Modalities

Massage Therapy Modalities Explained By Definition

*Epocha Wellness Massage Treatment Sessions incorporate the following modalities listed for selected treatments.  Enjoy reading through each definition that interests you and feel more empowered by knowing and understanding exactly the effects of treatment on your body, mind and spirit.

Aromatherapy Massage: Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for curative and rejuvenating effects. Dating back to ancient Egypt, India, and the Far East, this simple therapy has been used for centuries to reduce stress and tension, refresh and invigorate the body, soothe emotions, and clear the mind. After an initial discussion with the client, specific essential oils are used in conjunction with other appropriate techniques, such as massage, acupressure, or reflexology. Used in oils, the essential oil is absorbed through the skin and into the body to affect physiological change. When inhaled the aroma directly affects the limbic area of the brain that is related to emotions and memories.

AMTA Washington Chapter (2018, December 12). Massage and Bodywork Modalities. Retrieved from https://amta-wa.org/page/massagemodalities#Aromatherapy

Acupressure: Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body’s life force (sometimes known as qi or chi) to aid healing. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses the gentle but firm pressure of hands and feet.

AMTA Washington Chapter (2018, December 12). Massage and Bodywork Modalities. Retrieved from https://amta-wa.org/page/massagemodalities#Acupressure

 Acupressure continues to be the most effective method for self-treatment of tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the human hand. Acupressure can be effective in helping relieve headaches, eye strain, sinus problems, neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, tension due to stress, ulcer pain, menstrual cramps, lower backaches, constipation, and indigestion. Self-acupressure can also be used to relieve anxiety and improve sleep. There are also great advantages to using acupressure as a way to balance the body and maintain good health. The healing touch of acupressure reduces tension, increases circulation, and enables the body to relax deeply. By relieving stress, acupressure strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness.In acupressure, local symptoms are considered an expression of the condition of the body as a whole. A tension headache, for instance, may be rooted in the shoulder and neck area. Thus, acupressure focuses on relieving pain and discomfort, as well as responding to tension, before it develops into a disease—before the constrictions and imbalances can do further damage.The origins of acupressure are as ancient as the instinctive impulse to hold your forehead or temples when you have a headache. Everyone at one time or another has used their hands spontaneously to hold tense or painful places on the body. More than 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered that pressing certain points on the body relieved pain where it occurred and also benefited other parts of the body more remote from the pain and the pressure point. Gradually, they found other locations that not only alleviated pain, but also influenced the functioning of certain internal organs.(Definition, in part, from the book Acupressure’s Potent Points, by Michael Reed Gach, director of the Acupressure Institute, Bantam, 1990.)

ABMP (2018 December, 12). Massage Therapy.com Glossary.  Retrieved from https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary

 

 Deep Tissue Massage: 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. The term “deep tissue” is often misused to identify a massage that is performed with sustained deep pressure. Deep tissue massage is a separate category of massage therapy, used to treat particular musculoskeletal disorders and complaints and employs a dedicated set of techniques and strokes to achieve a measure of relief. It should not be confused with “deep pressure” massage, which is one that is performed with sustained strong, occasionally intense pressure throughout an entire full-body session. Deep tissue massage is applied to both the superficial and deep layers of muscles, fascia, and other structures.

AMTA Washington Chapter (2018, December 12). Massage and Bodywork Modalities. Retrieved from https://amta-wa.org/page/massagemodalities#Deep%20Tissue%20Massage

Bodywork:Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or repatterning to affect structural changes to the body.

ABMP (2018 December, 12). Massage Therapy.com Glossary.  Retrieved from https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/all

 

Craniosacral Therapy: Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. Developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, this manual therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes and has proven effective in treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. The roots of this therapy are in cranial osteopathy, developed by Dr. William G. Sutherland.

The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth—which make up the cranium—down to the sacrum or tailbone. Since this system influences the development and function of the brain and spinal cord, any imbalance or dysfunction in the craniosacral system could cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities. These problems may include chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning disabilities, and other dysfunctions of the central nervous system.Craniosacral therapy encourages the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease.The craniosacral therapy practitioner uses a light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system. Therapists generally use only five grams of pressure, roughly the weight of a nickel, to test for restrictions in various parts of the craniosacral system. It’s often possible for the evaluation alone to remove the restriction and allow the system to correct itself.

ABMP (2018 December, 12). Massage Therapy.com Glossary.  Retrieved from https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/all

Sound Therapy & Healing Sounds: In Sound Therapy the media of sound (music, tones, vibrations, etc.) are used as tools for healing, sound therapy enables the realignment of natural body rhythms. Therapy may include, but is not limited to, the use of Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, acutonic tuning forks, rattles, and drums. Healing sounds is a practice that uses sound to create balance and alignment in the physical body, the energy centers (chakras), and/or the etheric fields. It is a vibration applied by an instrument or the human voice and can be understood as a field of energy medicine. The primary question in this field is: What are the correct resonant frequencies of the body?

 

ABMP (2018 December, 12). Massage Therapy.com Glossary.  Retrieved from https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/all

Infant Massage: Becoming increasingly popular, infant massage is usually taught to new mothers as a way of bonding with their newborn and of encouraging infant health. Promoted by Vimala McClure, it incorporates nurturing touch, massage, and reflexology in a loving, fun, one-on-one interaction. A study at the University of Miami showed that infants who received 15 minutes of massage a day gained weight 47% faster and demonstrated other physical and neurological benefits.

