The Origin of the word “massage” is derived from either the Arabic “mass” or the Greek “massein”, which mean to touch and to knead, respectively. For millennia there has been written recordings of healing involving kneading, pressing, anointing or rubbing.
The Massage Therapy Act (Ontario 1991) defines the practice of massage therapy as the assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain.
What Massage Therapy Can Do For You
Massage is a well recognized as an effective treatment for decreasing or palliating pain. A Massage Therapist focuses on the normalization of soft tissues affected by stress, injury and illness through the use of manual techniques. This helps to improve circulation, enhance muscular relaxation, relieve pain, reduce stress, enhance immune function and promote health and well-being. Massage therapy effectively increases blood flow to injured tissues which aids in healing. Improved blood flow can help relax muscles, decrease spasms, reduce trigger points and remove scar tissue and adhesions caused by injuries or an underlying medical condition. Massage Therapists specialize in the use and application of therapeutic massage techniques.
An increasing number of research studies show massage therapy reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion and increases endorphins and enkephalins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It can also hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise induced muscle injury.
Also referred to as the ‘classic massage’ this is one of the most widely known and used types of massage therapy. Developed by Per Henrik, the Swedish massage is a unique style that uses 5 basic strokes to offer relaxation and improve blood circulation. These 5 basic strokes include:
- Effleurage (sliding and grinding)
- Rhythmic tapping
- Friction with fibers or cross-fibers
Swedish massage can be used to relieve both severe and mild muscle pain. For severe muscle pain, the strokes can be applied more intensely in order to relieve the tightness within the muscles. We recommend Swedish massage for those who suffer from joint stiffness, full-body pain, osteoarthritis, and lower back pain. Swedish massage is also recommended for stress management.
The massage can last 30 to 90 minutes depending on the intensity of the 5 strokes applied. It is recommended for individuals of all ages. However, clients suffering from any pain, aches, and injuries should notify their massage therapist in advance.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage therapy is one of the most common techniques that has been around for thousands of years. This ancient massage technique is well known for alleviating muscle soreness, pain, and stress. It’s considered an advanced massage technique used to address common conditions like arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, and depression.
The technique itself involves applying firm pressure and slowly stroking deep layers of muscle and fascia. The idea is to apply deeper strokes and harder pressure in order to break up scar tissue and muscle adhesions (rigid and often painful muscle tissue). The therapist starts with lighter pressure in order to warm up the muscles and then uses a technique known as stripping to work into the affected areas applying deeper pressure across the grain of your muscles. It’s highly recommended for people who have scar tissue or are suffering from chronic pain and stiffness. It’s also highly effective in reducing arthritis symptoms or rehabilitating injured muscles.
Trigger Point Massage
As its name suggests, this type of massage therapy targets trigger points anywhere along the body that may contribute to mild or severe pain. You may benefit from this type of massage therapy if you suffer from muscle strain, pain, or even headaches. During treatment, the therapist will identify the painful spots on your body and then apply pressure in order to provide instant relief on the intense joint or muscle pain. The pressure is often applied with a thumb, elbow, or other extremity.
The pressure that is applied to the tender and painful spots is designed to delve deep into the fascial layer in order to release the tension in the muscles. The session can last between 10 minutes to 1 hour. Trigger point massage is often intense and can result in pain. It’s important to take caution when undergoing longer sessions due to the intensity involved in this type of massage therapy. We mostly recommend trigger point massage for intense and painful site-specific pains and strains.
Sports massages are designed for athletes of all levels. They are done to help improve athlete performance and minimize their risk of injuries. Our sports massage therapists come with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and training in helping all kinds of athletes. We recommend this type of therapy prior to workouts or just before a high-intensity game.
Sport massage techniques are designed to help improve blood flow, prevent injuries, and provide quick recovery times. We may also recommend sports massages for non-athletes like casual exercisers or those individuals with a very physically active lifestyle. If you’re looking to maintain muscle mass and bone density as well as ease stress, this type of therapy may be ideal for you. For athletes who participate in contact sports, the technique will involve stretching tight areas and focusing on trigger points to achieve relief. You’re likely to feel a little sore after this therapeutic experience. Our goal is to help you feel your best.
Hot Stone Massage
This type of massage therapy involves placing smooth, flat, and heated stones, usually made from basalt, on different parts of the body. Basalt is a type of volcanic rock which is known for its heat retaining properties. The stones are usually heated to between 130 to 145 degrees and may be placed on different parts of the body including the spine, stomach, chest, face, feet, and toes.
The technique used in hot stone massage will vary from one therapist to another. Some will hold the heated stones as they apply long strokes, circular movement, tapping, kneading, or vibration (these are the 5 styles used in Swedish massage). Others will use cold stones in addition to the heated stones in order to calm any engorged blood vessels and soothe the skin. The hot stone massage is often used to ease muscle tension and pain by increasing blood flow to the affected area. It’s also effective in reducing stress and anxiety, promoting sleep, and boosting immunity. We recommend the hot stone massage for anyone experiencing muscle pain and tension, insomnia, and stress.
Designed for pregnant mothers, this type of massage therapy can help in stress reduction, relieving muscle aches, and pain. Varying techniques can be used in prenatal massage to address different needs. For instance, the masseuse may apply Swedish massage techniques to help in relaxing the muscles and improving blood circulation. These techniques are recommended for pregnant women because they address discomforts which come about due to skeletal and circulatory changes brought by hormonal shifts.
Prenatal massage is often used to address hormonal imbalance issues among pregnant women. Research has shown that women who receive bi-weekly massages experience a reduction in hormones like cortisol which are associated with stress and an increase in the production of dopamine and serotonin hormones which help combat stress. The massage techniques also help address issues like oedema or swelling of the joint which is common during pregnancy. For women who experience sciatic nerve pain in late pregnancy when the uterus rests on the muscles in the pelvic floor, prenatal massage techniques can help alleviate this pain.
This is a unique type of massage that combines the many different styles used in other massage therapies. Medical massage is a combination of osteopathic techniques and styles used in deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy. This form of massage therapy is often used for palliative care. It focuses on the surrounding pain. Medical massages are best suited for those who are suffering from medical pains.
We have performed medical massage therapy on clients suffering from breast cancer, blood pressure, stiff joints, anxiety, and high heart rate. This type of massage has been shown to alleviate mood swings and help in providing relaxation. There’s no standard method or time duration for medical massages. They vary from patient to patient depending on their case. Our therapists are well-trained and qualified to perform different techniques in medical massages. We take into account the patient’s unique needs and underlying condition when recommending a treatment plan.
Reduce Stress With Massage Therapy
Many clients use massage therapy for relaxation. Massage can be used to reduce stress levels, anxiety and depression, which helps clients to live more normal productive lives. It provides many with a sense of relaxation and well-being. Physical and psychological effects have been thought to be due to the release of endorphins and enkephalins.
Massage therapy is equally preventive in nature. When muscles are loose and circulation is sufficient, the result is better health and less chance of injury or dysfunction.