SWEDISH MASSAGE was founded in the early 1800's by a fencing and gymnastics instructor named Per Henrik Ling. Ling's extensive travels throughout Europe, Asia, and India afforded him the opportunity to sample many disparate massage techniques from which he borrowed to create his own unique, eclectic form of therapy. He suffered from rheumatism in his arms and shoulders, and he found his new massage procedures remedied this ailment. By the time of his death, Ling had attained worldwide acclaim.
Swedish massage is one of the oldest approaches for relieving pain and stress. Chinese, Greeks, and Romans used some form of touching as part of their health care system. It is from Swedish-style massage that most currently utilized forms of massage descend. Used in modern times most extensively by Europeans, Massage Therapy has become popular in the United States during the past decade. People from all walks of life have discovered that massage therapy helps.
Basic Massage Techniques
Effleurage or stroking, is long sweeping movements which assist the flow of the venous and lymphatic circulation and, thus, its direction is normally toward the heart. It may be applied with one or both palms of the hand, knuckles, fingertips or the thumb. Using light pressure, it is a nice way to conclude massage on a section of the body.
Petrissage or kneading consists of lifting, rolling, squeezing, or wringing the muscle. In large areas it is performed with the thumb and entire palm. I small areas it can be performed with the thumb and index finger. Petrissage stimulates nerve endings, removes congestion and toxins, and assists in the contraction of weak muscles.
Friction is a circular movement, which loosens up joints, tendons and muscles and breaks up adhesions. It is done with the thumb, fingertips or palm of the hand using a circular movement toward the center or around the joint. Deep pressure may be applied with friction.
Vibration is a trembling movement of the tissues performed by placing the hand on the body and rapidly shaking by trembling. It stimulates nerves, circulation, glandular activity and the action of the digestive and eliminative organs (when applied to the abdomen).
Tapotement or percussion includes hacking, cupping and pounding which provide an exhilarating and stimulating finale to a massage treatment. Tapotement increases the blood supply to the surface of the skin, stimulates the nerves and increases the contraction of muscle fiber. When doing tapotement, hands and wrists must be kept loose to keep from injuring the recipient.
Compression is a stroke which utilizes a rhythmic, pumping action in which the muscle is compressed to achieve a spreading of the muscle fibers. The therapist engages the tissue, isolating the belly of the muscle. (The therapist's hands should not slide on the surface of the skin.) A horizontal movement may be added to the basic compression in order to achieve additional fiber spreading. Body weight and leverage should be utilized on this stroke. Use of oil should be greatly reduced (or even eliminated) in order to maintain firm contact with the skin. Compression strokes are normally applied proximal to distal.
Neuromuscular Massage Therapy (NMT)
Judith Walkers and Paul St. John's method are specific massage techniques that bring balance between the muscles, the skeletal system, and the nervous system. Balance within the body is important for maintaining optimum health. NMT is one of many approaches that can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Trigger Points are areas in the muscle that become irritated. When they are pressed upon they trigger referred sensations that may feel like pain, tingling, or numbness, just to name a few. If, for example, I press on a point in your neck, you may feel a referral of pain toward your head. Trigger Points may be released through this method of massage therapy to eliminate pain and discomfort elsewhere in the body. . For more information about pain and the therapeutic effects of massage, please see an article by Judith Walker entitled How Pain Hurts and Why Massage Helps!. Here are some PDF files you can download.
ORTHO-BIONOMY®, Is another effective approach of Bodywork and Neuromuscular therapy that uses gentle movements & preferred comfortable positions to unlock tension & relieve pain; there are no rapid adjustments, painful contortions, or deep muscle probing. Instead, Ortho-Bionomy® uses the body's preferred posture and mild exaggeration of any distortion to initiate postural balance and integration.
Ortho-Bionomy® eliminates painful spots in the body called Trigger Points, which are used as indicators of tense, unbalanced areas that lack proper alignment and tone. The client and practitioner work together to find these areas, thereby verifying the discomfort. Then through preferred gentle positioning or movement techniques done with the practitioner, the client can experience the release of these painful spots. The release is accompanied by structural realignment and re-education of muscles and nerves. Thus clients learn how to self-correct their musculoskeletal problems and pain syndromes.
Mental and emotional tensions locked in the body disappear at the same time, creating a feeling of lightness and ease. It is essential for the client to reinforce the sessions with home exercise for body awareness. Each treatment and homework prescription is tailored to the needs of the individual. Posture and gait training are often part of the client's self-care program. Conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Repetitive Motion Syndrome, TMJ Dysfunction, & Fibromyalgia respond to Ortho-Bionomy®.
Ortho-Bionomy® was developed by a British Osteopathic Physician, Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls. Since the early 1970's, Dr. Pauls has researched, expanded and refined this remarkable system. Ortho-Bionomy® has roots in 19th century and modern Osteopathy, as well as in medical antiquity, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Lawrence Jones' "Spontaneous Release by Positioning" & Strain Counter Strain, and Dr. Janet Travell's Myofacial Pain and Dysfunction. Dr. Pauls coined the term Ortho-Bionomy® to describe this study of the correct application of the laws of life and natural healing.
Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST)
This system is a potent tool using the functions of the Cranial Sacral system. It is an effective form of bodywork and of Neuromuscular Therapy which uses gentle movements to unlock tension and relieve pain. There are no rapid adjustments, painful contortions, or deep muscle probing.
