Active Isolated Stretching: This method of stretching uses the neurological process of reciprocal innervation/inhibition. This allows the targeted muscle for stretching to be in a relaxed, inhibited state. The patient is assisted through a series of these stretches. The specific stretching protocol is based upon the targeted goal of the session, such as: pain relief, improved posture, or enhancing athletic performance. Care is taken by the physician/therapist to monitor and control factors such as: speed of movement, strength of contraction, duration of the stretch, plane of movement, and compensation at other joints.
MassageTherapy – description and categories
Massage therapy is both an art and a science. Among the literally hundreds of styles or methods of massage, there are at least a few fundamental similarities. First off, they feel good, they are safe for most people, and nearly anyone can learn how to give a good massage. Five broad categories describe the uses for most massage techniques. If we ask what the goal of the session is we can determine what the best methods to use to accomplish these goals.
Pain relief/restorative massage – The treatment is focused on finding and releasing triggerpoints or painful spasms of muscle tissue, breaking up scar tissue, lengthening shortened muscles and connective tissue, and assisting the clients nervous system into relaxing and returning to homeostasis or normalcy. This form of deep tissue neuromuscular massage can be used to relieve both acute and chronic pain.
Relaxation massage – This is the type of massage that many people have experienced. The main benefit often perceived by the client is the pleasure of having their body touched and manipulated in a safe and pain-free manner, that leaves them very relaxed and comfortable. The therapist is aware that one of the main benefits of this method of massage, is that the clients’ nervous system is relaxed and the body is able to come out of the Flight or Fight mode that we often find ourselves in due to stress. Stress not only doesn’t feel good, but is a common aggravating factor in most disease processes. A moderate amount of stress is normal and can be easily handled by the body. High levels of stress however, can lead to a variety of other issues such as weight gain, insomnia, or digestive problems to name a few.
Preventative or balancing massage – The treatment is applied on a regular basis, before any pain or symptoms of imbalance in the body appears. Many muscle injuries and pain can be avoided or minimized by the regular application of massage techniques designed to relieve muscle tension before it can tighten into knots or lead to pain, and to keep muscle and fascia (connective tissue) at the proper length to maintain proper posture and function.
Performance enhancing massage – Sports massage is a sub-specialty in the massage field. While the pain relief or restorative powers of massage are often used with injured athletes, if the preventative or balancing approach is used on the athlete, we can assist them in being able to perform their sport to the best of their ability. This is accomplished by the therapist understanding the biomechanics of the sport involved, and assisting the client/athlete in achieving as free and fluid a movement as possible. This allows for maximum power, agility, and endurance, while also minimizing the risk of muscle tears. In addition to sports massage techniques, a strong emphasis is placed upon improving flexibility using assisted stretching methods.
Energetic massage – Just as our modern physicists have determined that all matter is actually composed of energy slowed down enough to be tangible, the ancient Chinese and Indian scientists came to the same conclusion, thousands of years ago. Just as we can’t see or touch our memories and feelings, yet we know they exist, so too is the case for our energy body. It is encased or built into our “physical” body. As an example: It is often reported by amputees receiving acupuncture, that they can feel their missing toes or fingers as the acupuncture physician needles their body.
Shiatsu Massage, for thousands of years, Eastern healers have used pressure-point massage to balance the body; shiatsu is the Japanese version. The idea is that chi, or life energy, flows through the body in 14 meridians. When the meridians are blocked, physical or emotional problems result. During a shiatsu massage, you lie on a floor mat while the therapist gently rocks and stretches your body and applies finger and thumb pressure to points. The purpose can be to stimulate or to subdue energy, making shiatsu invigorating as well as relaxing. Shiatsu treats your whole being rather than a single aspect of your body.
Good to know:
Shiatsui is excellent for stress management and pain management. Loose, comfortable clothing is worn during a shiatsu massage.
Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese, but that doesn’t begin to cover it. Shiatsu therapists use their thumbs—as well as elbows, knees, and feet—to apply strategic pressure to muscles and connective tissues. Spas recommend it for stubborn knots, sports injuries, and back pain, and say the pressure can help trigger the release of chemicals, like cortisone, that help the body heal itself. Practitioners of Zen or Five Elements Shiatsu therapy use the pressure-point massage for another reason—to balance the body’s chi (energy), a practice that comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine. In both cases, you typically wear loose-fitting clothing and it’s done on a floor mat.
Expect intense pressure and a fair bit of movement as the therapist stretches your muscles and alleviates knots and pain. While it’s languid enough to ultimately relax your muscles, it’s not likely something you’ll sleep through. Some therapists will spend a lot of time on your hara (stomach), which is considered the root of imbalance in Five Elements Shiatsu.
Hot/Cold Stone Massage, The Heat is On During a hot stone massage, which became popular in the US in the 1990s, the therapist heats as many as 50 basalt stones to 120–140º F, rubs them over your oiled body, and rests them on top of and beneath you—on your stomach, in your palms, between your toes. The stones’ warmth enhances the relaxing effects of the pressure. Some people believe the stones have healing, grounding qualitie
Lymphatic drainage massage helps deliver cellular waste and microscopic villains like viruses and bacteria, which may cause cellulite, to the lymph nodes. These filter-like masses, which are found from head-to-toe, deliver this material to the liver, kidneys, and lungs. This drainage is essential because the lymphatic system lacks a pump of its own to transport the lymph through the body and must rely on movement, muscular contraction, and massage to flush the fluid.s, which makes hot stone massage a more profound experience than your basic massage. The therapist will leave some of the smooth, heated massage stones in contact with your body and use others to massage you. Cold stones are sometimes incorporated, especially on the face, where they have a firming effect. Hot stone a feel-good treatment found on most spa menus. Hot and cold stone temperatures have said to be like the ‘vascular gymnastics’ of the circulatory systems, the system that controls self-healing in the body.
Lymphatic-drainage massage is considered a staple practice for reducing swelling, relieving fatigue, or helping the body detox (removing waste from our own metabolic processes, not heavy metals or pollutants), which is why it’s included in spa fasting, cleansing, and smoking-cessation programs. Some facialists have seen great improvement of dark under-eye circles with the Vodder method in facials. Lymphatic-drainage massage can also offer some relief for fluid retention brought on by travel, menstruation, or pregnancy.
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