A Natural Way to Heal
The basic philosophy of massage therapy embraces the concept of vis Medicatrix naturae, which means "aiding the ability of the body to heal itself."
Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, primarily with a hands-on/manual approach. Techniques are used that enhance tissue healing, improve the flow of blood and lymph, reduce muscular tension or flaccidity and affect the nervous system through stimulation or sedation.
Techniques may include applying fixed or movable pressure, providing traction, holding or causing movement of joints, muscles or body tissues. While massage therapy is applied primarily with the hands, sometimes the forearms or elbows are used. The techniques applied are used to affect the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, and other systems of the body.
General Treatment Styles
Swedish massage uses a system of long gliding strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles, generally in the direction of blood flow toward the heart. It is used to promote general relaxation, improve circulation and range of motion, relieve muscle tension and is sometimes combined with active and passive movements of the joints.
Deep tissue massage is applied with greater pressure into the deeper layers of muscle. It is used to release chronic patterns of muscular tension using slow strokes, direct pressure, or friction to the muscles or tendons. It is effective for chronic muscular tension.
Neuromuscular massage is a form of deep massage that is applied to individual muscles and used primarily to release trigger points ie: intense knots of muscle tension that refer pain to other parts of the body. Releasing knots allows an increase in blood flow back to the muscle helping restore length and promote health of the tissue. Trigger point massage and myotherapy are similar forms. It is often used to reduce pain.
Acupressure applies finger or thumb pressure to specific points located on the energy pathways or "meridians". The purpose is to release blocked energy along these meridians that may be causing physical discomfort. The rebalance of energy flow releases tension and its purpose is to restore function of organs and muscles in the body.