Therapeutic Massage

The benefits of massage therapy are increased range of motion, flexibility, stress reduction, and improved circulation. The massage therapist will use different techniques depending on their patients needs. Therapeutic massage is a process of manual manipulation of the body’s muscular and soft tissue structure through a variety of techniques.

The common techniques of massage therapy are:

Swedish Massage: Depending on the application and use, massage is beneficial in treating sports injuries and other problems affecting the muscles of the body. Massage is not for everyone however. Some contraindications include: deep vein thrombosis, bleeding disorders, taking blood thinners, damaged blood vessels, etc. Some conditions that may benefit from massage include: back pain, headache, osteoarthritis, anxiety, depression, etc.

Deep Tissue Massage: The term “No Pain No Gain” is commonly used when one thinks of deep tissue massage. This however is not true because when the body senses pain it tenses up the muscle fibers to protect themselves. The muscles cannot be properly stretched through massage when said muscles are contracted. This massage is slower, more deep massage used to treat specific problem areas.

Reflexology: Based on the belief that there are points on the hands, ears and feet to stimulate other regions of the body including glands and organs. Most commonly used as a preventative therapy to reduce stress, increase circulation and soothe the nervous system. Some contraindications include: neuropathy, ingrown toenails, infections, pitted edema, gout, warts and athletes foot.

Myofascial Release: Fascia is a band or sheath of connective tissue beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes and separates muscles. Myofascial release separates fascia from the muscle allowing maximum length and range of motion of the muscles to be achieved. This causes the body to regain its optimal form and function. Some find myofascial work relaxing and enjoyable. It also helps reduce chronic stress as well as helps the body reduce the number of stress related chemicals in the body.

Essential Oils/Aromatherapy

The massage therapist can incorporate using essential oils while treating the patient.  Aromatherapy can be defined as the use of naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.  Aromatherapy effects the physiological, psychological and spiritual realm of the patient.  As a holistic medicine, aromatherapy is both a preventative approach as well as an active treatment during acute and chronic stages of illness or disease. Some therapeutic actions of essential oils include: acting as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, expectorant and relaxant along with many other actions.
It is a natural, non-invasive treatment designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself.

Most common ways to use essential oils are aromatically and topically.

Aromatic applications can:

  • Be nurturing to the respiratory system, including the sinuses.
  • Have a supportive affect on moods, the hormonal system, tension, etc.
  • Increase indoor air quality or help protect against environmental threats.
  • The positive compounds and their properties, once within our blood stream, can encourage our immune system response or promote well-being in a multitude of ways.

 Topical applications:

In a Massage: Massage is one of the most enjoyable ways to use essential oils topically. Massaging the oils into joints, muscles, and tissues is relaxing and beneficial. Always move toward the heart when working on the arms and legs and avoid a heavy hand, or moving over the spine or other sensitive areas, with too much pressure.

Over the Area of Concern: The next option is to apply the oils to the chest, the abdomen, back of the neck, or directly over the area of concern (diluted as indicated). You can also apply to the energy centers of the body.

Over the Reflex Points: But probably the best, most effective, and yet gentlest option for how to use essential oils, especially for sensitive skin, children, or elderly, is to apply the oils to the reflex points of the feet, hands, and even ears (still dilute as needed). The feet especially are beneficial because they absorb the oil into the blood stream, but they are tough enough to make the likelihood of irritation much less if your skin is prone to reactions, and they are easy to cover if you don’t like the aroma or if you’re applying to a child and don’t want them touching it (cover their feet with socks). The reflex points of the hands and feet also correspond to the different areas of the body by way of the nervous system. Learning how to use essential oils is made easier with visual guides to reflexology to understand which reflex points to massage the oil into based on the area of the body you wish to support.

"Massage relaxes your mind, heals your body, refreshes your soul."