Sunday, May 31, 2009

Massage & Reflexology

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep Tissue Massage is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the fibers of the muscles, tendons and fascia.

Deep tissue massage is used to release chronic muscle tension through slower strokes and more direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles not with the grain. Deep tissue massage helps to break up and eliminate scar tissue. Deep tissue massage usually focuses on more specific areas and may cause some soreness during or right after the massage. However, if the massage is done correctly you should feel better than ever within a day or two.

Why get a Deep Tissue Massage?

It feels good and it is beneficial to your health. When muscles are stressed, they block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue. A deep-tissue massage helps loosen muscle tissues, release toxins from muscles and get blood and oxygen circulating properly. Because many toxins are released, it's important to drink plenty of water after a deep-tissue session to help eliminate these toxins from the body.

What is the purpose of Deep Tissue Massage?

The purpose is to "unstick" the fibers of a muscle while releasing deeply-held patterns of tension, removing toxins, while relaxing and soothing the muscle. It is both corrective and therapeutic.

What is a Swedish Massage?

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.

Purpose of Swedish Massage

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.

Swedish Massage Techniques

Swedish massage techniques include: long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration, effleurage, and shaking motions. The usually sequence of techniques are:

  1. Effleurage: Gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips
  2. Petrissage: Kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingers
  3. Friction: Circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingers
  4. Vibration: Oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body
  5. Percussion: Brisk hacking or tapping
  6. Passive and active movements: Bending and stretching
What is Reflexology Massage?

Reflexology is a gentle form of therapeutic treatment applied to the feet and sometimes to the hands. It evolved around 1913 from the work of Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat surgeon in the United States. Reflexology is considered to be a holistic healing technique that aims to treat the individual as a whole, in order to induce a state of balance and harmony in body, mind, and spirit.

Reflexology is based on the belief that there are reflex areas on the feet (and hands) corresponding to all the parts of the body including major organs. It is believed that applying pressure to specific areas on the feet, hands and ears can affect internal organs and body systems, and therefore promote good health.

The therapist stimulates and works these organs and systems through the reflexes areas on the hands and feet, applying pressure to the feet with thumb and fingers. Pressure is applied to clear out congestion and restore normal functioning and health. Reflexology was brought to America in the early 1900s by Chinese immigrants.

Benefits of Reflexology?

Reflexology has many benefits. It feels good. It is pleasant and soothing, and it relaxes the body. Each person responds to a reflexology in a unique way and on occasions may experience a variety of short term reactions, for example, extreme relaxation, tiredness, lethargy or tearfulness. Reflexology is not a ‘cure-all’. However, reflexology does help relieve pain associated with migraine, sinus problems, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems, back problems, tension, and stress.

The Benefits of Massage

The Benefits Of Massage
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more,

Massage can:
  • Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
  • Ease medication dependence.
  • Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow the body's natural defense system.
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
  • Improve the condition of the body's largest organ the skin.
  • Increase joint flexibility.
  • Lessen depression and anxiety.
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
  • Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
  • Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
  • Reduce spasms and cramping.
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
  • Release endorphins amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
  • Relieve migraine pain.
A Powerful Ally
There's no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.

Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
  • Decreased anxiety.
  • Enhanced sleep quality.
  • Greater energy.
  • Improved concentration.
  • Increased circulation.
  • Reduced fatigue.
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.

Profound Effects
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
  • Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
  • Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
  • Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
  • High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
  • Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
  • Preterm infants have improved weight gain.
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.

Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you'll be and how youthful you'll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn't mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.