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Massages

SWEDISH MASSAGE

Probably one of the most internationally recognised and common techniques, Swedish uses a combination of

  • effleurage (long flowing, soothing strokes),
  • petrissage (more vigorous kneading, wringing type movements) and
  • tapotement (with the unfortunately named cupping, hacking, pounding, and pinching. PS these actually feel fantastic believe it or not!).

The Swedish technique can be easily adapted for different applications eg sport, relaxation. (see below)

RELAXATION MASSAGE:

All massage aims to relax the muscles, and reduce stress levels.

When people ask for a relaxation massage they usually mean they don't want any deep tissue, or uncomfortable techniques to be used.

Swedish can be used very effectively as a relaxation massage technique. The emphasis is on very slow, long strokes, done in time with the client's breathing. There will be a lot of soothing strokes used, with the aim of getting the body's parasympathetic nervous system activated. This is the system of your body which regulates against the stress response.

Relaxation massage can be very helpful, obviously if you're feeling stressed, but also over time for things like insomnia, anxiety and depression.

SPORTS MASSAGE:

Often, people ask for a sports massage to emphasise they want an effective massage, not just a feel good back rub.

Sports massage techniques are perfect for helping you recover more quickly from any sore muscles you have as a result of any unaccustomed exercise while on your holiday!

True sports massage is where an athlete works in conjunction with a massage therapist, to ensure the athlete is in peak physical condition at the correct time. A range of techniques will be employed which vary a lot depending on the stage of training the athlete is at.

These techniques can range from deep, structural work to help correct muscle imbalances or injury, through to light, quick vigorous techniques used moments before an event to help warm and relax the muscles, and post event massage to speed recovery. Obviously  the approach is very different for a basketball player playing weekly, to a multi sport  athlete whose event is months in advance.

DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE:

As it's title suggests, this technique works on the deeper layers of muscle within the body, and not just the ones lying directly under the skin. It is a more targeted approach than Swedish.

Once again, people often ask for a deep tissue massage to differentiate between an effective massage and a feelgood back rub.

 A lot of people mistakenly believe :no pain/no gain which NEVER applies to massage. Pain is your body's natural protection technique, and you will NOT get more benefits the more pain you experience. In fact, your body's automatic systems will take over, and your muscles will uncontrollably tense up. This has a number of negative effects including: your muscles “push out” the therapists hands, and you increase the risk of tissue damage. A good massage therapist should still be able to get deeply into your muscles and loosen them, it will merely mean the therapist will need to alter the techniques they are using, to something that suits you on the day.

Deep Tissue techniques may even feel uncomfortable at times. When receiving any deep tissue work it is vital you keep your therapist informed if you experience any feelings stronger than “uncomfortable” as it is possible for the therapist to seriously bruise you.

TRIGGER POINT THERAPY:

Often confused with Pressure Point Treatment  (which is actually part of the acupressure/acupuncture technique),a trigger point is a type of “knot” which feels very sharp when pressed, and often refers pain or stiffness to another area.

Trigger points prevent muscles from being able to contract and relax properly, and despite being very small can be very painful and debilitating, often locking up entire areas of the body eg the neck and shoulder.

Trigger points are very common, and often overlooked as a source of pain. For example, a lot of knee pain can be traced to trigger points in the thigh. Trigger points in the back and shoulders can cause headaches.

Trigger points are almost always present in cases of occupational overuse syndrome.

NEUROMUSCULAR TECHNIQUE OR THERAPY (NMT):

This uses a variety of mostly deep tissue techniques to help, among other things, address issues such as muscle imbalances, connective tissue problems, chronic soft tissue dysfunction (long term muscle pain). It requires the therapist to do a thorough assessment of client health history, postural assessments, and check the range of movement a client has in their joints. It will usually require repeat sessions as it is a comprehensive, methodical approach.

MYOFASCIAL RELEASE:

This has nothing to do with getting a facial!

Myo (meaning muscle) and fascial (meaning relating to fascia/connective tissue) works, once again at a deep level.

Fascia is the thin sheath which surrounds all tissue in the body, (it's the tough sheets of tissue you find when cutting apart a raw steak!). It is a 3-D web of connective tissue throughout your entire body. If you could somehow magic away all the structures in your body which weren't fascia you would still be able to see the outline of every single structure in your body because of the fascia.

Fascia doesn't contract and relax as muscle does, it behaves differently so has to be approached differently by therapists.

Myofascial Release is a slow technique, and is sometimes very subtle, sometimes mildly uncomfortable, sometimes you may not even feel as if anything much is happening, but it is very effective when applied correctly. It is a very good technique for dealing with long term postural imbalances for example.

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