Glossary Of Massage & Bodywork Terms
Acupressure Massage - is a therapy technique based on the methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses finger pressure at specific spots on the body called acupressure points to relieve pain and mobilize the life force engergy called "chi" or "qi". The acupressure points are sometimes called "acupoints" and correspond with acupuncture points.
Chair Massage - is administered while the client is clothed and seated in a specially designed chair. These chairs most often slope forward allowing access to the large muscles of the back. On-site massage usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes per person and is intended to relax, reduce muscular tension, and improve circulation.
Cranio-Sacral – is a technique for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause sensory, motor or intellectual dysfunction.
Cupping Therapy - or cupping massage, is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of fascial release or deep-tissue massage.
Deep Tissue – releases 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 grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.
Draping - A cover for the client, usually a sheet or towel(s) used to protect the client's modesty and keep him/her warm during the massage therapy session. In the State of Texas, massage regulations require that all female clients have their breasts draped during massage and all clients must have their genital area and gluteal cleavage draped. During sessions I use a full sheet for all clients.
Effleurage – is a stroke generally used in a Swedish massage treatment. This smooth, gliding stroke is used to relax soft tissue and is applied using both hands.
Friction – is the deepest of Swedish massage strokes. This stroke encompasses deep, circular movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. The result causes an increase in blood flow to the massaged area.
Full-Body - A full-body massage session may include treatment of the head, neck, shoulders, upper chest (excluding breasts), abdomen, arms, legs, buttocks, and back though the client may exclude any area at their discretion. A full-body massage does not include any contact with genitalia.
Housecall Massage - See Outcall
Incall - Massage therapy services performed in the Massage Therapist's office, clinic, or studio.
Licensed Massage Therapist - In the State of Texas, a person having completed the education requirements, and tests required to become authorized by the State of Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to perform Massage Therapy. In Texas all persons performing massage therapy must be Licensed Massage Therapists or hold another license that includes massage therapy such as a Physical Therapist.
Myofascial Release – is a form of bodywork that is manipulative in nature and seeks to rebalance the body by releasing tension in the fascia. Long, stretching strokes and holds are utilized to release muscular tension.
On-site Massage - See Chair Massage
Ortho-Bionomy - A non-invasive, osteopathically-based form of body therapy where the practitioner uses gentle movements and positions of the body to facilitate the change of stress and pain patterns. A strong focus is placed on the comfort of the individual, no forceful manipulations are used. The practitioner also suggests home exercises that individuals can do to further facilitate the process begun in the session.
Outcall - Massage therapy services performed at the client's home, office, hotel, or other location. Also known as a housecall massage, or on-site massage.
Petrissage (kneading) – involves squeezing, rolling and kneading the muscles and usually follows effleurage during Swedish massage.
Reflexology – massage based around a system of points in the hands and feet thought to correspond, or "reflex," to all areas of the body.
Rolfing - Also known as Structural Integration. A system of hands-on connective tissue manipulation and movement education aimed at releasing stress patterns, and helping the client move and function with greater freedom, and effortlessly maintain a more upright posture
Shiatsu – An Eastern therapy of physical and energy rebalance. Pressure with thumbs, fingers and palms applied to specific areas and points of the human body, without the use of any mechanical or of another type instrument, correcting internal dysfunctions, promoting and keeping the health and treating specific illnesses.
Sports Massage – massage therapy focusing on muscle systems relevant to a particular sport.
Swedish Massage – a system of long strokes, kneading and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of the muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints.
Tapotement (percussion) – is executed with cupped hands, fingers, loosely clenched fist, or the edge of the hand with short, alternating taps to the client.
Trigger Point Therapy (also known as Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy) – applies concentrated finger pressure to "trigger points" (painful irritated areas in muscles) to break cycles of spasm and pain.
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