The term "Swedish Massage" refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
A Swedish doctor named Pir Henrik Ling developed Swedish massage in the 1700’s.
The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles.
Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable. Swedish Massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management. It also has many specific medical uses.
Generally regarded as the most common form of massage, Swedish massage involves a wide combination of strokes and concentrates on the muscles and connective tissues of the body for improved circulation, relaxation, pain relief, and overall health maintenance and well-being.
Deep Tissue Massage
“Deep Tissue Massage is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the fiber’s of the muscles, tendons and fascia.
Deep tissue massage is used to release chronic muscle tension through slower strokes and more direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles not with the grain. Deep tissue massage helps to break up and eliminate scar tissue. Deep tissue massage usually focuses on more specific areas and may cause some soreness during or right after the massage. However, if the massage is done correctly you should feel better than ever within a day or two.”
Sports Massage is a special form of massage and is typically used before, during, and after athletic events. The purpose of the massage is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries.
The main purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension, which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. The massage will help prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries. Sports massage can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether a person is an athlete or a once a week jogger.
Sports massage therapies are both preventative and therapeutic, and used for athletes during warm ups, training and competition to treat and/or aid in the prevention of injuries; help improve flexibility, range of motion, and performance; and aid in mental clarity. Virtually every professional sports team employs professional sports massage therapists, and are often privately employed by professional athletes.
Trigger Point Therapy
“Trigger point therapy is one of the most intriguing and fastest-growing bodywork styles in the world. Medical doctors, chiropractors, and alternative health practitioners are all beginning to use this technique to relieve joint and muscle pain—conditions that studies have shown to be the cause of nearly 25 percent of all doctor visits.
Doctors who specialize in pain treatment suggest that myofascial trigger points, or small contraction knots in muscles, are the primary cause for about 75 percent of chronic pain cases. They further report finding trigger points in virtually every patient they treat.
Because trigger points nearly always refer pain to parts of the body other than where they’re located, diagnosing and treating them is difficult—if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Often trigger points develop because of referred pain, or pain from another source that has manifested itself in a trigger point. Trigger points rarely refer pain to other areas.
Trigger point therapy seeks first to identify trigger points, then apply steady, appropriate pressure to the point to "release" it. This is usually followed by massage to the surrounding area to help treat the cause of the trigger point. Clients are encouraged to drink a lot of water following a trigger point therapy session to flush out any toxins released when the trigger point is released. “
The sweet burden of motherhood begins long before the baby is born. Throughout her pregnancy, an expectant mom watches her body change and experiences new aches and pains with each passing month.
But thanks to the increased popularity of prenatal massage, pregnancy today has become easier.
Massage is contraindicated until after the first trimester, due to the danger of miscarriage during that time. But after that, massage can ease pain and provide comfort during those nine long months.
In the second trimester, for example, when the baby sits high in the uterus and presses on the organs, massage around the diaphragm helps the mother relax and breath more freely, Mowles said. Light work around the hips and a gentle lifting of the baby can reduce pressure on the bladder, she added.
Around six months, when the hips really begin to spread, many women complain of sciatica, Mowles said. Massage during this time can ease some of the constriction of the gluteus and periformis muscles that leads to pain.
And as the woman’s center of gravity changes and her limbs swell, massage to the low back, legs, arms and hands can be a wonderful relief.
One of the main contributors to our everyday stress is our workplace. 70% of workers surveyed by a national survey stated that their job is very stressful. Stress is the #1 cause of disability. It costs employers billions of dollars a year on lost productivity and healthcare costs. Since workplace is stressful, it seems commonsense to provide some means of stress relief at the workplace. More and more employers are recognizing that a regular massage can reduce the physical and mental effects of stress, thus reducing burnout and stress related diseases.
"More and more companies offer massage therapy not only as a perk, but also to increase their employees’ productivity and morale," said E. Houston LeBrun, president-elect of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). "You get immediate results — the employees experience stress reduction and greater satisfaction with their jobs."
Indeed, studies have shown that massage improves bottom line of employers. A study by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami found that after five weeks, a group of 26 employees who had twice-weekly, 15-minute massages in the office fared better than a control group of 24 employees who were just told to close their eyes and relax. The massaged group experienced reduced stress and improved performance, while the control group did not. Using electroencephalograms (EEG), researchers measured alpha and beta waves in both groups, and found massage recipients to be more alert. Stress hormones in the saliva of the massaged group were lower than in the control group. The massaged workers completed math problems in half the time as normal and with half the errors they had before they were massaged. The math skills of the control group did not improve. The massage recipients also said they were less fatigued and more clear-headed.
Every year, more companies are heeding the call. There are no statistics on the number of companies that offer massage therapy onsite, but those that have offered it include law firms, hospitals, manufacturers and major corporations, such as Boeing, Apple Computer, PepsiCo, Sony Music and United Airlines.
Most companies contract with massage therapists who schedule appointments with employees during breaks. The recipient is seated in a specially designed chair which allows the therapist to work on the back, neck, shoulders and arms addressing the common problem areas of todays