Massage therapy is a sharing, facilitating, scientific art, which helps individuals obtain their highest health potential. It recognizes the relationship between body, mind and spirit and, with its techniques, relaxes the body, allowing a balance of mind and spirit to begin.
Massage therapy recognizes that clients are unique and that they are in-charge at all times.
The practice of massage moves from the technique to awareness, from awareness to respect, from respect to responsibility.
Giving and Receiving –
It is essential to learn to give and to receive during massage therapy.
Ask Permission –
Ask permission to work with your partner. In no way do you want to force yourself into your partner’s life. Remember, you are only a facilitator. You are not doing something TO him/her. You are doing something FOR and WITH him/her.
It is important for the giver to be centered or aware of “self”. Massage is a two-way flow of touch and response – a mutual exchange of energy. Centering is focusing or gathering your engird to a point that you can direct it toward any activity you choose. It is a state of balanced quietness and strength – the presence of the moment. More specifically, centering means focusing on the energy source, which enables you to rely on your intuition rather than your intellect. When your energy is focused, you need less muscle power, and you can give even a series of massages without tiring or feeling drained. Being centered entails having a relaxed body posture grounded through your legs and feet.
Benefits of Massage –
The benefits of massage therapy are both objective and subjective. In other words, some of the results of massage can be accurately measured while others are only assumed to be effective based on observation. The effects of massage are, then, both physical and mental.
- Improved movement of the blood and nutrients through the body
- Warm the skin
- Eliminate metabolic wastes
- Stretch the tendons
- Increase circulation
- Promote healing through increased circulation
- Short term pain relief by applying local pressure, thus crowding out pain impulses
- Ease chronic pain
- Reduce edema
- Relax tight muscles
- Release myofascial tension
- Balance muscle activity
- Restorative measure for old injuries
- Breakdown adhesions in old injuries
- Increase blood supply
- Reduce recovery time between athletic events
- Positive psychological benefits
- Increases own awareness of total being
Strokes for Massage System –
Touch or resting stroke – “The resting stroke” has two forms of application: passive touch and pressure. The focus of the “resting stroke” is contact.
Effleurage – The effleurage or long stroke is a gliding movement over the surface of the body in long, flowing strokes. The thumb or fingers, the knuckles, the hand, or the forearm are used. Effleurage strokes are general or specific and are used on all parts of the body. The movements are in the direction of the muscle fibers and usually toward the heart. The strokes may be superficial or deep, depending on the results desired. The focus of “effleurage” is length and direction.
Petrissage – The petrissage is a rhythmic kneading, pressing, rolling, lifting, or squeezing of the muscle tissue. With the hands and fingers, muscle is lifted away from the bone and other muscles to create space, to warm the area for deeper work, to squeeze out waste products, to evaluate for fascial restrictions, adhesions, and fibrosis. The focus of “petrissage” is three dimensional draining of tension.
Compression – The strokes are pressure strokes to push muscle against bone to spread muscle fibers. The focus of “compression” is space between muscle bundles.
Friction – This is performed with the fingertips, the thumbs, the elbow or the heel of the hand, depending on the area to be covered. The focus of “friction” is freedom from the unnecessary restriction of fascial constructions.
Vibration – This is a trembling, jostling movement transferred from the practitioner’s hand and arm or from an electrical appliance. The focus is a resonating awareness.
Tapotement – This is the term for rapidly striking the body with hands or fingers. Blows are given from the wrist with short, quick strokes. The basic types of tapotement are hacking, tapping, slapping, cupping, and beating. The focus is invigorating, rhythmic stimulation.
Joint Movement – This is an effort to increase the mobility and range of motion (ROM) of the body’s joints. There are passive movements and active, or resistive, movements. The focus of joint movement is free, unrestricted movement.