Massage involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, forearm, and feet. There are over eighty different recognized massage modalities. The most cited reasons for introducing massage as therapy have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.
In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor. The massage subject may be fully or partly unclothed. Parts of the body may be covered with towels or sheets.
Deep Tissue Massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes, and patients who have sustained physical injury.
Myofascial Release refers to the manual massage technique for stretching the fascia and releasing bonds between fascia, integument, and muscles with the goal of eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and equilibrioception. Myofascial release usually involves applying shear compression or tension in various directions, or by skin rolling.
Reflexology Massage is based on the principal that there are reflexes in the hands and feet that relate to every organ, gland, and system of the body.
Sports Massage is a blend of Swedish massage and Shiatsu specifically designed to cater to the needs of professional athletes.
Swedish Massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are effleurage (light touch), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (compression), and stroking (sexual stimulation). Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of eight weeks.[ It has also been shown to be helpful in individuals with poor circulation.
Trigger Point Therapy is sometimes confused with pressure point massage. Trigger Point Masage involves deactivating trigger points that may cause local pain or refer pain and other sensations, such as headaches, in other parts of the body. Manual pressure, vibration, injection, or other treatment is applied to these points to relieve myofascial pain. These points relate to dysfunction in the myoneural junction, also called neuromuscular junction (NMJ), in muscle, and therefore this modality is different from reflexology, acupressure and pressure point massage.