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Elements Massage 2750 E Southlake Blvd, Ste 150
Southlake, TX   76092


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What does that really mean?

Feb 11, 2012

Often while filling out paperwork for their appointment new clients will ask "what does that really mean" when they are confronted with questions about the type of massage they are seeking. Let me take this opportunity to offer you a few definitions for some of the more commonly heard massage terms.

Swedish massage

Refers to a collection of techniques designed primarily to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. The lymph system and veins (which carry blood back to the heart) both rely on muscle action, rather than heart pump pressure, to operate. Many believe it is safe to apply light pressure in the opposite direction. Friction is reduced by cream, lotion or oil. Swedish massage can relax muscles, increase circulation, remove metabolic waste products, help the recipient obtain a feeling of connectedness, and a better awareness of their body and the way they use and position it. The strokes and manipulations of Swedish massage are each conceived as having a specific therapeutic benefit. One of the primary goals of Swedish massage is to speed venous return from the extremities. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissue of lactic acid, uric acid and other metabolic wastes. It improves circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons, keeping them supple. Swedish massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system while at the same time relaxing the nerves themselves. As it can help reduce emotional and physical stress it is often recommended as part of a regular program for stress management. It also has specific clinical uses in a medical or remedial therapy.

Deep Tissue Massage

Techniques which utilize deep tissue/deep muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require more advanced training and a more thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep tissue massage, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the practitioner from reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation, and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques.

Myofascial Release

A three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence of emotional patterns and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress. First, an assessment is made by visually analyzing the human frame, followed by the palpation of the tissue texture of various fascial layers. Upon locating an area of fascial tension, gentle pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction. Myofascial release is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches.

Trigger Point

Pain-relief techniques to alleviate muscle spasms and cramping. The therapist locates and deactivates 'trigger points', which are often tender areas where muscles have been damaged or acquired a re-occurring spasm or 'kink' that worsens painfully when aggravated. The major goals are to reduce spasm inducing new blood flow into the affected area. The spasms are partly maintained by nervous system feedback (pain-spasm-pain) cycle. Spasms also physically reduce blood flow to the trigger point area (ischemia), reducing oxygen supplied to the tissues and increasing the spasm. Pressure is applied to trigger points, for a short time (between about 7 to 10 seconds per point), which can be momentarily painful but is greatly relieving. It is common to hit the same trigger points several times during a session, but you won't be leaning into a sore spot for several minutes. Often ice or another cooling agent is used to reduce nervous system response, making the area easier and more comfortable to work. Then the muscles are gently stretched to complete the relaxation process, hence the name 'spray and stretch'. Myotherapy aims to erase pain and soothe tightened muscles. People with acute or chronic muscle tension and the associated pain are likely to benefit greatly from this type of treatment.

Sports Massage

Used primarily for the serious athlete who trains continuously. It focuses on the muscles relevant to the particular athletic activity. It also an include pre-event, post-event and maintenance techniques that promote greater athletic endurance and performance, lessen chances of injury and reduce recovery time.

While it is often beneficial to understand these and many other terms so that you can feel informed about your treatment plan it is also important to realize that it is not necessary to always know what the technical term is in order to get a wonderful therapeutic massage. At Elements our therapist will always consult with you before your session and ask you what you are looking for and if you have any issues that you would like them to address during the massage. The massage therapists at Elements Therapeutic Massage Southlake listen to your needs and employ the proper techniques to deliver a truly therapeutic experience.

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