Over the last few weeks I have been asked by several clients what type of massage technique I practice. One young man from Europe told me he wanted to go back home and find a therapist who practiced my technique! I was also told that I have empathy for your muscles! Love that one : ) I believe that by quiet mindfulness and concentration, one can hear with one’s hands, what clients bodies most need. When you hear what the body is saying, a massage therapist (and nurse) can respond with the touch, pressure and technique that each specific body needs. And even more specifically, what the muscles, tendons, or joints are asking for. I can’t tell you exactly what my technique is, as I use a combination of techniques I learned through rigorous massage and nursing education and 25+ years of hands on practice. But I can tell you some massage technique basics. The two most commonly known types of massage and two that played a large part in my massage education and my practice, are Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage.
Swedish massage was developed by a Swedish man, Per Henrik Ling and introduced to the US in 1858 as the “Swedish Movement Cure.” The main goal of the Swedish massage is to relax the whole body by massaging the muscles with long gliding strokes. As well as overall relaxation and tension release, Swedish massage can increase the level of oxygen in the blood, decrease muscle toxins, and improve circulation and flexibility, all of which benefit your health, wellness, and mood. A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Volunteers also had an increase in their number of lymphocytes, the white blood cells that are part of the immune system, this boost in the immune cells may help fight infections such as colds and flu.
Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage, yet uses deeper pressure to produce release. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that participants blood pressure fell after just one 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. And, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage like deep tissue reduces stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by increasing the release of oxytocin and serotonin (feel good hormones).
These are two of the most common massage practices and two that I use routinely and have studied and practiced for many years now. Remember it is always important to fill out your massage intake form completely and have a conversation with your massage therapist before, during (don’t be afraid to speak up during a massage), and after each massage to ensure that your massage needs are being fully addressed. And really finding a massage therapist that you click with and can work with you to get the results you are looking for is the bottom line! Leave the training and techniques to us! Just relax, enjoy, and feel good!