Beneficial Effects of Massage Therapy
Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage therapy include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state anxiety. Theories behind what massage therapy might do include blocking nociception (gait control theory), activating the parasympathetic nervous system which may stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep. Here at Derrick Family Chiropractic & Massage Center, we have an entire team of well trained, licensed massage therapists that are proficient in a number of massage techniques ranging from therapeutic deep tissue massage to relaxing Swedish massage. Please feel free to stop buy our office to schedule an appointment for massage therapy, or take a tour of our massage therapy and chiropractic facility.
The following massage techniques are just some of the massage services that we provide here at Derrick Family Chiropractic & Massage Center:
"Deep Tissue" Massage Defined
If you have ever been treated to a 60- or 90-minute massage and were told that you received a full-body "deep tissue massage", either you or your Massage Therapist may have been seriously misinformed. The term "deep tissue massage" is probably the most over-used and misused term in massage therapy. "Deep Tissue Massage" implies that the Massage Therapist will be penetrating into your muscle tissue, working IN BETWEEN your muscle tissue fibers - something that is impossible to accomplish with broad, gliding massage strokes over relaxed muscles. In fact, a thorough, full-body "deep tissue" massage would take several hours to several days to accomplish, regardless of the technique being used, and is not recommended for beginner massage recipients due to the large volume of toxins released during such a lengthy, aggressive process.
Many will argue that true Deep Tissue massage techniqes aren't really "massage" at all because the client doesn't get to relax until after the massage treatment is finished. In many cases, the massage treatment more resembles Physical Therapy than Massage Therapy, as the client is often required to participate by doing a good deal of the work.
There are five primary techniques for accomplishing "deep tissue" between-the-muscle-fibers massage:
Active Motion: In this massage technique, the client is working with the Massage Therapist in order to flex and stretch the muscle being worked as the therapist is applying firm pressure on it. When the client flexes a muscle, the fibers spread and the Massage Therapist can wiggle in between the muscle fibers; when the client stretches or relaxes the muscle, it softens to allow the therapist to work in a little deeper. The continuation of this alternating flex and relax/stretch allows for the most effective and painless penetration of the muscle tissue possible. Each muscle pair (the same muscle on both sides of the body) may take as long as 15-20 minutes to work efficiently, but can be sufficiently worked in as little as 5-10 minutes if worked lightly. Rolfing and Active Release are two examples of this type of deep tissue massage manipulation.
Passive Motion: This massage technique is similar to the Active Motion technique, except that the Massage Therapist is working the muscle with one hand and moving the body part being worked with the other hand. This technique is much more relaxing for the recipient, but is much more taxing for the therapist. A full-body treatment using this technique by a single Massage Therapist is nearly impossible, unless your Massage Therapist looks something like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Myofascial Release is one example of this type of deep tissue massage manipulation.
Static Pressure: In this massage technique, the Massage Therapist is using thumbs, fingertips and even elbows to apply firm pressure to individual points on a muscle. In order to encourage the muscle to relax and allow penetration in this technique, it is necessary for the Massage Therapist to move very, VERY slowly. One individual muscle may take as long as 20 minutes to cover sufficiently, and this massage technique often causes bruising and slight discomfort. Trigger Point Therapy is one example of this type of deep tissue massage manipulation.
Muscle Stripping: There are at least two variations of Muscle Stripping: Rapid and Slow. Rapid Muscle Stripping is the most aggressive and painful of the techniques discussed here, but may also be the most effective in extreme cases such as chronic pain conditions caused by incorrectly-healed or untreated past injury. In this massage technique, the Massage Therapist is using knuckles or elbows to firmly and rapidly "strip" the muscle while the client is breathing deeply and performing a rapid stretching movement with the body part being treated. It is recommended only in extreme cases, or when a rapid result is desired. In Slow Muscle Stripping, the therapist is using thumbs or elbows with very slow, firm, deep movements.
Negative Pressure: This massage technique involves the use of suction cups applied to the body, which causes the muscle fibers to expand and separate, as opposed to traditional pressure-strokes used in mainstream massage which compress the fibers together. By expanding the muscle tissue, it allows for additional space within the muscle for lactic acid and other toxins to flow and be released from the tissue more completely and more rapidly than with traditional massage techniques. The suction that occurs also forces body fluid to flow through the tissue, which further encourages toxins to be "flushed" from the area. It also allows the therapist to more effectively re-align tight muscle tissue fibers, which relieves the proverbial "knot" that is created by tension and excess lactic acid buildup. The down-side of this technique is the potential for "hickeys" to occur, which can be very alarming to a massage recipient who hasn't been fore-warned about their potential for occurence.
Many people, including many misled or under-trained massage therapists, mistakenly believe that a Swedish-type massage (a massage consisting of long, flowing strokes) that is applied with very firm pressure is a "deep tissue massage", but this is not an effective deep tissue massage technique, and this use of the term is inaccurate and misleading. Most commonly, deep tissue massage technique(s) are applied to one or two areas of the body during an otherwise relaxing, full-body, Swedish-style massage, which allows for a full-body treatment with focus to specific problem areas in a relatively short appointment-time. This may be what was originally referred to as a full-body "deep tissue" massage and may potentially be the origin of today's misconception.
