Different massage techniques are determined by the amount of pressure used and the part of the body used in performing them. Certified and licensed individuals known as therapists perform them. They are mainly performed with the patient half-naked or covered in a white cloth while lying on a table. In most cases, the movements are performed by the use of hand, palm, fingers and the elbow. The part of the arm used depends on the type of therapy needs for each patient. This article looks at common massage movements and their benefits.
- Myofascial Release
Fascia is the combination of the connective tissues, nerves and the muscles that bind the bones. For normal body functioning, the fascia is supposed to be straightened and flexible. However, it happens that the fascia often gets misaligned due to injuries, misuse, overuse, and disuse. When this misalignment happens, the patient experiences lots of debilitating pains, a condition known as muscle adhesion. When a massage therapist manipulates the fascia, it relaxes and softens to go back into the right alignment and the patient feels what is considered as the myofascial release.
This technique entails the use of the hand to manipulate different parts of the body. The main parts used in this technique include the palm and the thumb. It focuses on the connective tissue that is close to the skin. It is performed by applying some light pressure on the focus areas. Kneading is the type of technique massage therapists rely on during a Swedish massage. It lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and is performed while the patient is half-naked or covered in a white cloth while lying on their stomachs on a flat table.
- Longitudinal Gliding
Longitudinal gliding is a massage technique performed by the massage therapist following the direction of the body tissues. Since connective tissues flow from top to the bottom of the body, so does the longitudinal technique. This technique helps reduce muscle inflammation and swelling by restoring normal blood and fluid flow. This is because tensed and swollen muscle affect the normal flow of blood and lymphatic fluid, hence swelling occurs, followed by debilitating pain.
- Trigger Point
When some parts of your body are experiencing tension and rigidity, they do not just cause pain in those particular areas, they also affect the rest of the body. Such parts of the body affecting other parts are known as the trigger points since they carry some energy. Therefore, when a massage therapist applies some light pressure on the specific areas experiencing pain, the technique is known as trigger point therapy. The therapist uses gentle and broad strokes, followed by deeper and stronger pressure. This technique is mainly used for people with injuries, chronic pain or specific physical conditions.
- Rhythmic Compression
This technique involves applying light and few strokes on the injured muscles in rhythmic motions. It is used as a warm-up for deep tissue massage, mostly in sports. For this reason, it is known as a sports massage. Sometimes, it involves the use of heat and cold pressurized sprays to help loosen the muscles.
- Hot and Cold Stones
Just as the name suggests, this technique relies on the use of heated and cold stones to manipulate the body. The hot and cold stones are rolled over the body, and some essential oils are used to reduce friction. The warmth of the hot stones releases tension, while the essential oils moisten and soften the skin. This helps reduce inflammation, where the smooth flow of blood and lymphatic fluid is restored. Since the essential oils have some healing properties, the patient experiences a lot of relief from pain and muscle tension. Although very rare, cold stones are also used to reduce muscle inflammation.
A massage therapist can manipulate different parts of your body in distinct ways to help you achieve a wide variety of health benefits. Common massage movements may include kneading, myofascial release, longitudinal gliding, trigger point, and rhythmic compressions. By looking at the benefits of each, you can see the movement that suits you best. Even as you go about looking for a massage therapist, you should tread with caution since there are so many quacks out there. They will not only part with your hard-earned money, but they are also a risk to your health. Instead of causing your body some relief, they can cause you serious harm through injuries. Experts advise that you should sample a few therapists while putting into consideration their customer reviews and ratings. This will not only help you ascertain their certification and licensing, but will also help you negotiate for reduced prices.