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Different Massage Modalities Essay

Massage modalities have been around since ancient times and have evolved with the recognition that touch combined with the natural defense and healing processes of the body is a restorative, maintenance and preventative treatment that counters the wear and tear effects of strenuous physical activity involved in day to day life. Most of the modalities discussed in this paper are of Western origins. The basic difference between Western and Eastern techniques lies in how they view the body and its functioning.

Western massage therapies treat the body as a physical structure, like a machine, which over time and along with human activity wears down. The “parts” suffering from damage and malfunction are “repaired” through massage therapy. Eastern therapists view the body as the interaction of the energies in the universe and a pattern of energy channels or meridians. Injury and illness are seen as obstructions or discrepancies in these channels. Thus the goal of massage therapy is to restore the normal, balanced and unimpeded flow of energy within the energy meridians.

Eastern massage therapies include TuiNa, shiatsu and Thai massage. Whatever paradigm one clings to, it is a fact that all types of massage therapy brings unparalleled benefits to the human body and mind and effective alternatives to existing medical treatments for pain and other body ailments. List of references http://www. acupressureschool. com/east_or_west. html Swedish Massage Swedish massage is the classic or traditional form of massage in the United States developed in Europe in the early 19th century by Pehr Henrik Ling, a Swedish gymnastics instructor.

Ling’s system was based on his classification of the massage forms used by ancient Greeks and Romans. Swedish massage is characterized by 5 fundamental strokes: effleurage – gliding, petrissage – kneading, friction – rubbing, tapotement – pounding and vibration – shaking, where each stroke contributes particular benefits. The use of French terminology for these strokes was popularized by Johann Mezger, a Dutch physician who advocated the use of Swedish massage as a medical treatment. Massage therapists have developed their own versions of Swedish massage based on these basic strokes.

The principal aim of Swedish massage is to increase the circulation of blood and oxygen without giving the heart an additional work load. Strokes are made following the movement of blood as it flows towards the heart resulting in smoother circulation which purges the body tissues from accumulated toxins such as lactic or uric acid, natural by-products of metabolism. The secondary purpose is to induce the relaxation of superficial muscles by rubbing them against deeper muscles and bones. Stretching the tendons and ligaments make them supple and pliant.

In the process, the skin and nerves are equally stimulated. Swedish massage promotes complete relaxation and reinvigoration from the general stresses of daily life through its positive effects on the nervous, circulatory, endocrine and the musculoskeletal systems. A typical full-body massage takes an hour or more to complete and is accompanied with the use of oils and lotions. List of references http://www. findamasseur. com/swedish-massage. html http://www. mamashealth. com/massage/sweed. asp Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is used as a rehabilitative treatment to muscle pain in constantly tense and compressed areas of the body such as the neck, back and shoulders. It is recommended for those recovering from injuries such as whiplash or falls as well as postural problems, repetitive strain injury (e. g. the carpal tunnel syndrome), fibromyalgia, ostheoarthritis pain and muscle tension or spasm. Chronic muscle tension occurs when there are adhesions or bands of painful, stiff and contracted muscles resulting in the inability of smooth blood circulation in the area, inflammation and constrained physical movement.

Deep tissue massage serves to break down adhesions and bring the muscles back to their normal state easing the pain and restoring unhampered movement. A combination of Swedish and Thai massage strokes are used but performed slower and with more intense finger pressure localized on the areas of pain in order to align the deeper muscles, tendons and myofascia (connective tissues), layer by layer. Penetrating movements involve compression along the length of the muscle fiber and cross fiber friction as well.

The knuckles, elbow, fist and forearm are also used by massage therapists in the process. It is expected that there may be pain during and after the massage and it is helpful for the therapist if the client voices out when the strokes are beyond their comfort zone. Pain normally subsides in a few days and applying ice on the area is recommended for relief. List of references http://altmedicine. about. com/od/massage/a/massage. htm http://drdavedc. com/deep-tissue. html http://www. amtamassage. org/about/terms. html http://www. tealcenter. com/modalities.

shtml#Anchor-NEUROMUSCULAR-24500 Trigger Point Therapy Trigger point therapy is also known as myotherapy or neuromuscular therapy. This massage modality was introduced by Janet Travell and David Simons and developed around the theory that pain is caused by myofascial trigger points which are tiny contraction knots that form in a muscle once it is injured or subjected to too much stress. Muscles are made up of sacromeres, tiny units that alternately contract and relax in a synchronized fashion during body movement enabling blood circulation.

