There are more over 150 types of massage therapy and also many different approaches and application to massage and body work that all involve the application of various techniques to stimulate the muscular structure and soft tissue of the body.
Remedial massage therapy is assessment and treatment of soft tissue dysfunctions that cause pain and restrict human movement. Remedial massage is performed to create a favourable condition for the body to return to normal health.
Remedial massage has two parts, the assessment and the treatment of soft tissue dysfunctions that cause pain and restrict human movement. The assessment information involves the recording of a comprehensive history, palpation, static postural analysis, dynamic postural analysis, gait analysis, general musculoskeletal screen, range of motion testing and special orthopaedic tests.
A client’s complaint is assessed via the most appropriate tests according to the different reasons. This may include posture, bio-mechanical, range of movement and neural tests. These tests help identify the most likely cause of pain or injury. If the assessment is consistent with pain or injury that is better dealt with by another health professional such as physio therapist, osteopaths, podiatrists etc, then remedial massage therapists will refer clients to the most appropriate person. Otherwise, they will treat accordingly. The treatment part will then depend on the pain or injury found. Different techniques apply for different types of dysfunctions.
Swedish massage is the manipulation of the superficial layers of muscles and soft tissue. It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles. This is also combined with movement of the joints. By relieving muscle tension, Swedish therapy can be both relaxing and energizing.
Swedish massage is the most commonly known and used form of massage in Europe, this type of massage is simply referred to as classic massage. It is one of the most commonly taught and well-known therapies and the foundation for many other forms of massage.
An aromatherapy massage is principally the same as a traditional Swedish massage but with the use of naturally occurring essential oils to enhance treatment benefits. The essential oils are diluted with base oil unless otherwise specified and are often used themselves as a treatment, with different oils being applied to different parts of the body. Pure essential oils can have very powerful effects, depending on the individual.
Deep Tissue Massage
The techniques used in deep tissue massage are similar to those used in Swedish massage but work as manipulation of the deeper layers of muscles using the forearms and elbows. Deep tissue massage techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. They have been a common means of treating musculoskeletal disorders for generations.
The major focus of sport massage is on improving flexibility, taking care of injuries or possible injuries, decreasing recovery time and fatigue while preparing both the body and mind for optimum performance. It is used for athletes who train intensely for competitions. These people use massage as part of their warm-ups to reduce the chances of cramps.
This is a unique healing massage derived from the ancient Polynesians and more specifically the master healers of Hawaii.
The massage is given in fluid, rhythmic motion using the forearms as well as the hands. Some people have described this as feeling like gentle waves moving over the body. Another feature is that different parts of the body may be massaged at the same time. This assists the recipient in totally relaxing as it is impossible or at least extremely difficult for the brain to focus on the two different areas at once. By not working on areas in isolation, a deep sense of balance and harmony is achieved. The massage can be done by one person or by two or more people working together. Having two people massaging tends to send the recipient into an even deeper level of relaxation.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot Stone Massage uses heated basalt lava stones with traditional Swedish massage techniques to relieve muscular tension and melt away stress. The stones are sanitised and heated in 50 to 60℃ water before the massage.
The therapist places them on areas of the body to open up meridians, loosen muscle and increase circulation. Loosening the muscles with heat first makes it easier for the therapist to work with muscle tissue.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
More commonly called “MLD” this is a type of massage based on the natural drainage of the lymph system. The lymph system depends on intrinsic contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels (peristalsis) and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph through the vessels to lymph nodes and then to the lymph ducts which return lymph to the cardiovascular system. Manual lymph drainage uses a specific amount of pressure (less than 9 ounces per square inch or about 5 kPa) and rhythmic circular movement to stimulate lymph flow. It has been used for various conditions including acne, arthritis, oedema, inflammation and sinusitis.
Reflexology is the treatment of specific points of the feet or hands using finger-point pressure to restore the flow of energy through the body. It is based on the theory that every part of the body corresponds to a precise point on the foot and that applying pressure to these points can stimulate the body’s natural healing power to treat minor disorders. Reflexologists believe that weaknesses in the body can be detected through reflex points. By working on these, the body flow of energy and ability to heal itself can be restored.
Indian Head Massage
Also known as Champissage, this originated in Asia some five millennia ago from the grooming routine commonly followed by women as rubbing coconut oil into their scalps to promote healthy, shiny, luxuriant hair. The massage comprises a firm gentle rhythm with three basic elements, each claiming to relate to one of the body’s energy centres (known as “chakras”). Chakras lie along the central axis of the body and are associated with aspects of personality and different systems of the body. An underactive or overactive chakra may denote an imbalance in the body or mind. Massaging the head and neck increases the oxygen supply and circulation to the brain, stimulates the lymphatic system, boosts energy, clarifies the mind and has a beneficial knock-on effect for the rest of the body.
Chair Massage is one of the most convenient methods of massage therapy. It often lasts 15 minutes and is done while fully clothed. It promotes better circulation and muscle stimulation. This form of massage reduces tension in the back, neck and shoulder providing deep relaxation. A short chair massage revitalizes the anatomy and encourages overall well-being. Chair massage is also advantageous because chair massage practitioners can work in any location.
Shiatsu is a Japanese word that translates as “finger pressure”. This is a traditional therapy developed in Japan in the early twentieth century. Techniques incorporate the use of theories and diagnostics drawn from traditional oriental medicine. Shiatsu aims to rectify any imbalances by working on the flow of life energy known as “ki” or “chi” which circulates around the body through channels called “meridians”. There are 12 principal channels as six yin and six yang running in pairs on either side of the body and each corresponds to an internal organ and its various functions.
Thai massage originated over 2,500 years ago as part of the ancient healing traditions of Ayurved. It is firmly embedded in the Buddhist philosophy and is practised and taught in Buddhist temples. It was embraced in Thailand following the spread of Buddhism throughout Southeast Asia. Thai massage views illness as the result of imbalances between mind, body and spirit. It aims to rectify and balance any disharmony by working on the flow of life energy known as “prana”. Like ki, prana circulates around the body through channels called “sen”; there are 10 main channels.
Thai massage relieves blockages or imbalances of prana by stimulating the sen through pressure and assisted stretching in positions similar to yoga postures. It is thought this improves health and well-being and increases the overall flexibility of the musculoskeletal system.
Zhi Ya Massage
Zhi Ya is a form of Chinese massage based on acupressure. It is similar to Tui Na massage except it focuses more on pinching and pressing at acupressure point.
Tui Na Massage
Tui Na is a form of Chinese massage that is similar Zhi Ya, but focusing more on pushing, stretching and kneading the muscle.
Also called “prenatal massage”, this is a good way to relieve some of the aches and pains experienced during pregnancy. It is advisable that individuals check with their doctor before receiving a treatment. Massage is not recommended during the first trimester. During the second trimester, massage can be given once a week and during the third trimester massage can be given twice a week.
Le Signature Whole Body Massage Le Signature Massage is a relaxation massage which incorporates a unique combination between Eastern and Western massage methods to stimulate different soft tissues in the body. The techniques of Western methods pay attention mainly on the external physical human body while Eastern methods focuses on assessing and restoring the vital flow of energy through “meridians” or energy channels. It also delicately blends the use of deep breathing, aromatherapy, along with complementing touch and other external senses of sight, sound, smell and taste.