Treatment Styles & Modalities
Injury treatment is generally slow, light and specific massage work focusing on specific areas of injury. In the acute phase of the injury, the goals are to decrease pain, increase mobility, increase circulation which speeds healing, and help the injured patient achieve higher and higher levels of mobility and freedom from pain. For older injuries, goals include breaking up scar tissue, increasing circulation, decreasing surrounding muscular tension and pain since the surrounding muscles will be working much harder to support or “guard” the injured area
Pregnancy Massage focuses of course on pregnant mothers and generally includes long strokes, kneading and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of the muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints, just like Swedish massage and is designed to reduce muscular tension and stress, decrease swelling of feet and legs and increase circulation.
Deep tissue techniques are generally designed for more focused massage work. Working a specific muscle or muscle group, the practitioner can access deeper layers of the soft tissue. Starting superficially and easing into the depth of the muscle slowly often allows more movement. If the pressure is applied too deeply or too quickly, the muscle may tighten to protect that area, and unnecessary damage or inflammation can be induced. Very little lubricant is used as the pressure doesn’t travel much over the skin. The most commonly used ‘tools’ during deep tissue massage may include, 3 and 6 fingers, reinforced fingers, knuckles, a flat elbow, opposing thumbs, the heel of the hand or foot, and the forearm. Deep tissue is similar to Myofascial Release.
Myofascial Release refers to the manual massage technique for stretching the fascia and releasing bonds between fascia, integument, and muscles with the goal of eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and equilibrioception. Injuries, stress, trauma, overuse and poor posture can cause restriction to fascia. This is usually done by applying shear compression or tension in various directions, or by skin rolling.
The Swedish style utilizes long, flowing strokes, often but not necessarily in the direction of the heart. There are six basic strokes: effleurage from the French effleurer, ‘to skim over’, petrissage from the French pétrir, ‘to knead’, friction, tapotement, compression, and vibration. Petrissage is a kneading movement with the whole palm or finger tips, using wringing, skin rolling, compression, and/or lifting. Petrissage is usually applied vertically to the muscle tissue. Oil, cream, or lotion is applied on the skin to reduce friction and allow smooth strokes. Effleurage consists of long, flowing or gliding strokes, performed with open hands. In many massage sessions, effleurage is used as the initial type of stroking, as it has a calming effect when performed slowly. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of eight weeks.