No More Pain - the Massage Secret

By: Zach Hunt

To the list of things no one escapes, right below death and taxes, let us add muscle soreness.

A sedentary person is still prone to gravity and kinetic forces, the basic stresses everybody experiences..even with massage.

One might even build the case that a sedentary life invites more inflexibility, more muscle soreness and spasm than is introduced by an active lifestyle.

So even couch potatoes can benefit from the therapeutic wonders of massage.

Yet it is the athlete and those of us who pursue physical activities and workout programs that can best utilize massage in keeping joints and muscles flexible, functioning and optimally pain-free. Thus a massage therapist is to the human body as the mechanic is to an automobile.

How Can Massage Benefit You?

More often than not, the therapist will use his/her hands to manipulate the soft tissue in order to facilitate the physical and often psychological needs of the client. Muscle tissue is typically the target, but the therapist, or masseuse, can apply their touch to other tissues as well, such as: tendons, ligaments, joints, skin, connective tissue, lymphatic vessels and the organs of the gastrointestinal system.

Types of Massage

Most of us have heard the term Swedish massage. If you guessed this approach to bodywork was developed in Finland, you'd be close. Per Henrik Ling's techniques were promoted in the mid-1800s by two New York physicians, establishing the form known for long, flowing strokes as perhaps the best known. While the Swede forever linked his nation to this technique, it was the French that found a way to name two of the six basic strokes.

In addition to effleurage, 'to skim over,' and petrissage, 'to knead,' a massage therapist performing a Swedish massage would employ friction, tapotement (hey, another French word meaning to 'tap' or 'drum'), compression and vibration strokes.

Lotion, cream or various oils are used to reduce friction between the therapist's hands and the skin of the very lucky individual, who might well fall asleep and wake up with a reduction of pain, joint stiffness and the kind of total body relaxation that might make them want to go back to sleep.

Shiatsu sounds like a breed of small dog, but it actually is a Japanese form of massage where you keep your clothes on and lay on the floor as the massage therapist uses thumb pressure to work energy meridians. The Shiatsu masseuse will also incorporate stretching.

Deep Tissue Massage is thought to have originated in a dungeon somewhere. Most likely it was developed by physical therapists with very strong hands and fingers. The approach, as the name suggests, allows the massage practitioner to focus manual pressure to a specific joint, muscle or muscle group for the purposes of accessing deeper layers of soft tissue.

If pressure is applied too deeply or too quickly, the muscle may guard, or tighten, to protect the area and the client will yelp like a dalmation.

Myofacial Release is a manual massage approach that seeks to stretch the fascia for the purposes of releasing bonds between fascia, integument and muscles.

The goal of myofacial release is to eliminate pain, increase range of motion andget out your dictionaryequilibrioception, which is textbook-speak for 'sense of balance. Stone Massage employsget thisstones! So that the massage therapist can penetrate deeper into the muscle, smooth stones (ususally warmed) are placed on the body to relax the muscle first.

Plucked from a hot water bath, the stones are dried and given a coating of oil before being wielded directly in the hands of the masseuse. Often, the hot stones are placed under the back, along the sides of the spine and on top of the torso to provide thermal stimulation to the chakra, or meridian centers. In this application, the stones are not oiled so as to inhibit gravity or movement from dislodging the stones.

The Main Benefit Of Massage

There are many other approaches practiced by massage therapists. Previously described above can all work with an active person in their desire to stay pain and injury free.

Alternative Medicine
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