New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists

 

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Different Types of Massage and Bodywork


Swedish Massage – The most common type of massage can be called the godmother of all Western forms of massage. This is a relaxing massage to reduce muscle tension, increase circulation and promote general wellness. It is based on five basic strokes: effleurage, a long, gliding stroke; petrissage, a kneading action; friction, circular movements and the deepest of the strokes; tapotement or “tapping,” which increases circulation in the areas being worked on; and vibration, a strong rhythmic shaking of the hands.


Acupressure and Shiatsu - These massage techniques are based on Chinese medicine, which teaches that good health depends on the circulation of vital life energy - or qi - through the body’s invisible energy pathways, called meridians. Acupressure treats the same 365 points that are used in acupuncture, while shiatsu treats more than 600 points. Acupressure uses less force for longer periods of time; shiatsu tends to be more vigorous. These techniques are used for promoting relaxation and good health; stress reduction; pain relief; sinus problems; menstrual irregularities.


Alexander Technique
- A method of neuromuscular re-education that combines gentle realignment of the musculoskeletal system with carefully guided movement and verbal directions. The point is to make students aware of unconscious patterns that inhibit freedom of movement and lead to poor posture, muscular tension and physical pain. Once old habits are identified, new patterns of movement can be established. Particular attention is paid to the relationship of head, neck and torso. This technique is used for improving mobility; relieving chronic and acute back pain; TMJ; and correcting spinal deformities, such as scoliosis.


Amma Therapy – Based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine it is an acupressure massage to manipulate and balance qi (energy) in the body.


Craniosacral Therapy - A technique devised by an osteopath to balance the craniosacral system - sometimes referred to as the body’s “hydraulic” system – which consists of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the surrounding membranes through which it circulates in a continuous loop along the spinal cord from the skull to the sacrum and tailbone. Restrictions in the flow of CSF can be linked to a variety of neuromuscular and musculoskeletal complaints. This technique is used for chronic neck and back pain; migraines; TMJ syndrome; brain and spinal cord injuries; disorders of the nervous system; post-traumatic stress syndrome; learning disabilities.


Deep Tissue Massage – A very slow, deep pressure massage with focus to release chronic pain patterns, soften adhesions, release trigger points, break up lactic acid and soothe soreness.


Jin Shin Jyutsu
- An ancient practice, rediscovered in the early part of the 20th century, which promotes health and stimulates the capacity to heal by unblocking the body’s energy pathways, which in this system include 26 “safety energy locks,” responsible for feeding life into our cells. The pathways described in Jin Shin Jyutsu are similar to the meridians used in Chinese medicine. This is used for relaxation; increased circulation; stress reduction; and harmonizing body, mind and spirit.


Manual Lymphatic Drainage - A hands-on technique designed to activate and cleanse the human fluid system by moving lymph and alleviating lymphedema. This technique requires very specific training and certification.


Myofascial Release - A gentle form of hands-on healing to release tension within the fascia, the layers of connective tissue that infuse and surround cells, nerves, muscles, bones and organs throughout the body. When fascia becomes constricted due to illness, injury, poor posture or stress, pain and reduced mobility result. Treatment consists of a series of stretching strokes that last for several minutes. Myofascial therapists also teach corrective stretching exercises to help clients maintain suppleness at home between sessions. This is used for chronic back, neck and jaw pain associated with muscular tightness; headaches; fibromyalgia; scoliosis; rehabilitation of injuries.


Pregnancy Massage – Specific strokes and techniques are used to minimize discomfort from changes during pregnancy. Soothes backaches, improves circulation to help reduce swelling and promotes more comfortable rest for mother and baby.


Polarity Therapy
- A gentle approach that restores balance to the body’s energy field. The premise, based on a synthesis of Ayurvedic health practices, Chinese medicine and modern science, is that energy circulates in pathways that move through and around the body. Like electricity, these currents are positive, negative or neutral. Polarity therapists use their hands as transmitters to release blockages in the flow of energy and to recharge the client’s own energy system. This technique is used for promoting a state of deep relaxation, which helps combat stress and its negative effects; as well as increased vitality.


Reflexology – Pressure point massage of the feet and/or hands to calm the nervous system, therapeutically stimulate organ referral zones and promote deep relaxation.


Reiki - One of the more mystical and powerful energy-balancing practices, involving the transmission of Reiki, or universal life energy, from practitioner (the most highly trained ones are called Reiki Masters) to recipient. The theory is that Reiki energy, which envelops and enlivens all life-forms, is available to everyone – except that most of us have lost touch with it. Reiki Masters undergo a year-long course of study that culminates in an initiation, which allows them to train other practitioners. Reiki is used for almost everything. Proponents believe that Reiki promotes both physical and emotional healing, as well as stress reduction.


Rolfing - A system for improving human physical structure. A series of ten sessions is required to achieve the optimal results. Rolfing slowly stretches and frees the connective tissue, which holds muscles, bones and organs together. Rolfers (practitioners of Rolfing) restore flexibility and alignment to the body.


Shiatsu – see Acupressure and Shiatsu


Sports Massage - The educated application of massage techniques, hydrotherapy protocol, range of motion/flexibility procedures, and strength/endurance training principles for athletes. It includes pre/post-event and intra-event massage on site at sports events.


Therapeutic Touch – Developed jointly by a professor of nursing and a spiritual healer and is widely used in hospitals and other health care settings. It is a contemporary interpretation of ancient practices, including the laying on of hands. The goal is to clear and balance the recipient’s energy field in order to activate their innate capacity for healing. As in Reiki, the energy involved in the practice is believed to be universally available. The subject of some research, Therapeutic Touch has been demonstrated to induce relaxation and alleviate pain.


The Trager Approach - A system of movement re-education based on the belief that physical tension originates in the mind. The goal of this work is to release restrictive physical and mental patterns. The Trager practitioner works from a meditative state, guiding the client through a variety of rhythmic rocking, kneading, wavelike and stretching motions. In this way recipients are helped to experience free, effortless physical movement that the body continues to remember. Trager is used for improving physical mobility and mental clarity; deep relaxation; and, for some, relief from chronic physical pain.


Trigger-Point Therapy - Trigger points are tender areas in muscles, tendons and fasciae that radiate pain to other regions of the body. Therapists apply deep, sustained pressure with their fingers, knuckles and elbows to irritated points in the musculoskeletal system, releasing both the point and the affected areas. Then, the muscles surrounding the trigger points are stretched to prevent recurring problems. Trigger-point therapy is frequently used by medical doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists, as well as massage therapists. This technique is used for chronic neck and back pain, aiding in recovery from injuries and accidents.


Visceral Manipulation – A technique based on the specific placement of soft manual forces to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. These gentle manipulations can potentially improve the functioning of individual organs, the systems the organs function within and the structural integrity of the entire body.


 

NEW YORK STATE SOCIETY of MEDICAL MASSAGE THERAPISTS
P.O. Box 442 Bellmore, NY 11710-0442

info@nysmassage.org


1-877-NYSSMMT  (697-7668)

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