Benefits of Massage Therapy
Throughout this page we’ve referenced several benefits to the specific massage therapy style. We tailor your massage session to best address your health issues and current health condition. For more benefits, don’t take our word for it, check out the information from the studies provided through the links here:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health studies:
- Study Finds Benefits of Therapeutic Massage for Chronic Neck Pain
- Study Examines the Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Hormones, Immune Function
- Study Determines Optimal Dose of Massage for Osteoarthritis of the Knee Pain Research
- Massage Therapy Holds Promise for Low-Back Pain
- Here’s a link to their Digest on Massage Therapy for more information
What is Trigger Point Therapy?
A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. A trigger point in the back, for example, may produce referral pain in the neck. The neck, now acting as a satellite trigger point, may then cause pain in the head. The pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache.
Benefits of Trigger Point Therapy is that it is used to treat the cause of specific pain. Depending on the severity of the pain and the trigger point acuteness the duration and number of treatments. It is typical for patients to feel better after each treatment. As noted in the video it is possible to augment the professional treatments with self-treatment to assist the healing progress. The video demonstrates using a rubber ball (we find Tennis Balls to be excellent) against a sturdy wall. We have found that using the floor is another great method and allows for a wider range of trigger points to be comfortably accessed.
Trigger point massage therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. In this type of massage for trigger point therapy, the recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identifying the exact location and intensity of the discomfort.
The results and benefits of trigger point massage are releasing constricted areas in the muscles thus alleviating pain. You can experience a significant decrease in pain after just one treatment. Receiving massage with trigger point therapy on a regular basis can help naturally manage pain and stress from chronic injuries.
What is Swedish Massage Therapy?
As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.
A study (referenced below) conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin-a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds and the flu.
Swedish Massage Techniques
Additional Swedish massage techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your professional massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.
What is Deep Tissue Massage Therapy?
Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints).
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people’s blood pressure fell after a single 45 to 60-minute deep tissue massage. Additionally, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage modalities like deep tissue reduce stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.
Please talk with your professional massage therapist to see if a deep tissue massage therapy would be beneficial for you.
Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy
Sports massage therapy is geared toward athletes of every kind, from world-class professionals to weekend joggers. The therapy focuses on areas of the body that are overused and stressed from repetitive and often aggressive movements of the client’s choice sport. Athletes and trainers have discovered that specially designed sports massage promotes flexibility, reduces fatigue, improves endurance, helps prevent injuries and prepares their body and mind for optimal performance.
One of the key benefits of Sports massage therapy compared to other modalities is its ability to target muscle-tendon junctions. A 2010 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that even a 30-second massage improved hip-flexor range of motion. According to Health and Fitness Magazine, several new studies conclude that the massage encourages venous blood flow back to the heart enhances blood flow, which delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and promotes the removal of waste products and toxins. Thanks to the relaxed state you’re in during and after the massage, your heart rate lowers.
Benefits of Reflexology Massage
Foot Reflexology massage (Click on Image at right for a larger view) can be a deeply relaxing and therapeutic modality for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, ankle injuries or even everyday work and play. Reflexology Massage will incorporate Swedish and sports massage techniques to the foot, calf and upper leg. This will not only help relieve toe pain, ankle pain, plantar fasciitis and common forms of arthritis but can also decrease stress and anxiety in the entire body. In addition, a variety of stretches can be beneficial. With pain and sensitivity in the foot, heel and calf areas, be sure to communicate your pain levels with your massage therapist during your treatment.
Foot Reflexology for Diabetes
Diabetes restricts blood flow to the feet, which can cause problems including numbness, tingling, calluses, and foot ulcers. Many diabetics are unable to find relief from these symptoms. Reflexology can help by improving circulation and reducing the risk of neuropathy. Some patients are so relaxed during a session that that their blood sugar drops.
Benefits of Cranial Sacral Therapy
Cranial sacral therapy (also known as craniosacral therapy) is a gentle, noninvasive form of bodywork that addresses the bones of the head, spinal column and sacrum. The goal is to release compression in those areas which alleviates stress and pain.
Cranial sacral therapy seeks to restore the natural position of the bones and can decrease stress from chronic injuries as well as provide relief from migraine headaches, neck and back pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (the inflammation of the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull) and more.
According to the National Headache Foundation, approximately 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Often, migraines are triggered or exacerbated by stress and poor sleep. In a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that participants who received bodywork like Cranial Sacral Therapy had better quality sleep and fewer migraines than participants who didn’t. Effects even lasted up to three weeks after therapy ended.
What is Hot Stone Massage Therapy?
Hot stone massage therapy melts away tension, eases muscle stiffness and increases circulation and metabolism. Each 1 ½ -hour hot stone massage therapy session promotes deeper muscle relaxation through the placement of smooth, water-heated stones at key points on the body.
Everyone who has had a sore muscle has likely been told to “use a heating pad” to sooth the muscles and increase blood flow to flush the muscles with fresh blood bringing needed oxygen. The hot stones work on the same premise with a more localized approach incorporating the gentle massage to access deeper muscle layers and release trigger points. The hot stones have a sedative effect that can reduce chronic pain and stress as well as promote deep relaxation.
Benefits of Geriatric Massage Therapy
Geriatric massage therapy is designed to address the specific needs of the elderly population. This type of massage for the elderly uses gentle and light application of massage techniques and a light oil or lotion to permit the muscles to be worked on without causing excessive friction to the skin. These techniques can help increase joint mobility, improve posture, combat depression, improve blood circulation; balance and flexibility, and reduce the pain of arthritis.
Geriatric massage can be especially helpful for maintaining and improving overall health as we age. It also has been shown to relieve anxiety and provide comfort, especially to touch-deprived elderly clients.