Techniques of Massage Therapy

Stripped off all pretense or flourishes, the basic intent of therapeutic massage is to manipulate the soft tissues purposefully to help heal the damaged, sore, bruised or otherwise impaired part of the body. There are, however, a seemingly vast number of specific specialized techniques and types of massage. There is Sports Massage, Myofascial Massage, Neuromuscular Massage, Swedish Massage, Acupressure, Thai Massage, Watsu and Hydrotherapeutic Massage. The massage therapist must look at the different kinds, examine their techniques and decide what is appropriate for their client.

This may seem an insurmountable difficulty, but it is not. You can easily divide the basic techniques of massage therapy into two categories: Eastern (or Oriental or Asian) and Western. Although there are hybrids of these two major categories of therapeutic massage, the techniques remain distinct. There are clear indicators of the focus and style of massage in hybrids.

Eastern Massage at its most traditional bases its massage techniques on a pressure point system. While the philosophy of Thai Massage, Shiatsu, An Mo and Tui Na refers to the existence of some form of universal life force of energy, the actual technique involves working on 출장마사지 specific points of the body. In Acupressure, for example, there are 365 acupoints on the body. A practitioner of this method uses the fingertips or hands to press on a specific point. This pressure, applied for a specific length of time, may relieve the pain, reduce tension, increase circulation, eliminate toxins and prevent nausea. In Reflexology, the practitioner utilizes reflex zones. Each point on the foot represents a specific part of the human anatomy. A point may have an association with a specific organ, gland or other body part. Pressing on the Reflex point helps remove congestion or imbalance within the body. This, in turn, prevents or removes disease and illness.

In the classic form of Western massage, there are no specific acupoints. The practitioner uses 5 basic hand motions to relieve stress, reduce tension and help the body heal itself. These 5 points for Classic Massage or Swedish Massage bear French nomenclature. They are Effleurage, Petrissage, Frictions, Tapotement and Vibration. Effleurage is long, smooth motions while Petrissage refers to a kneading of the flesh. In Frictions, a practitioner makes circular movements with the hands while in Tapotement the hands perform a tapping or percussion-like movements. With Vibration, the therapist uses two hands or thumbs to shake the flesh.

In Classic Western Massage, the hand and its parts work to manipulate the flesh. In Swedish Massage Therapy, the body is the entire canvas of the practitioner. In variations of Classic Massage, such as Sports Massage, the therapist usually focuses on a specific body part. In Traditional and modern forms of Asian Massage Therapy, the practitioner may utilize the fingers and other parts of the body to free energy. The desire is to use the techniques to unblock the channels for the entire body.

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