AMTA Washington Chapter (2018, December 12). Massage and Bodywork Modalities. Retrieved from https://amta-wa.org/page/massagemodalities#Infant%20Massage

 

Hot Stone Massage:   Developed in the Midwest for use in health spas, this technique uses stones that have been heated. These stones are positioned on the body and some are gently moved about with light pressure being exerted on the warm stones.

AMTA Washington Chapter (2018, December 12). Massage and Bodywork Modalities. Retrieved from https://amta-wa.org/page/massagemodalities#Hot%20Stone%20Massage

 

Reflexology:  Popularized in the United States by physiotherapist Eunice Inghram in the 1930s, this is an acupressure type technique performed on the hands and feet and is based on the ancient Oriental theory that meridian lines or pathways carry energy throughout the body. Because each zone or part of the body has a corresponding reflex point on the feet, stimulating that reflex point causes stimulation in the natural energy of the related organ. Crystalline-type deposits and/or tenderness indicate a dysfunction, and pressure is applied to clear out congestion and restore normal functioning and health.

https://amta-wa.org/page/massagemodalities#Reflexology

Sports Massage: Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment.

  • Pre-event massage is delivered at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. Fast-paced and stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. During the massage, the athlete generally focuses on visualizing the upcoming event.
  • Post-event massage is also delivered on site, through the clothes. The intent here is to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow.
  • When an athlete sustains an injury, skillful massage therapy can often speed and improve the quality of healing.

https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/all

 

Swedish Massage:  Swedish massage is now known as “traditional” massage. In the 1820s a Swedish doctor, Dr. Per Henrik Ling, developed the first modern method of massage through his study of physiology, gymnastics, and the massage techniques borrowed from China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Swedish massage includes long gliding strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, and shaking motions. It is effective for most ailments, because massaging the skin, the body’s largest organ, sets up a chain reaction that produces a positive effect on all layers and systems of the body. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, and promotes health and wellbeing. Rated Medium.

https://amta-wa.org/page/massagemodalities#Swedish%20Massage

 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction:  Relaxation techniques, meditation, and easy stretching exercises are combined to allow the client to become mindful in order to access inner sources of power. By being fully mindful and awake in life, clients may cope more effectively with stress and illness.

https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/all

Prenatal/Pregnancy Massage: When performed by a trained perinatal specialist, many methods of massage and somatic therapies are both effective and safe prenatally and during labor and postpartum periods of women’s pregnancies.

Prenatally, specific techniques can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and easing pain and anxiety.

In the postpartum period, specialized techniques rebalance structure, physiology, and emotions of the new mother and may help her to bond with and care for her infant.

Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions, and contraindications is highly recommended, and many practitioners require referrals from physicians prior to therapy.

https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/all

 

Somatic Education: Somatic Education is a healthcare modality taught and practiced in a co-creative partnership with nature. Somatic Education considers the body as one of nature’s gardens, and facilitates self-healing by working with flower essences; maps and calibration; and environmental, energy, and other processes.

https://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/all

Somatic Therapy: “Somatic” means “of the body” and is often used to denote a body/mind or whole-body approach, as distinguished from a physiology-only perspective.

 

Myofascial Cupping: Myofascial Cupping is a soft tissue therapy that encourages healing by creating a negative pressure or suction on the skin using plastic or glass cups that pull up underlying tissues, blood, and other fluids close to the surface of the skin.

Other types of cupping include wet cupping and fire cupping. The NHPC does not support wet cupping because it involves making small lacerations in its application. The NHPC does not recognize fire cupping because of fire and burn hazards.

Myofascial Cupping does not use heat or fire to depressurize the cups and does not use scalpels or needles.

Origin

While many assume that Cupping originated in China with Traditional Chinese Medicine, the earliest records of Cupping date back to Egypt in 1550 BC, where it was mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus. Egyptians are believed to have introduced it to the Greeks around 400 BC.

The earliest recorded use of Cupping in Asian medical systems dates back to a Taoist alchemist and herbalist who lived from 281 to 341 AD. Eventually, Cupping was spread to the Americas and to Europe.

Cupping has increased in popularity and is used as an integrative therapy in modern medicine. Myofascial Cupping is often incorporated into other manual therapy techniques such as massage therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and other injury rehabilitation techniques.

Treatment

A Myofascial Cupping treatment uses a combination of massage strokes and negative pressure to lift, separate, and stretch underlying soft tissues. Cupping is typically applied on the neck, shoulders, back, sacrum, hip, abdomen, thigh, calves, and upper arms.

Areas of musculoskeletal tension or congestion are located using massage techniques, and cups may be applied on an affected area and moved over the surface in a gliding motion, or possibly put on a fascial adhesion or trigger point for a short time to reduce or eliminate it.

Myofascial Cupping uses cups made of glass or plastic; some have soft squeezable bulbs at one end and some can be attached to a machine or manual pump that creates the suction.

These methods avoid the danger of using heat and fire to depressurize the cups. Cupping procedures may leave light to dark red marks on the skin that disappear in 5 to 10 days.

Benefits

Myofascial Cupping can help treat soft tissue conditions and musculoskeletal tension, pain, and common sporting injuries. It can also create relaxation through stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Myofascial Cupping (2018 December, 12). Natural Health Practitioners of Canada. Retrieved from https://www.nhpcanada.org/for-the-public/holistic-health-guide/index.html?char=M&id=76&title=Myofascial-Cupping

 

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