If Massage Techniques don't come quite as naturally to you, as this child...read on...
Different massage techniques are taught at massage therapy and bodywork schools throughout the country. Some schools are community colleges, or vocational massage therapy schools geared toward teaching students to build a career in massage therapy, some are set up for teaching continuing education credits to already certified MTs, and some can teach the average ‘Joe’ techniques of massage they can use at home with their loved ones. The most common type of massage techniques taught in this country is the Swedish Massage. This type of massage involves five basic types of strokes, which are meant to be choreographed together to approach the entire body in one session. These strokes were initially created as a form of physical therapy, to enhance circulation, increase range of motion and reduce scar tissue.
The signature strokes used in traditional Swedish Massage are:
1) Effleurage – long flowing strokes, generally done in the direction of the heart to enhance return circulation
2) Petrissage – a stroke effected with two hands in the shape of a C, pulling the muscle up slightly away from the bone
3) Compression – compressing the muscle tissue either to the surface beneath it, or to the bone it lies over
4) Friction – quick movements, frequently without cream to create heat between the hands of the giver and the body part of the receiver, to bring circulation to the surface of the skin
5) Vibration – a quick, small movement meant to enhance circulation, or flush out interstitial (between the tissue) fluid
Some other major bodywork and massage techniques, which have become more popular in the past ten years or so include, but are not limited to: shiatsu, myofascial, neuromuscular, sports, prenatal, thai (or thai yoga), acupressure, and trigger point therapy. These are applications of different techniques of massage, which affect the nervous system in different ways. Most of these will cause a relaxation response in the body, which will counteract the effects of stress. When the asympathetic nervous system is triggered, (opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, which is related to the fight or flight response) the body relaxes, suppresses stress hormones and releases endorphins. The digestion reflex is triggered, sometimes causing your belly to growl, and frequently causing drooling…one of the funnier side effects of massage…this is the ‘rest and digest’ response, which is an indication that your body is probably out of hyper-alert state of stress, and closer to rest and recovery.
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