Types of Massages

Massage, stems from the French word massage, meaning “friction of kneading” and influenced by the Arabic word massa, meaning “to touch, feel or handle”, is one of the oldest forms of natural treatments. The notion of massage was first documented in China in the second century B.C., as it became the recommended treatment for certain ailments. This spurred out of the acts of many, who relied on their natural instinct to rub a hurt area.

The act of massage is often defined as the application of various techniques to the muscular structure of the body, including the soft tissues. These techniques focus on the manipulation of the body’s muscles and soft tissues. Other targets include tendons, ligaments, skin, connective issues, and joints, along with lymphatic vessels or organs of the gastro-intestinal systems. The application of the therapy is often done with the use of the therapist’s hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm or feet, depending on the type of massage or treatment is given. Due to the many different types of massages available, a massage can be both therapeutic and corrective.

The purpose of massage therapy is to undo the stress and damage that the muscles endure for whichever reasons. When muscles become stressed, they tend to block oxygen and nutrients, which leads to inflammation. This inflammation builds up toxins in the muscle tissue. A massage will help the muscles release the toxins, while getting the blood and oxygen circulating properly. It is therefore important to drink plenty of water after a massage to assist the body in getting rid of these toxins.

This list outlines several types of massage which are offered at My Massage in Seattle.

Relaxation Massage

There are many forms and types of massages that are completed with different intentional goals. The most common massage is one that is intended to help the individual relax, due to excessive stress, anxiety or other related symptoms. The relaxation massage encompasses a smooth, flowing style that is obtained through various hand movements and pressures.

The ideal intention with a relaxation massage is to promote general comfort and relaxation in the individual. This type of massage is used to decrease tension in the body, both physically and mentally. This is a highly popular form of massage for those with emotional stress or anxiety, because it is believed that soothing massages help the body release endorphins and serotonin in the body.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is primarily designed to relieve severe tension in the body’s muscles, connective tissues and the fascia, which is the soft tissue of the connective tissue. The difference between a deep tissue massage and the relaxation massage in terms of target muscles is the deep tissue massage targets the muscles beneath the top surface muscles, where the relaxation massage focuses on the muscles directly beneath the skin. Furthermore, a deep tissue massage is also done through slower strokes with a continuous and more direct deep pressure on the muscles, either following or going across the fibers of the muscles and tendons. This type of manipulation helps break up and eliminate scar tissue.

Patients who requests a deep tissue massage are often people who experience consistent pain or partake in heavy physical activity, such as athletes or individuals who have sustained physical injuries. Because this type of treatment often requires more intense pressure with the goal of releasing chronic muscle tensions, one massage treatment is not enough to feel results. Rather, undoing chronic knots or tensions is best completed with an integrated program that includes physical exercise, posture improvements, movements, practice of relaxation techniques and a continuous regular massage program.

Structural Integration Bodywork – read more

Lymphatic Facilitation

Lymphatic Facilitation, also called Lymphatic Massage or Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM), is a form of massage used to increasing the healing process and the function of the nervous, lymph and muscular systems.  Lymph is a clear colorless fluid comprised of water, cellular components, fatty acids, and proteins.  Its function is to move these components back to the blood, balance the body’s fluids, and remove bacteria from the system.  Lymph circulation is improved through gentle, slow, rhythmic movements made in a specific direction and progression on the patient’s body.

Pregnancy Massage

Massage therapy during pregnancy is a wonderful complementary choice for prenatal care. It is a healthy way to reduce stress and promote overall wellness. Massage relieves many of the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches and edema (or swelling). In addition, massage reduces stress on weight-bearing joints, encourages blood and lymph circulation, helps to relax nervous tension-which aids in better sleep-and can help relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes.

Aromatherapy Massage

The aromatherapy treatment offers a relaxing massage that is done in combination with plant oils that give off a strong, but pleasant aroma in an attempt to promote relaxation in the body and the mind. The aroma also helps promote a sense of well being and overall healing.

The aromatherapy oils should not be confused with fragrances or perfume oils. Fragrances are often produced using chemicals and lack the therapeutic elements of essential oils. These essential oils used in aromatherapy are often mixed with carrier oils, like sweet almond, apricot kernel or grape seed oil. These oils are volatile and a highly concentrated plant extracts, derived usually from leaves, bark, roots, seeds resins and flowers.

The therapeutic use of essential oils can affect all of the systems in the body, particularly the muscular, circulatory, lymphatic (which is the immune system), and the nervous system.

Aromatherapy massages are suitable for individuals who have acute or chronic conditions, digestive problems, hormonal imbalances, menopause or menstrual issues, physical or sports injuries, prevention or maintenance therapy, skin conditions, sleeping disorders, and stress related symptoms. This type of massage can also help those suffering from a cold or the flu, headaches or a slowed metabolism.

Hot Stone Massage

The hot stone massage is a different take on the traditional relaxation massage, as smooth stones assist the therapist during the massage. The stones, which are naturally smoothened by the currents of rivers in which they originally come from, are usually made of basalt. This type of stone is rich in iron and can therefore retain heat for a longer period of time.

The stones are heated in hot water prior to massage. The stones may be placed on the body at key points, which are believed to be the energy centers of the body, to recreate the balance of the body and the mind. These specific points are often found on the back, in the palms and in between toes.

The massage can often begin with the therapist applying oils, so the stones can glide smoothly along the skin and muscles. The stones become a tool to massage muscles that requires more subtle pressures. The importance of using the stones lies within the relationship between muscles and heat. When the hot stones are placed on muscles below the skin, the muscles become relaxed, allowing therapists to apply deeper pressure, either by using the stones or simply the hands.

This type of massage helps improve circulation in the body and plays a vital role in calming the nervous system. Other benefits of getting a hot stone massage include the restoration of the body’s natural balance, the promotion of deep muscle relaxation, the stimulation of the circulatory system and the sensation of comfort and warmth within the body. Hot stone massages have also used as treatments of many common health disorders, including muscular pains, back pains, arthritis, osteoarthritis, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and fibromyalgia syndrome, which is chronic widespread muscle and tissue pains.