Going Swedish

Want to de-stress and detoxify yourself after a long week of tension, panic and chaos? Then this massage is perfect to ease that nagging back pain or that perpetual crick in your neck. One of the most common Western forms of massage is the Swedish body massage. This type of massage pays special attention to your back, legs, arms and neck, and will tackle your stiff shoulders!

The Swedish massage was developed by Per Henrick Ling in Sweden in the 1830’s. It employs light to medium pressure and aims to hasten the return of the blood from the extremities back to the heart. It is designed in such a way that the muscles relax by applying pressure to them against deeper muscle and bones while simultaneously rubbing in the same direction as the blood flow back to your blood pump.

And last, a full body massage along with some nice music and calming ambience evokes a sense of well being and reduces anxiety. It creates a connection between the body and mind, an awareness of the body’s physical state and kindles energy from all levels.

The Technique

Swedish massage techniques include: long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration, effleurage, and shaking motions. The usually sequence of techniques are:

  • Effleurage: Gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips
  • Petrissage: Kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingers
  • Friction: Circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingers
  • Vibration: Oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the muscles
  • Percussion: Brisk hacking or tapping
  • Passive and active movements: Bending and stretching

Mmmm! Hot Stones

hot stones and massage oil at spa

Hot stone massage is a specialty technique that uses smooth, heated stones to relax tight muscles. The stones are often basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat well. It is a deeply soothing, relaxing form of massage. The heat helps tight muscles release so the therapist may work deeper into the muscle without the client leaving sore.

The therapist uses traditional strokes of Swedish massage while holding a heated stone. As the stone cools, the therapist replaces it with another. During the treatment stones are left on certain points of the body to bring the body into a deeper relaxed state and help the flow of energy in your body. As with the other massage therapies, hot stone massage is associated with many benefits.

Benefits of this type of massage include easy relaxation of the muscles, pain reduction, and the release of toxins. It promotes overall health by improving circulation throughout the body.

People also get hot stone massage for a variety of health conditions:

  • Back pain and aches
  • Poor circulation
  • Osteoarthritis and arthritis pain
  • Stress, anxiety and tension
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Have you Bamboo’d?

bamboo forest

Bamboo massage utilizes is an alternative massage technique that utilizes four 15-inch bamboo cane stalks to apply pressure, kneading and stroking techniques in order to stretch the fascia — a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ.

Long, thick bamboo canes are used for gliding strokes on the back and thighs, and small, thin ones are utilized for detailed work on smaller muscles in the hands and feet.  As with a hot stone massage, the sticks may be warmed with a heating pad to assist in the relaxation of the muscles.

There are several benefits of this type of massage including improved circulation, sensory nerve perception, and lymphatic drainage. It also provides a sense of deep relaxation and well-being.

Pre-Natal Massage

pregnant woman holding a flower with a colorful background

Expectant moms experience unique physical and emotional changes that occur as a result of increased weight, shifting posture and adjusting hormone levels. While this is a beautiful period of heightened expectation and joy, mothers-to-be also endure an increase in physical discomfort that ranges from muscular tension and headaches to pressure on the knees.

Prenatal massage is a natural, touch therapy treatment aimed at alleviating these and other pregnancy related symptoms. Experienced therapists choose techniques that are safe and effective for pregnant women. Prenatal massage offers a wide range of benefits: increased circulation, improved digestion, reduced fatigue and much more.

All expectant mothers should check with their doctors prior to getting a massage. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or are in the early stages of pregnancy, pre-natal massage may not be recommended. It is important to share information about your condition and your preferences with your massage therapist. The therapist will adjust your massage to make it as soothing and as useful as possible based on your personal needs and preferences.

Doctors clearance must be provided.

Reflexology

Reflexology is based on the belief that there are reflex zones on the feet, hands, and ears that correspond to all parts of the body including major organs. Applying pressure to specific areas on the feet, hands, and ears, affects nerves, which then carry signals to other parts of the body promoting good health.

Reflexology has many benefits. In addition to feeling good, reflexology also promotes relaxation in the body, improved lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. Each person responds to reflexology in a unique way and, on occasion, may experience a variety of short term reactions such as extreme relaxation, tiredness, lethargy or tearfulness.

Reflexology is not a cure-all. However, it helps relieve pain associated with migraines, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems, back problems, tension and stress.

Deep Tissue

When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.

Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.

Techniques
Deep tissue massage techniques are the same as the techniques used in Swedish massage, but the pressure is more intense. The techniques used include:

  • Effleurage: This technique involves gliding stokes using the fingertips and/or thumbs and the palms of the hands.
  • Friction: This technique involves using circular pressure with the fingers and/or thumbs and the palms of the hands.
  • Percussion: This technique involves tapping or brisk hacking.
  • Petrissage: This technique includes kneading movements using the fingers and/or thumbs and the palms of the hands.
  • Vibration: This technique involves vibrating or shaking the body using oscillatory movements.
  • Active and Passive Movements: This technique involves stretching and bending.
Deep tissue massage shouldn’t be painful. Well-trained deep tissue massage therapists work very slowly, within the client’s tolerance, to stretch muscle layers without causing pain or damage. It often results in a little soreness afterwards, but you should feel better, not worse, after your massage.