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Therapeutic Healing Modalities (Massage)

Updated on March 1, 2013


In another hub I talked about the benefits and contraindications of massage. This list holds a very few of the many modalities of healing therapies that practitioners may learn to use. To be licensed as a Massage Therapist in Texas, you must have 500 hours training in massage, including anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, and Swedish massage technique. The picture next to this text is "fish therapy".   hee,hee  ;o)

Cranio-Sacral Therapy

Also known as CST is a technique in which the therapist very lightly places their hands on different “listening points” of your body, for example the top of the feet, another point is the hip bone, the top of the head. The practitioner keeps her/his hands still, the body takes action and begins to realign itself.

To the person, it feels like the therapist is doing something, but the therapist is only the facilitator for the body’s interactions with itself. The therapist assists the body by keeping their hands very still, setting up an outer parameter, sort-of. It’s really hard to explain simply because it is very subtle and has no commonly known terms to use.

Note: The Texas Dept. of State Health Services, Massage Therapy Licensing Program has not yet accepted CST or other energy techniques listed below as valid therapeutic techniques; even though energy healing has been verified scientifically. ("Energy Medicine The Scientific Basis", by: James L. Oschman, PhD.;first published in 2000).

Lymphatic Dráinage Therapy

Also called LDT or MLD (Manual Lymph Dráinage) is a technique in which the therapist stimulates the fluid that assists in removing toxins from the body that are too large to exit through the blood stream. This technique is performed to very gently stimulate movement of the lymph fluid in the way a very light squeegee moves water.

This technique is especially useful if there has been a trauma, injury, you are preparing for surgery, or you came out of surgery 3 to 4 weeks ago. Swelling of any part of your body is the first clue that there has been an injury or trauma and the lymph are not flowing properly. This treatment is very immediate and you should always check with your physician to make sure it is safe. If you've had surgery, get his written approval for lymphatic drainage treatment and bring it to your lymphatic therapist.

If you plan on having plastic surgery like lypo-suction, you should have four treatments beginning two weeks before you have the lypo. Then beginning two weeks after the procedure, have four more treatments over two weeks. The state of Texas DOES recognize training in lymphatic drainage treatment. The advanced training in LDT requires you be tested in the proper use of pressure bandaging and in giving lymph drainage treatments to people having lymphodema.

Polarity Therapy

A simplistic definition of this method is the concept of visualizing the positive molecules drawn to one area, say the head; here you place one hand, and the negative molecules drawn to another area, say the feet; here you place the other hand. These represent two opposite poles of the body and are used to assist in balancing the body's energy.  

Using simple touch, polarity therapists use the negative or positive charges in their bodies assist in bringing balance and restoring the natural flow of energy.  Some people perform this technique naturally, although you do need to know what to look for to recognize the healing experience and know how to manage the mind during the therapy.

Therapeutic Touch

Commonly shortened to TT and also occasionally called Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch (NCTT), the therapist begins by placing their hands over the client’s head and between ¼ and 1 inch away from the body. The client may be sitting or laying down. As the practitioner moves down the body, they may feel things like vortexes, cold areas, extra warm areas, or other differences in the body's energy.

These areas may be areas of trauma, physical or energetic blockage points, or other different levels of energy. The therapist acts as a conduit of healing energy, from their heart, smoothing out turbulence and untangling the client’s Aura and energy, lessening their pain, confusion, or anxiety.


A spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui that uses a technique commonly called “palm healing” in which the therapist may or may not touch the client’s body. The therapist acts as a conduit to healing energy.  The greater degree the practitioner has achieved, the greater the energy power becomes.

A Reiki practitioner may achieve three degrees in Traditional and Westernized forms of Reiki. After the first degree, a Reiki practitioner is able to heal themselves and others, a second degree practitioner is able to heal others in distant locations. This technique is commonly known as 'distance healing'. When you've earned your third Reiki degree, you are considered a Master Reiki practitioner and may teach Reiki and perform “attunements”.

Chakra Clearing

In traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science this is a technique for re-vitalizing the energies of the 'subtle body'. It is not exactly clear what the subtle body is, but I think it probably includes the mental, emotional and etheric bodies.  The chakra’s are connections at specific 'intensity points' considered to be 'loci' of life energy, Prana, or Qi.  

The channels through which the Qi flows are called nadis and they seem to correspond with the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine.  Chakra clearing balances the person's desires and material wants. There are 7 major energy centers or Chakras  and many, many smaller ones in and around the body.

Shiatsu / Acupressure

Shiatsu is Japanese from 'shi', meaning finger, and 'atsu', meaning pressure; Acupressure is a similar Chinese technique; both are a traditional hands-on therapy that is based on anatomy, physiology, and a system of 'meridians' within the body.  

Each system teaches that energy (Qi) flows through the body along set pathways called meridians and when the meridians are blocked, illness or disease result.  Therapists locate points of blockage and then apply firm finger pressure to rebalance the energy flow.

Swedish massage

This technique is the one licensed and is the most commonly practiced method in the U.S. today. The therapist uses long strokes, kneading, wringing, and friction techniques on the superficial layers of muscles over the whole body. It is best for increasing overall relaxation and improving circulation.

Deep-Tissue massage

Deep-Tissue uses slow strokes and deep pressure to work on tight areas to release specific muscle tension areas and restore flexibility and range of motion.

Sports massage

This technique focuses on specific muscle groups to reduce or eliminate factors like muscle spasms, tendinitis, and muscle fatigue. These interfere with performance.  Massage can be used before and after participating in an event, after training, or to facilitate recovery from soft-tissue injury.

Trigger-point therapy

The therapist applies concentrated finger pressure to trigger points—specific areas of intense muscle tension—to break the cycle of spasm and pain. Once pressed the tension point may "refer" pain to other parts of the body that seem to have nothing to do with the point being pressed. 

This technique eases chronic conditions where injury  occurred many months or years ago and the condition has reached the stage of spasm/pain.  However, it can be painful to the client, so if you are very sensitive to pain, look somewhere else first.


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