Massage Santa Barbara by Nicola offers many massage modalities and enhancements to his clients.
Massage Santa Barbara Modalities / Enhancements (click to select)
Below you’ll find some Massage Modalities Explained
Swedish massage incorporates several specific techniques that combine to give you a relaxing and beneficial experience. They include:
- Long, sweeping strokes over a muscle that help to break up trigger points
- Kneading the muscle to work deeper into the affected area
- Rhythmically tapping an area with cupped hands to facilitate relaxation
- Friction or rubbing a muscle group rapidly with the palms to stimulate warmth
- Vibration or using the fingertips to quickly shake a muscle back and forth to loosen the area
What Is Swedish Massage?
Although many assume Swedish massage comes from Sweden, Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909), a Dutchman, is often credited with formalizing the system known as Swedish massage—sometimes referred to as “classic massage” in Europe. Mezger assigned French names— effleurage, petrissage, friction, and tapotement—to the specific strokes used in Swedish massage applications. In English, these movements are known as stroking, kneading, rubbing (friction), and striking.
Swedish massage is focused primarily on the body and, therefore, is a more physical approach to relieving stress, aches, pains, and tension. One benefit of Swedish massage is its ability to relax the mind-brain connection—the mind being the energy and thoughts, and the brain is the physical matter. This is thought to contribute to a more balanced, stimulated, and integrated system. A healthy mind-brain connection may also help facilitate better physical health.
Although Swedish massage may seem to be a more aggressive application than other massage and bodywork techniques such as shiatsu or acupressure, practitioners take a gentle approach and may even incorporate shiatsu and acupressure in their sessions.
What Is a Swedish Massage Session Like?
Swedish massage may be gentle, seem more aggressive in its approach, or something in-between. As a client, you can request light, medium, or intense pressure and ask the practitioner to adjust their touch accordingly. Sessions typically last 30-60 minutes.
Similar to Thai massage, in a Swedish massage the client’s joints and muscles are compressed and stretched. This can cause an immediate release of energy that might cause the skin to flush. Clients might also experience a few temporary aches as the body readjusts itself, depending on their level of flexibility and any current physical ailments. For example, a person who arrives at a practitioner’s office with an ultra-tight muscle that has been traumatized may experience some pain while the trauma is massaged out and worked through. In massage, areas of stress and pain can act as blockages to the body’s circulation, energy flow, and overall well-being.
During a Swedish Massage Session:
To enhance the therapeutic benefits, your practitioner will likely incorporate the following into your Swedish massage session:
- Oils, balms, herbal applications, or heat may be applied to the skin to calm the body and mind. With these external applications, the body begins to release stress and is more receptive to receive the massage technique’s benefits.
- Soft music is often used to further assist in relaxation.
- To help facilitate the symbolic action of “letting go” of stress and blockages, many Swedish massage practitioners will leave the room and invite the client to disrobe, with either a sheet or large towel always covering the client’s private areas.
- Stroking in smooth movements, kneading to loosen muscles, rubbing or friction with the practitioner using both hands back and forth in opposite directions, and striking (tapping or chopping the body with fingers or hands) are all used in combination. These movements help relax the body, increase circulation, and improve drainage in the lymphatic system.
The client may feel a little dizzy at the completion of the Swedish massage session. This feeling is due to the new and intense sensation of the body’s renewed energy and circulation. Clients are encouraged to nap if possible, to give the body more time to savor the experience, but to sit quietly for several minutes at the very least.
What Are the Health Benefits of Swedish Massage?
Swedish massage helps the body heal itself by physically manipulating and stimulating the body’s circulatory and lymphatic systems. This works to energize and help eliminate toxins in the body. Also, through Swedish massage, a high level of relaxation can often be achieved, and this relaxation can help prepare the body to act as an open, receptive vessel in which healing can more rapidly occur.
Studies have provided evidence that Swedish massage may be beneficial for specific conditions such as arthritis in the knees, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, blood pressure, immune system issues, severe headaches and migraines, and fibromyalgia.
