Massage Techniques

Massage Techniques 2018-06-17T16:07:55+00:00

We utilize many techniques to achieve a client’s massage healing goals, some of which involve assessing his/her conditions and some of which involve repair work. The first step is to look at the client’s perpetuating factors. Age, stress, response to prior therapies, pre-existing conditions, family history, nutrition, diet and exercise all play a role in the client’s ability to work in a healing partnership with me. We then assess postural imbalances and musculoskeletal dysfunction, and by determining the presence of circulation restrictions, nerve compression or entrapment in the soft tissue(s). This determines which specific therapy(s) will be utilized.

We hold certifications in all of the following therapies and techniques

Circulatory/Swedish massage is a relaxing, full-body massage.
The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles.

Several different hand techniques are used to increased circulation without increasing heart load. Swedish/Circulatory massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by helping the body to flush the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable. This kind of massage also stimulates the skin and soothes the nerves in the nervous system. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management.

Sessions are normally 60 to 90 minutes long.

This is a combination of muscle sculpting and structural organization. This method uses fascial manipulation techniques to create a more organized physical structure in its relationship to gravity and movement.

Using a series of deep compressions, pressure is slowly increased as the muscle tissue relaxes and invites the therapist’s hands deeper into the tissue.

This work can help release chronic pain and muscle tension. Unlike a deeper circulatory massage, which encompasses the entire body; Deep Tissue Manipulation sessions target only one or two areas of the body for which the client asks to have addressed.

This work is performed directly on the skin without the use of oil or lotion.

Advanced Circulatory Massage

Includes the use of the thumbs, fingers and palms similar to that in a Swedish/Circulatory Massage. Plus additional tools, such as, elbows and knuckles are used. Advanced Circulatory massage feels good, is relaxing and invigorating. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, while promoting health and well being.

Sports Massage

Incorporates techniques to treat clients ranging from the moderately active to the serious athlete. This is a special form of massage, typically used pre-event, post-event and after athletic events for maintenance.

Techniques used promote greater athletic endurance and performance, lessen chances of injury and reduce recovery time. This prepares the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, and to promote flexibility. Special techniques are used to clean out old adhesions and scar tissue promoting better performance and faster healing.

Trigger Points, or habitually contracted muscle fibers in the muscles of the body, are estimated by pain clinic doctors to be a primary cause of myofascial pain. The multitude of pain problems that trigger points cause can be eliminated easily by the physiologically-based, proven modality of Trigger Point Therapy.

Trigger point therapy can and will be integrated into any bodywork session. While having these knots and stains of tension released can sometimes feel intense, the relief from pain and constriction occurs immediately, with last effects.

Client participation is encouraged, empowering those who wish to use it for personal change and growth. The therapist will take you on a journey of self-discovery as you search, reveal, recognize and initiate the healing release of your own trigger points. You will be given the practical knowledge, methods and tools to erase these sources of pain and dysfunction in her/his own body from your own body.

A scientifically validated body therapy, similar to the program Ida Rolf pioneered. The work focuses on the muscle’s protective layer, called fascia. The fascia surrounds all the muscles, bones and organs in the body. The fascia gives muscles their shape and the body its structure.

Structural Integration is a ten session, step-by-step fascial manipulation process. Each session is approximately one and half hour in length. It is preferable that the sessions are received, one per week for ten weeks in a row. The sessions are administered progressively; each session builds upon the last until complete integration of the body is achieved. Male clients receive work in underwear or swimsuit, women in two piece swimsuits or bra and underwear.

Structural Integration aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia. As fascia is lengthened it allows the muscles to move more efficiently. The practitioner will apply pressure to the body, working the entire fascial system in a systematic way. When restricted fascia is released and lengthened the body can return to its structurally optimal position.

The process includes balancing the body in segments and achieving vertical alignment from balancing the body from front to back, side to side, top to bottom and inside to outside. The body then works with gravity, rather than against it.

As a result of the process, people often appear taller and slimmer. Feelings of discomfort or pain are often alleviated. Also greater flexibility, a feeling of lightness and fluidity, better balance, increased breathing capacity, increased energy and greater self-confidence.

We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems and behavior patterns as well as the physical being, thus, Structural Integration affects the whole person. It will also help reduce stress, provide greater self-confidence and improved ability to handle life’s changes.

This work is based on client participation, empowering those who wish to use it for personal change and growth.

NMT is based on neurological laws that explain how the central nervous system maintains homoeostatic balance. NMT includes myofascial release, positional release and trigger point therapy. This therapy restores homoeostasis between the nervous and musculoskeletal systems while enhancing the function of joints, muscles, and the biomechanics of the body. It also speeds healing by facilitating the release of the body’s natural pain killer, endorphins.