(article written by Chena Talkington of Transformations Wellness Holistic Spa in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Opinions discussed in this article may not be shared by everyone in bodywork professions. Please discuss your needs and expectations with your individual Massage Therapist to ensure effective communication with the individual you're working with.)
Neuromuscular Massage Therapy
The most effective type of massage for lower back pain is neuromuscular massage therapy. Neuromuscular therapy massage is also called trigger point myotherapy Massage. The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury (such as a muscle strain).
Neuromuscular massage therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. The massage pressure is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbow. Once applied to a muscle spasm, the massage pressure should not vary for ten to thirty seconds.
Muscles that are in spasm will be painful to the touch. The pain is caused by ischemic muscle tissue. Ischemia means the muscle is lacking proper blood flow, usually due to the muscle spasm. This in turn creates the following undesirable process:
- Because the muscle is not receiving enough blood, the muscle is also not receiving enough oxygen
- The lack of oxygen causes the muscle to produce lactic acid
- The lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore following physical activity.
After the muscle is massaged and relaxed, the lactic acid will be released from the muscle, and the muscle should start receiving enough blood and oxygen.
Neuromuscular massage therapy will feel painful at first, but the massage pressure should alleviate the muscle spasm. At this point, it is extremely important to communicate with the massage therapist regarding the pressure - whether the pressure is too much, too little, getting better, getting worse. The Massage Therapist should listen and respond accordingly. The massage pressure should never be overly painful. In fact, most people describe the massage therapy pressure as "good pain".
Following a neuromuscular therapy massage, any soreness that presents itself should fade after twenty-four to thirty-six hours. The muscles that were tight should remain noticeably more relaxed for four to fourteen days, depending on stress, activity level, and severity of back pain prior to beginning massage therapy.
Relaxation Massage Therapy
Relaxation massage is essentially the same as a gentle Swedish massage that uses smooth, gliding strokes. The primary purpose will be to help you relax, and the massage therapist will probably move at a slower pace and use light pressure.
During a relaxation massage there is less emphasis on working out serious adhesions or knots in the muscle tissue and the therapist won't push your pain limits in order to get the muscle to release. Sometimes people even fall asleep during a relaxation massage.
There are still substantial health benefits to a relaxation massage, including calming the nervous system, promoting a sense of well-being, improving blood circulation and stimulating the body's lymphatic system, which carries away waste products.
Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. Pre-event massage is delivered at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. Fast-paced and stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. During the massage, the athlete generally focuses on visualizing the upcoming event. Post-event massage is also delivered on site, through the clothes. The intent here is to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. When an athlete sustains an injury, skillful massage therapy can often speed and improve the quality of healing.
SOMA MASSAGE is a unique development of the holographic body reading technique. Holographic body reading recognizes that each person has an individual blueprint, allowing for the practitioner to analyze this, personalize its needs, and design the sessions to correspond to those individual needs. The SOMA practitioner works with the fascia and musculature to restore circulation and return the body to its original perfection. See SOMA Neuromuscular Integration.
Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot, hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as zone therapy, this bodywork involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body's energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. This technique is used to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and stimulate circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-related illness and emotional disorders. Reflexology is also convenient in cases where an area of the body is traumatized or diseased to the extent that direct manipulation is not appropriate.
Stress Relief Massage
Stress Relief with Massage Therapy. Stress is defined as a condition when the human body is strained or subjected to more activities than what it can naturally or innately endure. The activities may not be always physical or mental, it can often be emotional, psychological or a mix of all of these. Stress has several neural-muscular-skeletal repercussions. Nerves are likely to be stressed which affect blood flow, muscles can get cramped or sore and there would be joint aches or tissue inflammation as a result of the above. In various cases, it has been noted in several studies that stress leads to headaches, neck pain, back pain and also enhances any pain that a person may be suffering from. For instance, if you have a joint ache then any form of stress can elevate the pain.
A massage is a physical therapy that involves various techniques to primarily offer a calming effect in the body. There are therapeutic massage treatments and physiotherapies among various other types. A massage could use hydrotherapy, ultrasound therapies or may just involve acupuncture. A normal massage may also be simply done by hands using some oils or lotions known to have a soothing effect. A massage calms the nerves causing them to dilate to their natural form rather than being pinched or strained. This leads to better blood circulation. Better blood circulation is not only essential to carry oxygen to all parts of the body but also the nutrients that different organs and bodily parts need to function normally. Massage causes muscle stimulation and can either inhibit them or create a tension as may be required for a specific person. Certain massage therapies use manipulation of the skeletal structures to lessen the pain. All such intricacies of a massage lower the stress levels.
These were the physical, muscular and neural aspects of massage for stress. There are certain hormonal factors as well.