A study by the University of Miami Medical School also determined that massage therapy can have significant mental health benefits. Participants in a five-week massage experiment reported fewer symptoms of depression, lowered anxiety, and better overall social function when compared to a group that received only standard medical treatment.
Swedish Massage for Self-Care
A healthier, more energetic, and more vibrant you will help in nearly every encounter, from the home to the workplace. Regular Swedish massage can help you maintain greater emotional balance, a better functioning immune system, and a healthier lifestyle overall. Consider finding the right Swedish massage provider to add massage therapy to your self-care routine. This will help ensure that you can be the best caregiver for others when needed and may also help ensure your own needs are met, which is typically one goal of any self-care routine.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Swedish massage therapy can be helpful with a number of other physical challenges, such as a reduction in scar tissue by physically manipulating the fibers of the tissue, allowing the scar tissue to be successfully reabsorbed into the skin. Additionally, it can aid with lymphatic drainage, where the long strokes of the therapist help move fluids successfully out of clogged areas.
Interestingly, many patients and therapists swear by massage as a way to reduce constipation or digestive upset, since the increased circulatory benefits and relaxation of the abdominal and lower back muscles can help relieve symptoms. In fact, a 2014 study from the British journal Nursing Standard highlights a number of the ways abdominal massage encourages muscle contraction, nudging the gut to move things along.
What is massage?
Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing, and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massage, including these common types:
- Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping to help relax and energize you.
- Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
- Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sports activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
- Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.
Benefits of massage
Massage is generally considered part of complementary and integrative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.
Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.
Statistics in the United States
According to a 2002 survey of adults in the United States by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (NCCIH) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS):
- Acupuncture was used by 4.0% of the population, with 1.1% having used it in the last year.
- Chiropractic was used by 19.9% of the population, with 7.5% having used it in the last year.
- Deep breathing exercises were used by 14.6% of the population, with 11.6% having used the technique in the last year.
- Yoga was used by 7.5% of the population, with 5.1% having used it in the last year.
- T’ai chi was used by 2.5% of the population, with 1.3% having used it in the last year.
- Qigong was used by 0.5% of the population, with 0.3% having used it in the last year.
- Energy healing and reiki were used by 1.1% of the population, with 0.5% having used it in the last year.
The Difference Between Bodywork and Massage
Bodywork is a broad term for many different kinds of therapeutic touch, including massage, acupressure, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Feldenkrais, Trager, Craniosacral Therapy, Reflexology, Reiki, and many more. There are almost 300 massage and bodywork methods, according to the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, a membership organization for massage therapists and bodyworkers.
Bodywork includes ancient healing techniques such as Shiatsu and Thai massage, along with modern methods that are often named after their creator—Rolfing Structural Integration, The Feldenkrais Method, and The Trager Approach.
Bodywork ranges from very gentle energy work where the therapist uses light or even no touch, as in Reiki, to sometimes uncomfortable modalities such as Rolfing Structural Integration. In classic Rolfing, a series of 10 treatments uses physical manipulation of the fascia to release old holding patterns and misalignments that are responsible for much of chronic discomfort and pain. Other bodywork methods are aimed at reeducating the body’s movement patterns so that it functions better.
Most types of bodywork share similar goals, such as relief from pain, improved physical functioning, more freedom of movement, a balanced mind, and a heightened sense of body awareness, vitality, and well-being. They also stress active participation in health and wellness.
The Difference Between Bodywork and Massage
In order to practice massage therapy, most states require people to be licensed massage therapists (LMT). This includes Swedish massage and its various forms, such as deep tissue massage, medical massage, sports massage, aromatherapy massage, hot stone massage, pregnancy or prenatal massage, and even chair massage.
Some bodywork modalities, such as the Feldenkrais Method and the Alexander Technique, have a completely different yet extensive training program that doesn’t require a massage therapy license. The Barbara Brennan School of Healing offers a four-year program in energy work that culminates in a Bachelor’s in Science in Florida.
On the other hand, anyone can become a Reiki master in a short period of time. The symbols and hand positions are easy to learn, and the ability to perform the treatment is passed on via an “attunement” from another Reiki master. In most states, people must have to have a license in order to place their hands on someone, so the Reiki master might also be an LMT.
There are also different levels of training for various modalities. Someone practicing Thai massage may have learned how to practice it in their native land, learned it in a few weekends, or spent months studying overseas with a master. A person performing bodywork may or may not be an LMT. If someone calls themselves a bodyworker, ask pertinent questions, such as what kind of training they’ve had, in what modality, and what to expect during treatment. Formal training, years of experience, and natural gifts are all important in choosing a massage therapist or bodyworker.
Why Get Bodywork?
Many people turn to regular massage and bodywork because of chronic pain. It might take a variety of bodywork methods and practitioners to create lasting change. One practitioner or method might take clients to a certain point, and then it’s time to try someone or something else. In many ways, it’s each person’s own path of healing, and he or she has to direct it individually.
Many people find that it can take years, even a lifetime of regular care, to fully achieve and maintain the benefits of massage and bodywork. Getting one massage at a resort once or twice a year may be relaxing, but it is not going to undo chronic pain or keep your muscle tissue supple and responsive.
Deep Tissue Massage is a much more focused type of Therapeutic Massage. Although some of the strokes are similar to Swedish Relaxation Massage, the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain in order to reach the sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles) to release chronic muscle tension or “knots” also called adhesions. Deep Tissue Massage focuses on achieving therapeutic relief for these problem areas.
Is Deep Tissue Massage Painful? At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort. It’s important to communicate proper depth so your therapist does not go to too light or too deep, outside your comfort range. You should always feel free to speak up if the pressure is too much for you. If the pressure is more than you can comfortably take, you might unconsciously tense up, guarding your body against pain. This makes it harder for the therapist to achieve results.
Will I Get Results With Deep Tissue Massage?
It’s important to be realistic about what can be achieved with one Deep Tissue Massage. Many people want to get rid of all the tension they’ve built up in their bodies over many decades, in just one session. They ask for more pressure, thinking that if the therapist just pushes hard enough, they can get rid of all their knots in an hour. In fact, undoing chronic knots and tension built up over a lifetime is best achieved with an integrated program that includes exercise, correct posture, relaxation techniques, and a regular program of Deep Tissue Massage. After Deep Tissue Massage it’s important to drink lots of water to help flush lactic acid out of the tissues. It’s possible that you might feel some soreness the day after a deep tissue massage even if you do drink water. This means a lot of waste products were flushed out of the tissues. The soreness should pass within one or two days. Your Massage Therapist may recommend applying ice to specific areas. If you seek relief from chronic muscle pain and you are able to tolerate more direct pressure, greater long-term therapeutic benefits can be achieved by receiving Trigger Point Therapy. Before and during your massage session, communication is encouraged with your Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) so your massage is customized to your specific desires and needs.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE an INTRODUCTION
A deep tissue massage is not just a firm massage where you apply more pressure but instead consists of different techniques that are used to allow the therapist to work beyond the superficial muscles, usually in a specific area. During your consultation, it is important to find out as much information as possible, so that you can concentrate on the right area and also ascertain if any action makes the symptom worse. If a muscle has been injured or is holding tension, due to poor posture, stress, or illness, then adhesions can form. Adhesions are bands of painful, rigid tissue that can form in muscles, tendons, or ligaments, and can lead to poor blood flow to the area as well as limitation of movement, leading to pain. The purpose of a deep tissue massage is to release the muscle fibers that have become “stuck”, in order to remove toxins and to encourage blood to circulate again. It is important to note that clients should be referred to another professional such as an Osteopath, a Physiotherapist, or a Sports Massage therapist if they suspect that there is an injury that warrants expert advice. Always work within your own limitations. The Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage Deep Tissue Massage has many benefits: increases the range of motion (ROM) in joints improves blood flow to muscles breaks down and reduces adhesions can aim to improve postural faults can aim to relieve muscle spasm and tension improves the distribution of oxygen and nutrients to muscles reduces stress on other muscle groups which may be overcompensating loosens the fascia of the muscle,
ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY Muscle Structure.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.