Have you experienced the blissful benefits of a professional massage where the muscles, tendon, ligaments and skin are kneaded, stroked and rubbed? Many times you enter a quiet room and remove all or most of your clothes. You lie on a massage table covered with a crisp white sheet and pull another sheet over your body. The lights are dimmed, soft, dreamy music is playing, and the therapist rubs the body with scented soft oil to allow hands to glide easily over the skin.
A well-done massage is a whole body experience. Even if you only have a single troubled area like your feet worked on, the experience wraps you in peace and serenity.
The benefits of this kneading, stroking and rubbing are immediate and long lasting. Tension leaves, pain lessens, you relax, you sleep better, you feel more alive and alert.
Different types have different results. The therapist can recommend which type may work best for you.
All types use some combination of these:
- Rubbing. This can be done with your fingers, fingertips, palms, fists, thumbs or elbow. You move across the area you are working with various pressure.
- Pressing. You find a muscle with a knot or a trigger point and press or make small kneading strokes. You are trying to stretch the muscle.
- Stroking. You make long even pushes or pulls with your palms on top of the muscle. These can with the direction of the muscle or against the direction of the muscle.
Specific massage techniques include holistic, deep tissue, sports, neuromuscular T, hot stone, aquatic, lymphatic, trigger points, and reflexology.
A brief description of these are: The holistic massage treats the whole person rather than each individual problem. Deep tissue massage is a heavy handed handling of the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Sports massage stresses getting the muscles to relax and stretch to allow maximum movement. Neuromuscular T. tries to balance the nervous system with the muscle system of the body. Hot stone massage places warm stones on problem areas and engery areas of the body to allow these to open and flow. Aquatic massage is done in a pool to reduce the body's reactions to gravity. Lymphatic drainage is used to stimulated and increase the release of body's waste and infection defense and to reduce swelling in connective tissues. Trigger point T. applies pressure to knots of muscles getting them to relax. Reflexology applies pressure to different spots on the foot to stimulate and heal different problems.
Most therapists use a combination in their treatments. Through their skilled hands and the customer's reaction, the professional can tell what the body needs, where to do it, how hard to do it, and when it is time to move on. With the extensive training and practice these professionals get, they can "read" a body and adjust the treatment to fit the need. This becomes so automatic, the therapist may not even be aware of the changes made during the therapy.
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