“What style of massage do you do?”, is a question many new clients ask. My massage sessions are eclectic in that they integrate various modalities depending on a client’s needs. My education at IPSB college introduced me to a wide variety of Western and Eastern modalities. I eventually chose to focus my practice around the Western modalities Circulatory, Deep Tissue, and Trigger Point Therapy.
Circulatory (or Swedish) is a style of massage that has a number of therapeutic benefits. Circulatory helps to release tension and stress in the body. The release of tight, constricted muscles eases pain while bringing nutrient rich blood to the muscle tissue. In his text Orthopedic Massage Whitney Lowe writes, “One of the most significant effects of massage is the encouragement of blood flow in smaller capillaries that are restricted due to muscle tightness” (Lowe, 2009). A release of tension in the body is often accompanied with a feeling of release emotionally or/and mentally as well as increased clarity and energy. It has been suggested that this modality aids the lymphatic system by helping to clear out metabolic waste. A variety of strokes are used. A few of these strokes are: Effleurage (long gliding strokes that move in the direction toward the heart are incorporated throughout a massage session), Compression, Petrissage (grasping and kneading), and Tapotement (percussion strokes). These strokes can be done with light, medium, or firm pressure.
Deep Tissue uses techniques to address the deeper layered muscles. The work is slow so that the therapist’s tool (thumb, palm, soft fist, elbow) can melt into the muscle tissue; slowly gliding along the direction of the muscle fiber as tension in the muscle tissue melts and dissolves. Effleurage is a massage stroke most commonly associated with Circulatory or Swedish massage, but in Deep Tissue work, deep effleurage strokes can be most effective in easing out tension and helping to move tissue fluid.
Neuromuscular Therapy focuses on relief of pain that can be brought on by postural distortion, bio-mechanical dysfunction, and Trigger Points. Trigger Points are hyper irritable areas that can develop in taught bands of muscle tissue and refer pain or other sensations. Trigger Points can be the cause of hypertonicity in muscles, pain, and muscle weakness. My sessions incorporate Trigger Point Therapy with Circulatory Massage.
Lowe, Whitney (2009). Orthopedic Massage: Theory and Technique. Mosby Elsevier.