Understanding Massage Therapy

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Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies are defined as the application of various techniques to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body. Today, the known implementations of massage therapy are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, depression, and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.

Massage Therapy provides numerous benefits. Among them are:

  • Relief from chronic muscular tension, spasms, cramping, and pain
  • Increased range of motion and joint flexibility
  • Improved muscle tone and function – helpful for athletes in training
  • Pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
  • Speeds recovery time of injuries
  • Improved posture
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Improved concentration
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Creates an overall sense of well-being
  • Releases endorphins – amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
  • Relieves migraine pain
  • Strengthens lymphatic immune system
  • Breaks up scar tissue
  • Increases Body Awareness
  • Restores balance in the body

There are hundred of types, of massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies called “modalities.” Most practitioners utilize multiple techniques.

Some of the modalities which Amanda, at Catalyst Sports and Injury Massage, specializes in are explained as follows:

Deep Tissue Massage

Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep-tissue massage, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the practitioner from reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release is the three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence of emotional patterns and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress. First, an assessment is made by visually analyzing the human frame, followed by the palpation of the tissue texture of various fascial layers. Upon locating an area of fascial tension, gentle pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction. Myofascial release is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches.

Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy

Based on the discoveries of Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons in which they found the causal relationship between chronic pain and its source, myofascial trigger point therapy is used to relieve muscular pain and dysfunction through applied pressure to trigger points of referred pain and through stretching exercises. These points are defined as localized areas in which the muscle and connective tissue are highly sensitive to pain when compressed. Pressure on these points can send referred pain to other specific parts of the body.

Neuromuscular Therapy

This comprehensive program of soft-tissue manipulation balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. Based on neurological laws that explain how the central nervous system initiates and maintains pain, the goal is to help relieve the pain and dysfunction by understanding and alleviating the underlying cause. Neuromuscular therapy can help individuals who experience distortion and biomechanical dysfunction, which is often a symptom of a deeper problem. It is also used to locate and release spasms and hypercontraction in the tissue, eliminate trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuild the strength of injured tissues, assist venous and lymphatic flow, and restore postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is a more advanced form of flexibility training that involves both the stretching and contraction of the muscle group being targeted. Essentially PNF stretching “resets” the neuromuscular setting in a muscle. PNF stretching was originally developed as a form of rehabilitation, and to that end it is very effective. It targets specific muscle groups, and as well as increasing flexibility and range of motion, it also improves muscular strength and function.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. Pre-event massage is delivered at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. Fast-paced and stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. During the massage, the athlete generally focuses on visualizing the upcoming event. Post-event massage is also delivered on site, through the clothes. The intent here is to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. When an athlete sustains an injury, skillful massage therapy can often speed and improve the quality of healing.

 

Contributing source: www.massagetherapy.com

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