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Kim Hilliard, LMT
Amanda Cohen, M.A., LMT, LMHC
Definition of Massage and Massage Therapy
Therapeutic massage involves the manipulation of the soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm, and stress; and, to promote health and wellness. AMTA defines Massage as, "a manual soft tissue manipulation that includes holding, causing movement, and/or applying pressure to the body."
Massage therapy is "a profession in which the practitioner applies manual techniques, and may apply adjunctive therapies, with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client." (AMTA)
Massage therapy improves functioning of the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems and may improve the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness. Massage involves holding, causing movement of soft tissue, and/or applying pressure to the body.
Effleurage is a stroke generally used
in a Swedish massage treatment. This smooth, gliding stroke is used to relax soft tissue
and is applied using both hands.
Petrissage (also called kneading) involves squeezing, rolling and kneading the muscles and usually follows effleurage during Swedish massage.
Friction is the deepest of Swedish massage strokes. This stroke encompasses deep, circular movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. The result causes an increase in blood flow to the massaged area.Tapotement is executed with cupped hands, fingers or the edge of the hand with short, alternating taps to the client.
Deep Tissue releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.Myofascial Release is a form of bodywork that is manipulative in nature and seeks to rebalance the body by releasing tension in the fascia. Long, stretching strokes are utilized to release muscular tension.
Trigger Point Therapy (also known as Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy) applies concentrated finger pressure to "trigger points" (painful irritated areas in muscles) to break cycles of spasm and pain.