Rhythmic massage using light, flowing, long strokes to connect you from top of your head to soles of your feet. It is a relaxing massage for the superficial layers of your body. Swedish Massage can reduce stress and increase circulation. Think of it as a sabbatical for your mind and body. Gentle, deliberate range of motion for joints can also be a part of Swedish Massage.
Integrative Reflexology® was developed by Claire Marie Miller, a Massage Therapist in Chapel Hill North Carolina.
There are reflex areas in the feet and hands that correspond to every part of the body including organs and glands. The areas can be affected by stimulating the appropriate reflex point with finger or thumb compression to promote energy flow. Reflexology is based on the four theories of Structural Alignment, Zones, Meridians, and Psychoneuroimmunology. Working with the structural alignment of the feet can improve function the body by freeing the fascia that is holding tension. Working with Chinese meridians is done to achieve greater balance in the system. Working on the different zones can improve function within each cavity of the body. And psychoneuroimmunology is the mind-body connection that works on the interactions between the brain (psycho), the nervous system (neuro), and the immune system (immunology).
Myofascial release is a type of soft tissue therapy that attempts to release chronic tension in the fascia (the connective tissues surrounding muscles) due to trauma, posture, or inflammation. Points of restriction in the fascia can place a great deal of pressure on nerves and muscles causing chronic pain. Long stretching strokes are used to balance tissues which can help relieve pain and increase range of motion. Normal fascia should feel pliable and elastic. Myofascial massage targets the fascia, not the muscles.
Working with the same theory of acupuncture (but without the needles), acupressure stimulates points on the body to release muscular congestion and promote circulation of the body’s life force (known as Qi or Chi) to aid healing.
Suction therapy using cups (I use plastic & silicon but glass is also common) to create negative pressure, also known as myofascial decompression. Cupping creates space and separation in the tissues to reduce stagnation and promote circulation. Cups are either left in place for five to fifteen minutes(static) or they are slid across the skin (dynamic). Once removed, you may have discolored cup marks which could last up to seven days.
Trigger Point Therapy:
Cycles of isolated direct pressure and release are used to work on trigger points. A trigger point is a small area of tightly contracted muscle, a micro-cramp afflicting a tiny patch of muscle tissue. This small patch of muscle chokes off its own blood supply, which irritates it even more, creating a vicious cycle. Trigger Points are usually very tender, causing “referral” pain and restrictions to other parts of the body.
Slow, deep strokes are used to help relieve tension. This may include direct pressure, myofascial release, friction, and/or cross fiber work. Breath work and movement may also be employed during a DT massage. Deep tissue work creates physiological changes in the tissue that then create systemic changes. By allowing layers to move independently and slide or glide upon each other, the quality of the soft tissue can be improved. Please understand, I personally do not subscribe to “dig-into-me-deep, no-pain-no-gain”, but rather a “tolerable-tender” pressure. Due to the slow and deliberate strokes, DT massage does not cover the entire body during one session; it is best for specific muscles that need the attention.