Cranial Sacral Therapy was developed in the early 1900's by Dr. William Sutherland, an Osteopath who discovered that the skull bones are designed for movement. This therapy is continually being researched today by the Colorado Cranial Institute, the Upledger Institute, and the Society of Ortho-Bionomy®, just to name a few.
The cranial bones are connected to the sacrum by a continuous membrane system of connective tissue that houses the brain and spinal cord. The spinal fluid is pumped through the membranes, creating a rhythm which can be monitored and balanced. The rhythm, or cranial sacral pulse, is similar to the heartbeat, but it results from the rhythmic pumping of the spinal fluid in the head and spinal column. The whole body expands and contracts with this rhythm, but the cranial pulse can be felt most easily on the head. The core of your being, motor function, learning patterns, emotions, and ways of perceiving the world are affected by the balance of your Cranial Sacral system. As your Cranial Sacral system comes into balance, you will usually feel a release of accumulated stress and a general sense of well-being. Some specific complaints and physical problems will also clear up with Cranial Sacral work. Cranial Sacral Therapy can be effective in shifting emotional holding patterns and draining accumulated stresses in the nervous system. Clients often experience relief from headaches and other problems located in the head, jaw, neck, pelvis, and diaphragm. Conditions as diverse as learning disability, poor concentration, biomechanical dysfunction, and palsy can start to clear up using Cranial Sacral Therapy.
Neuromuscular Kinesthetics - Movement Reeducation
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF
BODY AWARENESS THROUGH NEUROMUSCULAR KINESTHETICS is designed EXCLUSIVELY for people who are willing to dedicate time to re-educating their bodies and themselves. Using these movements, a person will rediscovers comfort and to connect with the feeling of correct movement.
In 1989, fter a weekend study with Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, D.O., I started looking for ways to work with myself to help eliminate my physical pain and discomfort. During the first two years of researching certain subtle movements, I was pleased with what I was discovering. I noticed there were limitations and knew there was more that needed to be discovered to accompany the subtle movements.
In 1991, I attended a workshop on Active Isolated Stretching that was designed by Aaron Mattis. I spent a week working with this and liked the results. Then I decided to combine the principles of the stretching techniques and the principles of Ortho-Bionomy® to see what would happen. Happily, after a few months of personal research, found what I was looking for. I then combined this into what I was already doing, and thus a new system of movement was born without the use of stretching, which I termed "Neuromuscular Kinesthetics."
During my personal application of Neuromuscular Kinesthetics, I found these movements helped considerably to eliminate his pain, discomfort, and tension from muscular and structural dysfunction. Further, I found they helped to extend the feeling of comfort felt after receiving therapy sessions, regardless of the type of therapy employed.
During the past years, I compiled an array of movements, from basic to advanced, specifically applicable to every part of the body. Best of all, I discovered a simple way that you can apply the movements, once learned, any time, anywhere--whether you are at work or home, exercising or recreating, weight lifting or swimming, running or walking.
Neuromuscular Kinesthetics classes may be set up to accommodate your busy schedule - during the day, evening, once, or several times per week - so that you may rediscover comfort at your own pace. If you prefer, you may attend a group session as part of a weekend workshop.
Onsite Chair or Table Massage
Better Than a Coffee Break. ..
Stress and work seem inextricably linked. But thanks to a growing trend of offering massage therapy in the workplace, employees of some companies are able to soothe away the effects of stress.
"More and more companies offer massage therapy not only as a perk, but also to increase their employees' productivity and morale," said E. Houston LeBrun, president-elect of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). "You get immediate results — the employees experience stress reduction and greater satisfaction with their jobs."
Indeed, research on workplace massage backs up what individual employees report. A study by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami found that after five weeks, a group of 26 employees who had twice-weekly, 15-minute massages in the office fared better than a control group of 24 employees who were just told to close their eyes and relax. The massaged group experienced reduced stress and improved performance, while the control group did not. Using electroencephalograms (EEG), researchers measured alpha and beta waves in both groups, and found massage recipients to be more alert. Stress hormones in the saliva of the massaged group were lower than in the control group. The massaged workers completed math problems in half the time as normal and with half the errors they had before they were massaged. The math skills of the control group did not improve. The massage recipients also said they were less fatigued and more clear-headed.
That's significant, considering job stress is estimated to cost the economy $200 billion every year in lowered productivity, compensation claims, absenteeism, health insurance and direct medical expenses, according to the International Labour Organization's 1993 World Labour Report.
Every year, more companies are heeding the call. There are no statistics on the number of companies that offer massage therapy onsite, but those that have offered it include law firms, hospitals, manufacturers and major corporations, such as Boeing, Apple Computer, PepsiCo, Sony Music and United Airlines.
"It's increasing in popularity," said Matthew Guidry, senior advisor to the director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "It's become a definite part of disease prevention and health promotion programs in the workplace."
Most companies contract with massage therapists who schedule appointments with employees during breaks. Fully clothed, the employee sits on a specially designed massage chair, while the therapist uses a variety of gliding, kneading and finger pressure techniques adapted from Swedish, shiatsu and acupressure movements.
A typical workplace massage lasts 15 minutes and costs $15 to $20, according to Elliot Greene, past-president and current communications committee chair of AMTA. While the company sometimes pays the full fee, most often it either subsidizes the cost or the employee pays the entire amount.
Companies are often receptive to implementing a program that is such an employee-pleaser, but it's helpful to provide information to get the ball rolling. Contact Glenn Heminover at the Body Therapy Center.
Aromatherapy (Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils)