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Swedish massage, Trager, Myofascial, Neuromuscular Therapy, Chinese Orthopedics (Tui Na), Deep Tissue, CranioSacral, Reflexology, Sports � these are all different kinds of massage bodyworks. How to decide which one is best for you and how to get the most from your massage?
HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR MASSAGE
  1. Be as receptive and open to the process as possible.
  2. Do not eat just before a massage session.
  3. Give accurate health information and let the massage therapist know what your needs are.
  4. During a massage session, report any discomfort. Do not be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns.
  5. Breathing help to facilitate relaxation. Try to breathe deeply and evenly.
  6. Tightening up, t.e., contracting or hardening your muscles during the massage is counterproductive. If you are able to, relax those muscles.
  7. Do not get of the table too fast, you may get dizzy or lightheaded.
  8. Drink extra water after a massage.
  9. If possible allow for some open, quiet time after your massage session.
  10. Massage has its greatest benefits over time. The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative. The more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the quicker your body will respond.

Neuromuscular Therapy

By definition, Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is the utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses (which are responsible for every movement, function and thought) to the body very slowly. Injury, trauma, postural distortion or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body vulnerable to pain and dysfunction. It is therefore necessary to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health. Neuromuscular therapy is used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, sciatica, rotator cuff dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and migraines. It is also used in the treatment of some physical and sexual abuse-related traumas. Neuromuscular therapy is also the most effective type of massage therapy for lower back pain. Neuromuscular therapy is also used to locate and release spasms and hyper contractions in the tissue. It aids the healing process for injured tissue, assists in venous and lymphatic flow, restores postural alignment, and imparts flexibility to the tissues.


Trager Approach

�Many times after a real good session with a patient, I get so moved by their face that I must take them by the hand, take them to a mirror, and say �I want you to meet this person.� Sometimes they say, �I haven�t seen her in 25 years.� What I feel is that this is actually the soul of the individual uncovered.�
     Milton Trager, M.D.

Trager Approach is an approach to bodywork developed in the 1920s by American medical practitioner Dr. Milton Trager. It makes extensive use of touch-contact and encourages the client to experience the freeing-up of different parts of the body. The approach consists of simple exercises called Mentastics and deep, nonintrusive hands-on work, including fluid, gentle, rocking movements. The idea is to use motion in the muscles and joints to produce positive sensory feelings that are then fed back into the central nervous system. The result is a feeling of lightness, freedom, and flexibility. Trager Approach has reported success in treating a wide range of physical ailments: polio; muscular dystrophy and other degenerative muscular disorders; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson�s disease; poststroke trauma; chronic pain syndromes, such as low back problems; emphysema; migraine headaches; and asthma, etc. Individuals who receive Trager Work report the disappearance of discomfort and pains symptoms, increased levels of energy, more effortless posture and carriage, greater joint mobility, an higher sense of relaxation than were previously possible, vitality and mental clarity. They experience what they describe as a place beyond relaxation: �peace.� Many find that as the physical blockages in their bodies are removed, they feel emotionally freer, too. As body and mind become better integrated, the client feels better balanced and whole.


Myofascial Release

Myofascial release is a unique form of massage that targets the fascia, the thin tissue that covers every organ, muscle and fiber in the body. Myofascial release is a gentler form of massage that is specifically used to target such problems as back strain, chronic back pain, low back pain, thoracic back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic cervical pain, dizziness, vertigo, fibromyalgia, headache, plantar fasciitis, post-Polio symptoms, thoracic outlet syndrome, TMJ dysfunction, whiplash. The theory of Myofascial Release requires an understanding of the fascial system (or connective tissue).


Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage technique aim to affect the various layers of fascia that support muscle tissue and loosen bonds between the layers of connective tissues. It releases Patterson of tension and restores suppleness and length. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders. Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain. When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.


Tui Na - Chinese Massage

Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Tui Na -- meaning push-and-grasp -- is a form of medical massage that plays an important role in the Chinese healing arts. It has techniques that we know in the west from chiropractitioners, osteopaths, osteopathic medicine, physiotherapy and last not least massage. Like acupuncture, this ancient therapy both treats and prevents disease by applying primarily manual methods to remove obstructions in the energy pathways of the body and promoting an increase in the body's vital energy.

Tui Na, as practiced in China, encompasses a great breadth of healing work, which in Western medicine would be compartmentalized into the various specialties of orthopedics, chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy, sports medicine and energy work. A rich variety of Tui Na techniques work to improve blood circulation, reduce the displacement of joints, enhance joint mobility, heal soft tissue injuries, improve the functions of the internal organs, regulate the nerves and flush cellular tissues.

Tui Na has a long history and dates back to ancient times, as early as 2700 B.C. The oldest written medical text, The Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic (compiled between 500-300 B.C.), mentions the wide use of various techniques that are now considered Tui Na. Over time, many different applications of Tui Na developed, including self Tui Na for health maintenance, Tui Na for children, and Tui Na with herbal ointments that are specially formulated for individual conditions. In the 6th century, Tui Na spread to Japan, Korea and neighboring countries, where it served as the root for the many forms of Oriental bodywork that later emerged.


CranioSacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy is a recently developed hands-on approach to healing that applies gentle, noninvasive pressure to balance what is known as the craniosacral system. This system extends from the scull, face, and mouth (the cranium) down and within the spinal column to the sacrum and coccyx, the bones that form the tail end of the spine. CranioSacral Therapy has achieved promising success with a variety of ailments throughout the body it can be used to alleviate pain and stress; calm down the autonomic nervous system; lower high blood pressure and fever; improve fluid exchange and blood flow; lengthen the spine; and promote general relaxation. CranioSacral Therapy has proven particularly effective in relieving complaints related to the head � chronic and migraine headaches, sinus problems, whiplash, torticollis (stiff neck or wryneck), dizziness, tinnitus, eye strain and vision problems (such as lazy and crossed eyes), Bell�s palsy (facial paralysis), and even insomnia.


Sports Massage

Sports Massage is a specialty area of traditional massage that assists the body to achieve maximum physical results. Administered before physical activity, it can help protect against pain and injuries while boosting performance. Following physical exertion, it helps remove lactic acid and restore normal muscle tone and range of motion. Sports massage is a powerful aid to anyone who wants to use his body at maximum efficiency: not only professional but also weekend athletes; dancers, actors, musicians, and other performing artists; as well as people whose occupation require physical exertion, like painters, construction workers, and busy housewives. In short, sports massage can help nearly everyone.


Swedish

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. 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


Reflexology

Reflexology is a technique of manipulating the feet in order to improve circulation, ease pain, and increase relaxation in the body. Reflexology is based on the theory that all body parts, organs, and glands are associated with specific areas, called reflex zones, in the feet, hands, ears, and surface of the skin. By manipulating the associated zone, changes can be effected in the corresponding body part. For this reason, reflexology is sometimes called zone therapy. The feet have a large concentration of nerve endings and are, therefore, particularly sensitive. Reflexology induces the relaxation response, which counters stress and activates the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. It also improves circulation, most notably from the feet. By improving circulation, reflexology helps to cleanse the body of toxins. It also aids the exchange of oxygen, nutrients, and essential chemical metabolites among the cells of the body. This helps the body to maintain homeostasis, or a balance of dynamic equilibrium within its ever-changing internal environment. By inducing relaxation and improving circulation, reflexology supports the optimum functioning of the immune system and therefore can be an important part of a preventive health care program.

 
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