Therapies Defined

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber) and vibration/shaking. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of eight weeks. It has also been shown to be helpful in individuals with poor circulation. The term "Swedish" massage is actually only recognized in English speaking countries. Elsewhere the style is referred to as "classic massage".

Deep Tissue Massage

The term “deep tissue” is often misused to identify a massage that is performed with sustained deep pressure. Deep tissue massage is a separate category of massage therapy, used to treat particular muscular-skeletal disorders and complaints and employs a dedicated set of techniques and strokes to achieve a measure of relief. Deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the superficial muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity (such as athletes), and patients who have sustained physical injury. It is not uncommon for receivers of deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two. Deep tissue work varies greatly. It should not be confused with “deep pressure” massage, which is one that is performed with sustained strong, occasionally intense pressure throughout an entire full-body session, and that is not performed to address a specific complaint.

Prenatal/Pregnancy Massage

Prenatal Massage focuses on the mother-to-be as she goes through the changes due to pregnancy. This is not a replacement for medical care, but rather as an adjunct to aid in the health and rapid recovery of the mother. Certified therapists will focus treatment on the concerns of each trimester. After the mother has given birth, treatment will assist in restoring the body back to its normal condition. Prenatal massage may also help reduce and/or eliminate excess water retention.

Trigger Point

Sometimes confused with pressure point massage, this involves deactivating trigger points that may cause local pain or refer pain and other sensations, such as headaches, in other parts of the body. Manual pressure, vibration, injection, or other treatment is applied to these points to relieve myofascial pain. Trigger points were first discovered and mapped by Janet G. Travell (president Kennedy's physician) and David Simons. Trigger points have been photomicrographed and measured electrically. In 2007 a paper was presented showing images of Trigger Points using MRI. These points relate to dysfunction in the myoneural junction, also called neuromuscular junction (NMJ), in muscle, and therefore this modality is different from reflexology, acupressure and pressure point massage.

CranioSacral Therapy

This is an alternative medicine therapy used by osteopaths, massage therapists, naturopaths, and chiropractors. A craniosacral therapy session involves the therapist placing their hands on the patient, which allows them to tune into what they call the craniosacral rhythm. The practitioner claims to gently work with the spine and the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. In this way, the restrictions of nerve passages are said to be eased, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is said to be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their proper position. Craniosacral therapists use the therapy to treat mental stress, neck and back pain, migraines, TMJ Syndrome, and for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage certain areas of the body. The hot stones are usually made of basalt, a type of rock that is rich in iron, so they retain heat. River rocks are normally used because they are so smooth - they have been smoothed over time by the river's current.

The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric heating device until they are within a certain temperature range. The stones may be placed at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system.

Raindrop Technique

RAINDROP technique is a powerful, non-invasive tool for assisting the body in correcting defects in the curvature of the spine. Raindrop Technique originated in the 1980s from the research of Dr. Gary Young working with a Lakota medicine man named Wallace Black Elk. It integrates Vitaflex and massage, utilizing the power of essential oils in bringing the body into structural and electrical alignment." (from the Essential Oils Desk Reference) Raindrop Technique uses a sequence of essential oils that are immune enhancing, support the body's natural defenses, as well as the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, nervous, and other body systems. These oils, which are high in antioxidants, are also mood elevating and antiseptic, creating an unfavorable environment for harmful viruses and baceria that can hibernate in the body. Essential oils are known to boost stamina and energy, help you relax, help manage stress and frustration and promote overall health, vitality, and longevity. The principal single oils used include:

  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Oregano (Origanum compactum)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

The oils are dispensed in little drops from a height of about six inches above the back, which is where Raindrop Technique gets its name. They are then massaged along the spine and back muscles. They are also applied to the feet. The whole process takes about an hour and may continue to work in the body for up to one week following a Raindrop Session, with possible realignment and bodily adjustment taking place during this time.

Reiki

Reiki is a non-physical healing energy made up of life force energy that is guided by the Higher Intelligence, or spiritually guided life force energy. This is a functional definition as it closely parallels the experience of those who practice Reiki therapy in that Reiki energy seems to have an intelligence of its own flowing where it is needed in the client and creating the healing conditions necessary for the individuals needs. It cannot be guided by the mind, therefore it is not limited by the experience or ability of the practitioner. Nether can it be misused as it always creates a healing effect. ( It must be kept in mind that Reiki is not the same as simple life force energy as life force energy by itself can be influenced by the mind and because of this, can create benefit as well as cause problems including ill health.)