Four Types of Therapeutic Massage

As an adjunct to Acupuncture, massage is beneficial in chronic pain, limited mobility, postural problems, osteoarthritis pain, fibromyalgia, muscle tension or spasm (chronic knots), and for quick recovery from injuries. Whenever there is any chronic muscle tension or injury, the problem is usually caused by adhesions (bands of aching, stiff tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions obstruct circulation causing pain, restricted movement, and swelling.

Three basic processes can cause muscles to form scar tissue adhesions: 1. Injuries – tearing of muscle fibers from a strain. 2. Micro trauma – accumulation of small muscle tears over time. 3. Hypoxia – when a muscle does not get enough oxygen, scar tissue forms due to the mutation of healthy muscle cells.

Overused muscles can become chronically shorter, a result of fibrous scar tissue. While normal muscle are able to contract and relax without restrictions, over the years they can become gummed up. Without the ability to contract freely, the muscle can become weak, tight, and often painful. Since muscles have nerves that pass through them, scar tissue can entrap the nerves causing numbness and/or tingling sensations.

GENTLE MASSAGE can nudge these muscles to let go and breathe again. My technique is to slowly allow the muscle to open up at its own speed without imposing painful pressure. Gradually I move into deeper massage that can access underlying muscle layers. I do not believe in the necessity of painful pressure and rarely find it necessary. I believe that “Hurts Good” is far enough and I always listen to the patient’s feedback. Stressed muscles can block nutrients and oxygen from getting to where they need to go, and this will cause inflammation that allows toxins to build up in your muscle tissue, a feedback loop that contributes to more pain and stress. Massage breaks up and releases the built-up toxins by loosening the muscles. With the toxins released, blood and oxygen can circulate as they should through one’s body.

DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE works effectively by actually breaking down adhesions to re-establish the flow of energy and nerve conductivity, turn off the pain nerves, and reinstate normal movement. To carry this out, I apply hands or elbows, slowly and gently with increasing pressure.

FRICTION MASSAGE (Gua Sah) is a Chinese massage technique. A gentle painless rubbing with a firm implement to draw stagnant blood to the surface capillaries. It often leaves a visible trace on the skin that is not a bruise: it is simply the old, deoxygenated blood that has been stuck in the muscle and is now ready to recirculate through the heart and lungs and be oxygenated again. Meanwhile fresh blood is already taking its place in the muscles, giving an instant pain relief and a light feeling of flexibility. The discoloration dispapears within one to three days depending on the patient’s circulation. Gua Sah is particularly applicable around the neck and shoulders.

LYMPH MASSAGE is extremely gentle and slow, because its aim is to support the detoxification of metabolic waste products. Lymph is an extracellular fluid that enters the lymphatic vessels and carries infectious waste, alien proteins, and other foreign materials to lymph nodes where they are destroyed. Lymph only moves when we move—it needs the pumping action of contracting muscles to push this fluid along. Specific massage techniques can support this critical system. The strokes are light since the vessels are just below the skin, and the focus is on immune stimulation mostly of the upper body, including the face, neck, and arms.

One comment

  1. Hello! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone!

    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the great work!

Leave a Reply

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers