The field of massage therapy is very diverse. There are a number of techniques that fall under the heading of massage therapy. These are the techniques I use in my San Antonio Massage Therapy and Bodywork pracitce as a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and Certified Neuromuscular Therapist (CNMT) to relax you, relieve you of stress, and reduce or eliminate pain:
Swedish Massage | Neuromuscular Therapy | Medical Massage | Myofascial Release | Sports Massage | Deep Tissue Massage | Muscle Energy Technique | Reflexology | Ortho-Bionomy | Trigger Point Therapy | Natural Reflex Therapy | Pregnancy Massage | Chair Massage | Positional Release Therapy | Myoskeletal Alignment Technique
Swedish Massage: This is the relaxing, stress-reducing type of massage most people think about when they want a massage. Swedish massage includes gliding, kneading, and striking strokes as well as friction strokes, stretching, joint movements, gentle shaking, and rocking. Generally, Swedish massage is a full-body massage and is very relaxing and has therapeutic benefits. Swedish Massage technique can also focus on one area of the body such as the back if that is the client's desire. Swedish Massage sessions are typically 1 hour to 90 minutes, but can be shorter or longer as desired. How often should you get massage? Click here to find out.
Neuromuscular Therapy: Also called NMT or sometimes Trigger Point Therapy. Neuromuscular Therapy is a system of soft tissue manipulation techniques that seek to balance the nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. This is one of the methods I use to help clients experiencing pain and it's very gentle and effective. Stated in simplest terms, I release trigger points in muscles, and help correct muscular imbalances that can cause pain and discomfort. Additionally, Neuromuscular Therapy uses soft tissue manipulations on tendons and other connective tissue to assist in muscle balance. Neuromuscular Therapy also addresses nerve pain caused by pressure from soft tissues including muscles, fascia, and tendons. Neuromuscular Therapy is effective in helping with conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD), Back pain, Neck pain, Scoliosis, Sciatica, Fibromyalgia (FMS), and Migraines. More About NMT for Therapists or an NMT Article for Clients
Trigger Point Therapy: This type of therapy targets the sore, irritable, tight spots in muscles called trigger points. These trigger points can cause the whole muscle to be tight and painful, or even restrict movement in a joint. They can also "refer" pain to areas elsewhere in the body. In Trigger Point Therapy the Massage Therapist carefully seeks out the trigger points in muscles and uses specific compression techniques which allow the trigger points to release. The Trigger Point Therapy technique is often employed as part of NMT or Deep Tissue procedures and is a great method for relieving muscular pain and tension. Trigger Point Article
Myofascial Release: This technique, while it doesn't feel like other types of massage therapy, is another gentle and highly effective form of soft tissue manipulation (massage) used by the therapist to help release of restrictions in your fascia (a widespread connective tissue) that can cause tightness and pain. If you feel that you could relieve your discomfort or pain if you could "just stretch that area" then Myofascial Release could be just what you're looking for. The gentleness of Myofascial Release makes it the treatment of choice for many who suffer from Fibromyalgia, some forms of Scoliosis and Torticollis, Lupus, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, and other painful conditions.
Sports Massage: Sports Massage is generally used to help improve athletic performance. Most often the Sports Massage is focused on the muscles and tissues used most in the athletes sport, i.e., runners focus on their legs and hips. The techniques used in Sports Massage include those used in Deep Tissue or Swedish Massage but may be combined with other techniques like Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT), Myofascial Release (MFR), and stretching (PNF and MET). The Sports Massage session might also include Orthopedic (Functional) Assessment. Exactly how it is done depends on whether the Sports Massage is being used to prepare for an event, recover from an event (helping with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), or assist in treating an injury.
Deep Tissue Massage: Deep Tissue Massage is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit. Deep Tissue Massage is a massage of the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissues of the body. Deep Tissue Massage is used to provide a more therapeutic effect by massaging all layers from superficial (closer to the skin) to deep (closer to the bone). It relaxes the muscles, rids them of built up metabolic waste, and helps release adhesions between muscles and connective tissues. It can also be useful in preventing scar tissue build up from injuries to muscles and connective tissues.
Muscle Energy Technique: Muscle Energy Techniques (MET) are those manipulative treatments in which a client, on request, actively uses his or her muscles from a controlled position in a very specific direction against a distinct counterforce provided by the therapist which will vary according to results desired and condition of the client. In other words it's an advanced form of stretching. MET can be used for a variety of reasons including releasing tight muscles, mobilizing joints in which movement is restricted, improving local circulation, "breaking down" tough fibrotic (scar) tissue so that it can be replaced by healthier tissue, assist in releasing painful trigger points, and decreasing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
Reflexology: Usually applied to the feet and/or hands, Reflexology stimulates points on the body/feet/hands called "reflexes" that correlate to other parts of the body. Practitioners believe that the entire body is reflected in the hands and feet and can be affected through massage of "reflex" points. Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised!
Ortho-Bionomy ®: Ortho-Bionomy is a non-invasive, gentle form of bodywork based on the work of Osteopathic physician Arthur Lincoln Pauls. It is very effective in pain management and relief, correcting structural imbalances, and helping relieve chronic stress. Ortho-Bionomy works by engaging the body's own corrective reflexes within the neuromuscular system using gentle movements to positions of ease, and light compression of joints. Ortho-Bionomy may be used alone or incorporated into a more traditional massage therapy session. I've found it to be quite effective, safe, relaxing, and therapeutic. Ortho-Bionomy Article
Natural Reflex Therapy ®: Natural Reflex Therapy (NRT) is a unique blending of reflexive therapy approaches including Ortho-Bionomy, Positional Release, Reflexology, and Chapman's Neurolymphatic Reflexes. NRT helps reduce pain and dysfunction by gently stimulating specific reflex points on the body and feet and safely moving bones, muscles, and joints into reflex positions. NRT is effective in helping a wide variety of conditions from sports injuries to headaches, scoliosis, whiplash, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, and much more. NRT sessions provide needed relief from pain and stress, are relaxing, and are usually done with the client fully clothed.
Pregnancy Massage: Pregnancy massage has gained tremendous popularity by helping the mother-to-be remain comfortable during her pregnancy and in many cases have an easier delivery. Pregnancy massage relieves muscle spasms and cramps associated with the stress of extra weight bearing and physical changes that occur during pregnancy. It also reduces stress and teaches the mother to relax. Relaxation is one of the keys to labor and delivery. The gestation process is enhanced through increasing blood circulation, lymph circulation, reducing edema, increasing cellular respiration. Pregnancy massage also provides emotional support and physical nurturing which may be passed on to the baby. Pregnancy massage also assists in reducing the stress in the weight bearing joints and the muscles, helping to enhance breathing capacity which is needed during labor and delivery. Pregnancy massasge may be used in conjunction with other types of therapy including Neuromuscular Therapy and Ortho-Bionomy.
Onsite Chair Massage: Chair massage, or Seated massage, is performed while the client remains fully clothed and seated in a specially designed massage chair. The massage chair allow the Massage Therapist to massage the client's head, neck, back, and arms in a typical 10-15 minute session. The high portability of the massage chair and the fact that client's are fully clothed means that massage sessions can be completed nearly anywhere. Chair massage makes a great gift for employees or special clients. Receiving chair massage in the office has been shown to reduce stress and increase employee productivity. Chair massage is also a popular attraction at trade shows and conventions.
Medical Massage: In Medical Massage the Medical Massage Therapist treats specific muscular and connective tissue problems with techniques directed at achieving favorable client outcomes under the supervision and written orders of the client's physician. More simply stated, the Medical Massage Therapist is a massage therapist with advanced training in the assessment of soft tissue dysfunction and treatment that works with your doctor to relieve your pain, improve function and Range of Motion, and improve posture as needed.
Positional Release Therapy: Positional Release Therapy (PRT) is a gentle and exceptionally effective form of therapeutic bodywork based on the work of Dr. Laurence Jones and Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls. Positonal Release Therapy is used to relieve pain, reduce the effects of trauma, and release held tension patterns in the body. During a typical Positional Release Therapy session the therapist treats the client while he/she remains fully clothed and lies on a comfortably padded therapy table. The therapist moves the client to pain-free positions and holds them while applying gentle compressions to joints and tissues, allowing the body to release tension and pain. Sessions are gentle and relaxing, but have very therapeutic effect. Positional Release Therapy may be done as the full treatment, but may also be included with other types of massage and bodywork.
Myoskeletal Alignment Technique: Myoskeletal Alignment Technique (MAT) is a powerful method of relieving pain by breaking pain/spasm/pain cycles using a therapeutic blending of muscle balancing routines with unique joint-capsule maneuvers. One of MAT's major contributions is the emphasis on treating stubborn pain conditions by mobilizing joints through muscle manipulation. MAT is effective for a wide range of pain conditions including neck pain, back pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, and much more.
Ortho-Bionomy® is a registered trademark of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International
Natural Reflex Therapy® is a registered trademark of the Integrative Healing Institute and is used by permission.
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