Trigger points develop when sacromeres overlap and become entwined. Blood flow is impeded in the immediate area and the oxygen shortage results in the accumulation of metabolic wastes which irritate the knotted sacromeres. These trigger points send out pain signals, not from its actual site but from another part of the muscle or body, hence the concept of referred pain. Trigger point therapists say that it is ineffective to treat muscle pain where it hurts. One has to look for the site of the trigger point and apply therapy there to guarantee successful treatment.

Travel and Simons reveal that headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back pain, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome can be attributed to trigger points and that they are also the causes of pain in the shoulder, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle joints that is so often mistakenly diagnosed for arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, or ligament injury. Trigger points also display other seemingly unrelated symptoms such as dizziness, earaches, sinusitis, nausea, heartburn, false heart pain, heart arrhythmia, genital pain, and numbness in the hands and feet.

Even fibromyalgia is said to have its beginnings with myofascial trigger points. Using mainly finger pressure, trigger point therapy releases the interlocked sacromeres into a state where they are neither contracted nor stretched. Typical therapy lasts between 3-10 days in order to achieve marked results. In treating chronic conditions that have also persisted over long periods of time, results can be achieved in a span of 3 weeks. List of references http://www. amtamassage. org/about/terms.

html http://www. triggerpointbook. com/triggerp. htm Therapeutic Bodywork Therapeutic bodywork is a modality that combines Western and Eastern massage practices with emphasis on establishing harmony between mind and body. Stress, injury, traumatic experiences and anxiety affects not only the mind but also the body. This form of massage aims to bring about complete relaxation of both spheres by reinstating the natural flow of energy, with particular consideration of the breathing pattern.

Massage strokes using the palms and forearm in long, rhythmic flowing movements alternating light and deep pressure, holding and stretching relieves the body and mind of deep seated tensions giving a sense of completeness, wellness, reinvigoration and freedom. Touch facilitates the innate body processes involved in self healing and should be treated as a maintenance therapy for the prevention of dysfunction in both body and mind brought about by daily stresses in life. List of references http://www. bodywork-Londonvienna.

co. uk/phdi/p1. nsf/supppages/1702? opendocument&part=2 http://www. therapeuticbodywork. co. uk/therapies_holistic. html Sports Massage Sports massage is utilized both for treatment of muscle stress after intense physical activity (post-event) or for muscle conditioning before engaging in it (pre-event). Thus, it decreases the chances for injury while increasing performance levels and mobility. It also promotes a positive mindset with the release of body endorphins and a relaxed state after activity.

Strokes intended for athletes include vigorous manipulation, assisted stretching for muscle warm-up prior to strenuous movement and soothing manipulation to ease muscle contractions and promote blood circulation after physical exertion. If injury occurs, focused massage movements are applied to lessen muscle inflammation, facilitate recovery and prevent scar tissue formation. There are massage techniques aimed for particular body areas and also particular injuries. Specifically, sports massage can render the following physiological benefits: 1.

Improved tissue permeability – deep pressure massage strokes enable constricted tissue membranes to open up and allow vital body fluids to enter and for metabolic waste products such as lactic and uric acid to be flushed out. The entry of much needed nutrients and oxygen through the blood enable muscles to heal faster. 2. Thorough stretching of muscles – massage stretches muscles, ligaments and tendons in a way that can not be achieved using traditional methods. Muscles are stretched lengthwise and crosswise. Massage also stretches the myofascia, or the thin membrane that holds muscles together, thereby releasing tension there.

3. Restores tissue elasticity – grueling training can cause tissues to become rigid and inflexible. Massage can make overworked tissues pliant and elastic. 4. Promotes micro-circulation – massage facilitates smooth blood flow to tissues by expanding blood vessels in order for oxygen and nutrients to pass through unhampered. The development of classic or Swedish massage techniques into a modality that was appropriate for athletes’ conditions and needs began in the early 1900’s in Finland, specifically in the Finnish School of Massage.

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