help the athlete wind down after intense physical exertion, targets muscle soreness and helps to normalize body tissues and prevent muscle stiffness the next day.
- Restorative sports massage is provided during training to keep an athlete at peak performance level. Muscles are kept warm and supple, enabling more intense exertion during training time and minimizing the risk of injury.
- Rehabilitative sports massage is aimed at treating sports injuries and speeding recovery time. Targeted at a specific trouble spot, rehabilitative sports massage helps increase circulation and protect range of motion.
Attending to the unique needs of expectant mothers is the goal of every pregnancy massage. Certified pregnancy massage therapists are specially trained to tailor their massage techniques to help alleviate common pregnancy complaints and to protect both mother and child during the massage.
Pregnancy massage is unique in its application. During the massage, the expectant mother is carefully supported by cushions and pillows in order to provide superior comfort and to protect her and the baby from strain or injury. Pregnancy massage is especially gentle, and deep tissue techniques are never used as a safety precaution. Many areas of the body are avoided during pregnancy massage to protect mother and child and extra attention is given to areas of the body that are particularly affected by pregnancy, like the feet and back. To protect mother and baby, pregnancy massage is not advised during the first trimester, but can provide welcome relief later on, especially during the last few months of pregnancy.
The benefits of pregnancy massage are numerous. The gentle kneading massage can be supremely comforting both physically and emotionally to an expectant mother, and the psychological benefit itself can be quite therapeutic. In addition to stress and anxiety reduction, pregnancy massage can help reduce expectant mothers’ common aches and annoyances, like swollen ankles and lower back pain.
For children of all ages, physical touch is enormously beneficial. Lack of physical contact can lead babies to fail to thrive and cause depression and emotional disorders in growing children. For so many reasons, youth massage is a beautiful gift to provide to any child.
Infant massage has been regarded for centuries as a vital aspect of a healthy life. Touch is among the first of the senses to develop in newborns, and babies respond positively to human touch both physically and emotionally. Massage therapists trained in infant massage understand the special needs of small children and provide soothing massage that is nurturing and enjoyable to babies.
Children of all ages can benefit from regular massage as a stress reducer. Stress has been linked to immune system functionality, and regular massage has proven benefits in combating illness from asthma to eczema by boosting immunity and reducing stress. In addition, youth massage provides much-needed human touch that helps to promote healthy emotional development.
Children with special needs can benefit greatly from regular massage. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, can be regulated with massage by a trained youth massage therapist, and many clients report increased ability to focus and maintain better self-control in school with the help of massage. Youth massage can also help children fall asleep more easily, sleep more soundly and enjoy feelings of alertness all day long.