There are so many different therapeutic massage modalities to choose from. Many of them offer sustainable relief from pain and circulatory issues. But often it's challenging to understand what the options are and how to choose what's best for you.
The questions are:
This blog article will provide information to support your choice to add Therapeutic Massage to your self care menu! Therapeutic massage incorporates a variety of advanced modalities that enhance the body's natural restorative functioning. Light to firm touch is used to release tension, relax muscles, increase blood and lymph circulation, and increase production of serotonin...a neurotransmitter and your body's antidote to too much adrenaline!
Below are the massage modalities offered through Bridge to Health by Brittany Craven LMT. She has 7 years of active experience and has put together this information to educate clients and readers about therapeutic massage modalities, which therapies are best for your needs and how to know whether the therapist you are choosing is qualified. Regulations for training in massage therapy have expanded in the past twenty years, most states and some cities require licensing and certain levels of certification. Organizations such as ABMP & NCBTMB help ensure standards of practice throughout the profession.
Having a short conversation with the therapist before making your initial appointment is crucial. It's your opportunity to ask about their credentials, training and years of experience. Additionally it is recommended that you check out their website and reviews. Bridge to Health offers a Free Fifteen Minute Consult for all clients. This allows you to get to know the therapist and allows them to make recommendations based on your symptoms or needs.
The massage session will/should focus on your major areas of concern. A well trained therapist will also allow time to round out your session with other complementary modalities.
Conditions which will benefit from therapeutic massage modalities are:
Therapeutic massage differs from "spa like" massages in that they are specifically targeted to relieve pain and bring improvement to the acute or chronic issues that arise in the body of almost everyone at some time.
Spa massages generally are high in the "feel so good" response. They are relaxing and indulgent, but are not the best choice for those with chronic or acute pain, or other health issues. Practitioners of quality pamper who offer spa like sessions are providing a level of relaxation on the level of a mini-vacation. Sessions with an excellent relaxation massage therapist are a delight to the senses and will leave you smiling!
However, a massage therapist whose practice focus is to lead you into sustainable relief from pain, stress or other concerns, will provide the "feel good" response and sustainable relief leading to facilitation of healing potential. The modalities listed below can be integrated into therapeutic massage sessions.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage:
The lymphatic system cycles fluids with toxins from our tissues and intestines, it is a key component of the immune system
Similar to the circulatory system, the lymphatic system is a network of vessels that transport lymph fluid and pathogen fighting cells to the tissues of the body. However, it does not have a heart to pump it so it requires movement in order to flow properly.
Lymph vessels are very thin so it is easy for them to become partially clogged by dead cells and proteins or constricted by surrounding connective tissue tensions. For lymphatic drainage, gentle techniques are applied to release tissue tension to encourage lymph fluids to release clearing the internal clogs.
The intestinal lymphatic system serves vital functions in the regulation of tissue fluid homeostasis, immune surveillance, and the transport of nutrients, and conversely this system is affected by, and directly contributes to disease processes within the intestine. Lymphatic Drainage Massage and Visceral Manipulation work well together to improve overall immunity and fluid clearing.
Most people are unaware of the invaluable healing support massage modalities can offer, Visceral Manipulation is a key therapy to alleviate and in many cases promote a cure for many symptoms of the gut as well as improving function of the internal organs of the abdomen.
Visceral manipulation focuses on the internal organs in the abdomen and their interdependent relationship. Physical and emotional traumas such as car accidents, injuries, grief, PTSD and even everyday stressors can cause the tissues in the gut to constrict and twist in a pattern referred to as chronic holding. These restrictions will interfere with the movement of the stomach and bowels leading to conditions like heartburn, bloating, GERD, constipation, intestinal torsion (volvulus), and symptoms of IBS. For more information on the benefits of visceral manipulation visit this article, "Trust your Gut" from the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada
Level of pressure is guided by the client with the intention of gradually being able to move deeper into the abdomen to maximize benefits. Feedback from the client is crucial in all modalities, especially visceral manipulation.
Myo...latin derivation for muscle, fascial...the fascia tissue of the body.
Fascia is an network of tissue that runs throughout the entire body. it is interconnected through every cell, organ, and body cavities. You could remove all the bones, organs and muscles leaving only the fascia and your body would still be the shape it is now. The fascia is the amazing organ that literally holds you together!
Fascia can become injured, dehydrated or restricted. Causes of fascial restriction are numerous, but can be boiled down to injuries, repetitive movements (tennis elbow, etc..), poor workplace ergonomics, surgeries, scar tissue and emotional trauma which can also develop into chronic holding.
An example of chronic holding is finding yourself clenching your jaw...holding your breath, shoulders are up to your ears...everyday stresses of life tend to produce chronic holding as does lifetime traumas or abuse. This holding causes the restriction in the fascia, reduces the flow of blood and lymph leading to chronic pain anywhere in the body.
MFR is the "king" of pain relief modalities and is recognized by many professionals and researchers as highly effective. In addition to being effective for a wide variety of issues, a good therapist will also give you "homework" in the form of self treatment options to further promote healing. This modality is most effective when sessions are frequent and close together.
Pioneered by Osteopathic Physician, John E. Upledger, during his tenure years at Michigan State University where he served as professor of bio-mechanics. He developed the foundational techniques of Cranio-Sacral Therapy used today.
During CST treatment the therapist evaluates and enhances the functioning of what is called the cranio-sacral system. This system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
Using these techniques practitioners release tension and restrictions in the cranio-sacral system allowing the body to relax and self correct, freeing the central nervous system to perform at it’s best. A truly unique experience this modality produces sustainable relief and a high level of something more than relaxation....it is somewhat indescribable when done with a well experienced therapist.
Reflexology and Trigger Point Therapy
Reflexology and trigger point therapies are similar and yet different. Reflexology focuses on the areas of the body that are junction points for the energetic meridians of the body. This therapy is applied primarily to the feet and hands, but is also used on other parts of the body especially along the neck, shoulders, arms and legs. Similar to acupressure the goal is to relieve congested energy improving the flow of chi or energy in the body system.
Trigger point therapy consists of the practitioner focusing on "hot spots" in the body, commonly referred to as trigger points. Pressure is applied to these painful, sensitive areas in order to alleviate the pain. Active trigger points can cause what is called "referred pain", meaning the constriction at the trigger point may be responsible for pain in other parts of the body. This brings us back to the fascia....restrictions in one part of the body can cause pain in another part of the body!
The therapist finds and applies pressure at painful trigger points which will relax the muscle and affected tissues.
When pressure is applied on the trigger point, it may cause discomfort, though it does sometimes produce the odd effect "it hurts so good"!
This modality is especially helpful for clients who suffer with "range of motion" issues due to injuries, lack of exercise, too much intense exercise or age related to limited movement capability.
During a session of therapeutic stretching the practitioner will initially assess the clients needs and work progressively on the areas of greatest concern.
As with MFR this modality becomes more effective when sessions are regular and clients continue to support the session work by doing recommended practices at home between sessions.
The relief that comes from having someone else stretch you out is amazing! The therapist is able to help you make gains in flexibility and improved range of motion that might not otherwise be possible for you to do on your own. The goal with therapeutic stretching is restoration of movement and improved overall flexibility.
Certified Wellness Consultant speaks up!