Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissue and joints of the body. The soft tissues include muscle, skin, tendons and associated fascia, ligaments and joint capsules. Massage has many diverse effects, which are primarily due to the therapist's hands moving over the body. The different movements can physically stretch muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia, encourage the circulation through the tissue, inhibit muscular spasms and be either sedating or stimulating to the nervous system.
The practice of massage therapy is the assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain. (Massage Therapy Act, 1991)
Therapeutic Massage is often beneficial in relieving a number of conditions, such as:
DESCRIPTION: A variety of techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying light to moderate pressure working on the superficial muscles.
USE: Shortens recovery time - flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. Increases circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable.
BENEFIT: It reduces stress, improves generalized relaxation both the emotional and physical, part of program for stress management.
DESCRIPTION: Technique that focuses on the specific deeper layers of muscle tissue. Releases chronic patterns of tension in the body - working on the tendons, muscles and fascia.
USE: The purpose is to "unstick" the fibers of a muscle while releasing deeply-held patterns of tension, removing toxins, while relaxing and soothing the muscle. It is both corrective and therapeutic. Deep tissue massage helps to break up and eliminate scar tissue.
BENEFIT: Loosens muscle tissues, release toxins from muscles. It aims to encourage the lymphatic and circulatory systems. Used as a maintenance tool to keep tissues supple and having optimum function.
DESCRIPTION: General Swedish techniques used with light to moderate pressure, touch is essential to a child's development, sense of well-being and good health, paediatric massage provides a positive and non-invasive treatment with trusting touch for the child’s well being.
USE: Tones and strengthens muscles of children, enhances circulation, reduce anxiety, aids to balance unstable hormones.
BENEFIT: Stress buster for children with chronic illnesses. Preschoolers - better performance on tests of their intellectual and manual skills. Improved sleep, decreased over activity, better behaviour ratings.
DESCRIPTION: Clinical massage or muscle therapy is very specific to the tissue or muscle being worked on and the purpose of DMT. This means that the client must keep their massage therapist informed of their pain tolerance at all times during the session. It is designed to address any dysfunctional areas or problems in the soft-tissues of the body. It is usually used for patients who are recovering from injuries or surgical procedures. Combining some elements of sports and medical massage, Emphasis is placed on understanding both the injury and its rehabilitation criteria.
USE: To treat soft-tissue pain and injury, addresses shortened muscles and restrictions in fascial and muscle tissue.
BENEFIT: Specificity of treatment to injury, seeking to work on the consistency of the connective tissue –muscle and tendons to return to pre-injury state. Restores the length and flexibility to the fascia, by normalizing the tissue and by improving the strength and overall health of the entire fascial system. It increases flexibility and range of motion.
DESCRIPTION: Addresses specific concerns related to sport and muscle groups most involved. Sports massage uses a mixture of deep tissue techniques, and isolated stretching to aid the athlete to enhance their performance and recovery.
USE: There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete:
1. MAINTENANCE - Zeroes in on specific muscle groups to improve range of motion, functions to keep joints supple and muscle right tone free from any adhesions.
2. EVENT varies dependent upon the timing. Pre-Event Massage - can help athletes prepare for a competitive event. A pre-event massage is brief and invigorating, usually lasting 15-20 minutes. It is given within an hour before the sporting event. Post-Event Massage should be calming and relaxing. Its goal is to ease muscle pain (by decreasing tension), muscle soreness (by dispersing lactic acid), and to reduce inflammation. Post-event massages encourage the return of blood and oxygen to tense areas, and they flush out metabolic waste products that have built up during strenuous muscle use.
3. REHABILITATIVE - specific techniques used to break down adhesions and release restrictions that may be inhibiting performance.
BENEFITS: Injury preventative modality, reducing recovery time, assists in injury healing and rehabilitation, drains away fatigue, relieves swelling, reduces muscle soreness and promotes flexibility.