Most people think of a relaxing hour of rubbing and kneading that eases the muscles and relieves stress, when they think of massage. And this effects are true of all massages, but certain types of massages can actually offer many more health benefits. These are called therapeutic massages and they are often provided by medical centers like Icon Medical Centers because they are medically proven to provide health benefits. So if you have physical ailments that are not responding to other treatments, you should consider therapeutic massage. Here are the most popular types.
- Swedish Massage – Swedish is one of the oldest and most popular therapeutic massage types because of its effectiveness. It also forms the cornerstone for most other types of massage therapy techniques. It has a particular ability to energize the body by stimulating circulation in key areas of the body. Swedish massage uses a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive and tapping movements that aid with relaxation and circulation and also help heal scar tissue adhesions. This massage increases blood circulation to more than 4 times its normal rate and releases stagnant toxins and acids stored in the muscle fibers. The result is fresh oxygenated blood flow into the muscles that boosts energy levels.
- Deep Tissue Massage – Focuses on chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation and the reduction of inflammation-related pain from arthritis and tendinitis. Massage therapists who do this type of massage have advanced training in anatomy and physiology sciences and use the massage to affect the musculature and fascia layers. Deep tissue massage uses deeper pressure in conjunction with many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish massage. A slow pace along with guided breathing, assisted movement and target area specific massage helps release chronic muscle tension or knots. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep tissue massage. So often there is a period of relaxing massage before deep tissue begins. Deep tissue massage should not be painful, but its firm pressure makes it more uncomfortable than most other types of massage.
- Lymphatic Massage – The Lymphatic system’s job is to detoxify bodily fluids before they are circulated into the blood stream. The Lymphatic system moves the fluids through the body and then to the liver. Toxemia and swelling can result if the Lymphatic system not working properly. Lymphatic massage reduces muscle swelling, which increases blood flow, which in turn supports proper Lymphatic system functioning. The therapist works with flat hands, using all the fingers to stimulate wave-like movements. These subtle manual maneuvers activate lymph and interstitial fluid circulation as well as stimulate the functioning of the immune and parasympathetic nervous systems.
- Sports Massage — Sports Massage is a special form of massage used by athletes typically before, during, and after athletic events. The purpose of the massage is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to promote flexibility, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries from the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Depending on the needs of the athlete, a variety of techniques are used involving a blend of traditional Swedish Massage and Shiatsu. Sports massage works on the connective tissue and deep muscle structures. The massage is applied using hard and deep strokes, combined with finger pressure.