The Many Genres of Massage Therapy

When you decide to get a massage, you may think that every massage is the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Every masseuse uses different techniques in order to loosen up muscles and relieve pain. Factors such as speed, pressure, and style of massage, all influence your experience and the treatment of your muscles. In this blog, we will discuss the different types of massage techniques and how they differ. If any of the following sounds tempting or good for your type of pain, be sure to go to a massage therapist that is skilled in that genre of massage. For example, if you live in the Bakersfield area, Core Chiropractic and Wellness has therapists that are well-trained in all of the following methods of massage.

Deep Tissue Massages

Deep Tissue massages are focused massages and are meant to target knotted muscle groups. Sometimes called adhesions, these tensed groups of muscles can be problematic areas as they are hidden in deeper layers of muscles and tissue. This technique primarily uses deliberate, small strokes to apply pressure to these desired areas. More importantly, large amounts of friction is applied in order to get deep within the skin and work out the muscle tension. Deep tissue massages aren’t just reserved for muscles pain, but also relaxation. Some believe that after the muscles have been worked out extensively, they can achieve full relaxation. Deep Tissue techniques are great if you suffer from tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome. It also has been known to be helpful in reducing symptoms from osteoarthritis.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is by far the most common massage offered at any practice, especially in clinics, spas, and wellness centers. The style is based on Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, compared to the energy-centric style of Asian massage techniques. With Swedish style, lotion or oil is primarily used by therapists to make the massage smooth and smell relaxing. In many ways, massages can incorporate other relaxation methods, such as aromatherapy and audio therapy, in order to get the guest to relax all of their muscles. Swedish style typically will use aromatherapy in order to relax clients faster.
In this style of massage, the therapist typically begins with large stroke down your back and then later transitions to the problematic areas of tightness, most likely in the shoulder and neck areas. Swedish massage is compiled of five main strikes: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, and vibration.

Effleurage: This term refers to when your massage therapist will do long, smooth
strokes down your back.

Petrissage: Petrissage is a term used for most intensive methods of message, such as kneading, rolling, and lifting.

Friction: Much of massage is about using methods of friction, also called wrinkling. This use of small circular movements helps loosen up essential back muscles.

Tapotement: This term refers to percussion, which in the massage profession means, chopping, hacking, or tapping motions. Typically this method is reserved for fleshy parts of the body.

Vibration: Vibration movements in message typically look like rocking or shaking of the body.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage originates from Japan and uses the principles of energy distribution and bodywork. Part of the process involves a therapist localizing pressure and using their fingers, hands, and elbows in a rhythmic sequence. Every position is held for about two to eight seconds. Because the massage has ties to Chinese medicine, the goal of the massage is to stimulate acupressure points on the body and improve the flow of energy and restore balance.
The biggest difference between Shiatsu and Swedish style, is that Shiatsu doesn’t use lotion or oil. In fact, you wear clothing during the massage. Shiatsu is normally performed on a mat on the floor or a massage table. Typically, this form of massage is used for relieving stress, back and neck pain, and arthritis.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot Stone massages use warm stones as a version of heat therapy. The smooth stones are positioned on point of your body and uses their warmth to loosen up certain parts of the body. The stones are usually made of basalt, which is volcanic rock. Basalt stones are the chosen method of stone therapy because they are often lightweight and excellent heat conductors. However, though these stones are hot, they will not burn your skin.
During the massage, your therapist will work your arms and legs, as the stones cool on your skin. The idea of the massage is to replace the stones with hotter ones and relax your muscles with the use of heat.
The only issue with Hot Stone massage is that it isn’t for everyone. Health warnings can arise, so if you are currently battling high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or varicose veins, you may have to check with your health care provider before you choose to proceed with this style of massage.

Lomi Lomi Massage

Lomi Lomi massage originated from the Hawaiian islands and comes from the understanding of Hawaiian philosophy, Huna. In Huna, healers use bodywork and energy healing to aid with muscle tension and stress. Much of the philosophy of Lomi Lomi follows the teaching that, “Everything seeks harmony and everything seeks love.” In fact, Lomi Lomi is sometimes called “loving hands” because of its soft, flowing movements. The idea of this type of massage, is that through kind, gentle strokes, the body is willed to relax completely. In many ways, the Lomi Lomi motions are described similarly to moving waves. One of the main goals of the massage is to relieve blockages of stress in the body and spirit. Once the body is relaxed by the soft wave-like motions, a therapist can then knead out knots in the adhesions. Most of the motions of Lomi Lomi adhere to the rhythm of motion and pattern. For example, much of the massage is based off of repetitive, soft strokes. Only when the body is relaxed fully will a therapist be able to move into more aggressive strokes.

Core Chiropractic and Wellness

Massage is a great method to use if you feel tense. Whether you feel stressed from life or your career, massage treatments are an easy and healthy way to help your body spring back to action. More importantly, massage allows you time to relax and indulge yourself, away from everyday worries. But, massage therapy isn’t just for stress relief. If you are currently battling bodily pain, massages can be a great option to release tension in your body. If you live in the Bakersfield area, and are struggling with tension or pain, come to your nearest chiropractic and massage therapy center. At Core Chiropractic and Wellness, we are able to service a wide variety of massage techniques. Better still, if you feel that a hybrid of these massaging techniques would benefit you, we are able to adapt our massaging methods. Contact us today to set up an appointment.