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(CST), or cranial-sacral therapy, is a form of bodywork or alternative massage therapy focused primarily on the concept of "primary respiration" and regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid by using therapeutic touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. Craniosacral therapy was developed by Dr. John Upledger in the 1970s, and is loosely based on osteopathy in the cranial field (OCF), which was developed in the 1930s by William Garner Sutherland. In the United States, OCF, or cranial osteopathy, as it is more commonly known, can only be practiced by fully licensed physicians (DOs, MDs and, in some states licensed naturopathic physicians, or NDs) and dentists.
History and conceptual basis
Cranial Osteopathy was originated by osteopath William Sutherland (1873-1954) in 1898-1900. While looking at a disarticulated skull, Sutherland was struck by the idea that the cranial sutures of the temporal bones where they meet the parietal bones were "beveled, like the gills of a fish, indicating articular mobility for a respiratory mechanism.
From 1975 to 1983, osteopathic physician John E. Upledger and neurophysiologist and histologist Ernest W. Retzlaff worked a Michigan State University as clinical researchers and professors. They assembled a research team to investigate the purported pulse and further study Sutherland's theory of cranial bone movement. Upledger and Retzlaff went on to publish their results, which they interpreted as support for both the concept of cranial bone movement, and the concept of a cranial rhythm. Later reviews of these studies have concluded that their research did not meet enduring standards to offer conclusive proof for the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy and the existence of cranial bone movement.
Practitioners of craniosacral therapy assert that there are small, rhythmic motions of the cranial bones attributed to cerebrospinal fluid pressure or arterial pressure. The premise of CST is that palpation of the cranium can be used to detect this rhythmic movement of the cranial bones and selective pressures may be used to manipulate the cranial bones to achieve a therapeutic result. However, the degree of mobility and compliance of the cranial bones is considered controversial and is a critically important concept in craniosacral therapy.
The Massage Therapist lightly palpates the patient's body, and focuses intently on the communicated movements. A practitioner's feeling of being in tune with a patient is described as entrainment. Patients often report feelings of deep relaxation during and after the massage therapy session, and may feel light-headed.
There are few reports of adverse events from CST treatment. In one study of craniosacral manipulation in patients with traumatic brain syndrome, the incidence of adverse effects from treatment was 5%.
Primary respiratory mechanism
The Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM) has been summarized in five ideas.
Inherent motility of the central nervous system.
The postulated intracranial fluid fluctuation is described by practitioners as an interaction between four main components: arterial blood, capillary blood (brain volume), venous blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid
There is research which demonstrates examiners are unable to measure craniosacral motion reliably, as indicated by a lack of inter-rater agreement among examiners. The authors of this research conclude this "measurement error may be sufficiently large to render many clinical decisions potentially erroneous". Alternative medicine practitioners have interpreted this result as a product of entrainment between patient and practitioner, a principle which lacks scientific support. The subject of whether or not craniosacral motion can be reliably palpated remains a subject of debate with studies producing mixed results.
Mobility of the intracranial and intraspinal dural membranes intraspinal dural membranes
In 1970, Upledger observed during a surgical procedure on the neck what he described as a slow pulsating movement within the spinal meninges. He attempted to hold the membrane still and found that he could not due to the strength of the action behind the movement.
Mobility of the cranial bones
The extent to which cranial bones are able to move is considered controversial and studies of the existence and degree of cranial motion have yielded mixed findings. Cranial sutures are the areas in which the eight cranial bones are joined. During infancy, the cranial bones are not rigidly fused to each other, but are instead bound together by a membrane known as a fontanelle where two sutures join. Between the first and second year of life, the cranial bones begin to move together and fuse as a normal part of development. Studies examining the age of the closure of the cranial sutures have reported mixed findings. Closure has been reported to occur during adolescence while other studies indicate greater individual variability in the timing of this closure with fusion of the oid lambdoid suture, sagittal suture, and coronal sutures taking place in the fourth decade of life, but complete fusion of all sutures not occurring until advanced age (the eighth decade of life has been reported); some studies have found that the sutures never rigidly fuse. According to Gray's Anatomy, "when such sutures are tied by sutural ligament and periosteum, almost complete immobility results".
Pregnancy massage provides relaxation by relieving stress on joints. It eases neck and back pain, helps you to keep good posture and relaxes and provides flexibility to birthing muscles.
Pregnancy massage aids the circulatory and lymphatic systems, which keeps blood flowing to both the mother and the baby. It stimulates different glands in the body, which help to stabilize hormone levels, and relieves nervous tension throughout the body. And the nurturing touch during pregnancy massage promotes relaxation and provides emotional support. Post-Partum Pregnancy Massage Pregnancy massage is also good after giving birth. Postpartum pregnancy massage can help restore a mother's body to its pre-pregnancy condition. It helps to realign the body weight, and tones the over-stretched skin over the belly. As with all massage, it relieves muscle tension and stress from mothering duties!
Auto Injury Rehabilitaion massage
*Many health insurance companies cover therapeutic massage with a doctor's referral for massage therapy.
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