Massage Modalities

“Massage is something simple. It makes us more whole; more fully ourselves.”

Every session will be customized to meet the needs of the individual using the following modalities:

DEEP TISSUE is an effective modality for treating many types of injuries and chronic pain. It is both corrective and therapeutic; addressing deeply held patterns of tension in the muscle fibers. It is a deeper, slower technique that focuses on specific areas of pain and dis-ease.

When muscle fibers are healthy they glide over each other, contracting and relaxing. When injury, overuse or trauma occur the fibers actually stick together, causing pain, immobility, numbness and spasm. injured muscles can go into a state of constant contraction and adhesions can develop.

The goal of Deep Tissue is to go in and “un-stick” these muscles and break down the adhesions while flushing toxins from the area. Deep Tissue also helps to break up and eliminate scar tissues that have formed as a result of injuries. While this can lead to a very intense session, Deep Tissue does not have to hurt and most clients feel that is very relaxing and are pleased with long lasting relief from pain.

TRIGGER POINT THERAPY was pioneered by Janet Travell, MD, and is a very specific style of myofascial deep tissue. Trigger points are hyper-irritable spots in tight skeletal muscles that can refer pain to distant points in the body. Although there is considerable debate about what causes trigger points, treating them can be very effective in relieving pain. If a trigger point is present for a long period of time the muscle fibers can actually become less elastic and chronically shortened, reducing range of motion.

There are two types of Trigger Points; active and latent. Latent points do not cause any pain unless they are compressed, but can be responsible for restricted range of motion, stiffness and weakness of the affected muscle. Active Trigger Points can cause debilitating chronic pain that often refers to another area of the body in addition to the limited ROM and weakness.

Sustained compression of these specific points can neutralize them and eliminate chronic pain.  Trigger Points can be quite painful when compressed however they tend to release very quickly allowing the entire muscle to relax and elongate.

MYOFASCIAL RELEASE (MFR) was developed by John F. Barnes and is a very gentle technique that works primarily on the fascia. Fascia is a densely woven connective tissue that is similar to a spiders web in appearance. It covers and encases every single muscle, organ, bone and internal structure in the body. It is not a system of separate webs but rather one giant interwoven web that connects all the different parts of our bodies. Fascia is not contractile like our muscle tissue but healthy fascia has the ability to stretch and move without restriction.

Trauma, injury and inflammation can cause the fascia to lose its pliability and restrict the movement of the structures it encases. This can strangle the muscles inside and keep them from achieving their full range of motion. The muscle can be released repeatedly but if the fascia does not allow it to elongate then pain will not go away and ROM will not improve.

Myofascial Release is a gentle sustained pressure to the connective tissue that allows fascia to elongate without working on the muscles below.  It is lighter work and generally done without lotion or oil. After the fascial restrictions are addressed the muscles will be better able to release.

NEURO-KINETIC THERAPY (NKT) is a method of manual muscle testing designed to direct treatment and more accurately pinpoint the causes of pain. It was developed by manual therapist David Weinstock to help practitioners go directly to the cause of the pain rather than simply treating the symptoms of dysfunction and muscle imbalance. NKT is an assessment and treatment modality that addresses the causes of dysfunctional movement/coordination problems at their root in the motor control center in the cerebellum. NKT guides my treatments and helps me get to the root of where your pain is coming from.

SCAR TISSUE RELEASE can be very beneficial in the months immediately after a surgery or even years down the road. Whether your scars are surgical or related to trauma, gentle release work of the scar tissue can resolve a variety of issues from limited range of motion, to chronic pain and decreased strength.

PREGNANCY MASSAGE is a gentle, nurturing massage designed to focus on the areas that give expecting mothers the most discomfort.

The release of hormones such as relaxin and estrogen during pregnancy make joints more moveable so the pelvic bones can shift to accomm0date the baby. These subtle shifts combined with weight gain and an altered center of gravity can lead to great discomfort throughout the hips and back. The weight of the baby also compromises blood and lymph circulation to the legs and feet, often causing edema (swelling) and severe cramping in the legs and feet.

Massage can help relieve all of these discomforts, as well as reduce stress and promote deep and restful sleep. With the aid of a specially designed pregnancy table, pregnant women are able to lie comfortably face down throughout the full 40 weeks with the baby and abdomen fully supported

THAI MASSAGE Called “Lazy Person’s Yoga” in Thailand, Thai bodywork is very different than table massage.  Practiced on a mat on the floor, dressed in comfortable, non-restricting clothing and using no lotion, Thai massage is a series of gentle to deep stretches, joint mobilizations, and muscle compression using palms, thumbs, forearms, and feet.  The body’s energy system is  stimulated and opened, circulation increased and flexibility promoted.  You will feel relaxed and energized after a session. Especially recommended for low back pain and tight, restricted hips.

ACUPRESSURE is the ancient Eastern modality of stimulating and opening the body’s energy channels with finger pressure on the meridians.  Deeply relaxing, it is a wonderful addition to traditional Swedish massage and a beneficial and enjoyable standalone technique.  Acupressure can help lower blood pressure, stimulate the immune system and release chronic muscle tension.  It is an effective self-care tool – ask about acupressure points you can use on yourself for anxiety, nausea, headaches, and many other common complaints.  Acupressure may be suggested by your practitioner as an alternative to Swedish massage if you have a condition that contraindicates circulatory massage, for example, uncontrolled diabetes.

AROMATHERAPY, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.  It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.

REIKI is a form of therapy that uses simple no-touch and visualization techniques with the goal of improving the flow of life energy in a person. Reiki means “universal life energy” in Japanese and practitioners are trained to detect and alleviate problems of energy flow on the physical, emotional and spiritual level. Reiki touch therapy is used in much the same way to achieve similar effects to that of traditional massage therapy. It can relieve stress and pain and improve the symptoms of a variety of health conditions.

ACTIVE and PASSIVE STRETCHING and joint mobilizations are used to assess and correct restrictions or limitations in range of motion.  In an active stretch, the client is making the motion, often to assess a starting point or to see what progress has been made.  In a passive stretch, the therapist is moving the client’s body into the stretch, perhaps while directing the client in breathing or other techniques to facilitate muscle lengthening.  When mobilizing a joint, we are simultaneously evaluating the available range of motion, noticing any restrictions that exist, and attempting to improve the health and function of the joint by releasing those restrictions.

SWEDISH Swedish style massage combines long, flowing strokes with kneading of muscles and occasionally tapotements (percussion).  It is the foundation for many massage modalities, and sessions often begin with a few minutes of Swedish to apply lotion or oil, begin hands-on assessment, initiate the relaxation response, and warm the tissues in preparation for deeper work.  A Swedish only session could have a relaxation focus, or be more stimulating in nature, depending on pace of work and techniques utilized.

THAI-STYLE FOOT MASSAGE In Thailand, each traditional Thai massage begins and ends at the feet.  There are so many muscles, tendons, ligaments and energy points in the feet, making foot massage especially relaxing and beneficial to your entire being.  You can expect a mix of stretching, joint mobilizations, pressure to energy points, and massage using lotion and essential oils, if desired.  The feet, toes, ankles, and muscles of the lower legs are all included.  If selected as a stand alone session, 30 to 60 minutes is recommended, and you will receive your session lying face up on the massage table, pillows under your head and knees for maximum comfort.  Wear pants that can be pulled up over your knees, or plan to get under the sheets and blankets as for a typical table massage.  Your feet do so much for you – give them some extra love with an extended foot massage!


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