Massage benefits involves the manipulation of both superficial and deep muscles, and body tissues. Designed to aid healing, enhance function and promote relaxation, the word is derived from various languages including the Greek verb “masso” meaning to handle, work or touch with the hands. Targeted areas include the muscles, skin and joints and massage can be applied using the hand, knees and elbows as well as mechanical aids.
Deep tissue Massage Benefits
Deep tissue massage is a therapy focusing on the muscles located below the top muscle layer, performed to relieve severe muscle tension. It concentrates on realigning the deeper muscle layer and the connective tissue by breaking down adhesions, bands of rigid tissue, which cause pain, inflammation and limited movement. Using pressure and often creating some discomfort, this is not a relaxing massage yet effective for the job it was created for. It is often used for those in constant pain, athletes and others with a heavy physical workload, and those who have sustained physical injury. Deep tissue massage is used in cases of injury recovery, fibromyalgia, limited mobility and pain from osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome are some of the health benefits of therapeutic massage.
Benefits of Swedish Massage
In contrast, Swedish massage is mainly performed to create relaxation and a feeling of well-being. Using five styles of massage strokes to glide, knead, tap, create friction and vibrate it can be useful in reducing some pain and joint stiffness, especially that which has evolved from osteoarthritis. Some strokes will release tension and break up muscle adhesions. It is especially useful for increasing circulation thus improving blood flow and oxygen carrying capacity. It can be gentle and performed slowly or a more rigorous massage involving firmer strokes and tapping, depending on the therapists style and patient requirements. It is not as intense as deep tissue massage and should not cause discomfort. The massage benefits of Swedish have been well established over many years and is the preferred choice for first timers.
Trigger-point Massage Benefits
Trigger-point massage is designed to alleviate the pain and discomfort created by knots or nodules in the muscle, or ‘trigger points’, which cause both localized pain and ‘refer’ pain, the latter being pain found in an area separate from the trigger point area. Refer pain can include headaches and migraines, neck stiffness and back pain. The therapy involves finding, compressing and applying pressure to these points to deactivate them. It may also involve massaging the points or using stretching techniques. Once the points have been deactivated both the affected area and the surrounding tissues may be treated with myofascial release to prevent the muscles returning to the original position and trigger points reforming.
Benefits of Cranial-sacral therapy
Cranial-sacral therapy evolved from cranial osteopathy, a gentle and subtle treatment encouraging stress and tension release. It is a non-invasive alternative medicine therapy used by osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists and is performed by placing the hands on the patient and ‘tuning in’ to the rhythmic activity found between the bones in the skull. Therapists believe that movements between these bones come from the brain and spinal cord membrane. and concentrate on the area from the skull to the sacrum, identifying disturbance in the flow of energy running through this region and dissolving points of resistance.