Clients who suffer from acute to chronic pain resulting from occupational, sports and/or automobile injuries, benefit from receiving NeuroMuscular Therapy. Specific types of dysfunctions and repetitive motion and accumulative traumas respond well to NMT, including sciatica, rotator cuff dysfunction, carpal tunnel and thoracic outlet syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and migraines.

NMT, has found its home, not only in the treatment rooms of massage therapy, but also in occupational and physical therapy, nursing, naturopathic, chiropractic, osteopathic and physical medicine clinics worldwide, as well as in many forward-looking Primary Care practices.

 Photo courtesy of AMBPHow much good can really happen in ten, twenty or even minutes of chair massage?

The answer turns out to be: a lot. Studies have shown that the brain begins to recharge in just a few minutes.

Chair massage is a way to gain some of the benefits of massage while still wearing all your clothing. This is the technique for any person who needs relief in the high-tension areas of the neck, shoulders, arms, and upper back.

During a chair massage, elbows or other tools to stretch and place pressure on the affected tissues in order to relieve tension and relax the muscles.

 Photo courtesy of AMBPA natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears. It is believed that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and person’s general health.

Through the application of pressure on these reflexes, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body. The feet are the primary area of application. This is done with the use of cream, but no tools.

Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis.

 Photo courtesy of AMBPThai Foot Massage is a relaxing yet invigorating treatment of the feet that originated from the ancient reflexology systems of China and India.

This modality uses Thai acupressure points, Sen Lines (Thai energy lines) and Chinese reflex points that produce relaxation; reduce stress; improve circulation; detoxify and revitalize the body.

The Thai Sen lines (energy lines) run throughout the entire body with specific points ending at the feet and hands. The obstruction of this flow of energy is thought to be the cause of discomfort or illness in a person. The techniques of Thai Foot Massage are thought to stimulate and open these channels.

During the session a special Thai herbal balm will be applied and the use of a variety of hands-on techniques including graceful two handed palm movements, stretches, circular massage movements and thumb pressure. A special Thai massage stick (made from teak wood) is used for specific acupressure, to stimulate organ reflex points located on the soles of the feet.

Clients leave the session feeling relaxed, balanced and invigorated.

Thai Foot Massage is done in 30 minute to 60 minute sessions. However, parts of this technique can be added to any bodywork session.

 Photo courtesy of AMBPThis ancient method is also called Thai yoga massage, requires no massage table or oil; just your open mind and your willingness to heal. Thai massage is said to be both relaxing and energizing.

A therapist uses hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches.

Through progressively deeper muscle stretching, joint release and emphasis on the breath, Thai massage offers many of the same benefits as yoga. Benefits include enhanced flexibility, inner organ massage, a balanced and increased energy, better posture, and a lasting feeling of well being while quieting the mind.

By combining rhythmic rocking and stretches, both client and therapist move into a state of meditative relaxation.

It is an interactive form of bodywork in which we see how much more we are able to move when another person is providing assistance and encouraging us to relax.

Muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure are also used during treatment.

Sessions last from 90-minute to 3 hour treatment for the entire body.

Also used are a range of motion, traction, and massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points; this is claimed to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions.

Tui Na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy and by definition, is the use of the hands in 13 specific ways. The oscillating style is used, as well as the traditional brushing, kneading, rolling, pressing, and rubbing the areas of muscles and joints to stimulate the body’s immune response and get the energy moving in the muscle, and throughout the whole body.

Also used are a range of motion, traction, and massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points; this is claimed to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions.

This is all done in an attempt to bring the body into balance according to the principles of Traditional Oriental Medicine.

This modality can be added to any bodywork session .

 Photo Courtesy of Zaskalan PhotographyBasic principles of traditional oriental medicine are used and several clinical techniques can be incorporated into any massage session or done by themselves: the use of liniments, Fire Cupping, Moxibustion, Castor Oil Packs, Plum Blossom Hammer, Press seeds, Gua Sha, and ear coning.

Fire Cupping

is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin; this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing.


is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years to strengthen the blood, and maintain general health.

Castor oil

has a long history of traditional medical use dating back to ancient Egypt. A castor oil pack is placed on the skin to increase circulation and to promote elimination and healing of the tissues and organs underneath the skin. It is used to stimulate the liver, relieve pain, increase lymphatic circulation, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion.

The Plum Blossom Hammer

used as a skin treatment is a relatively new concept in English-speaking nations. It is a very small hammer with that is placed with around five to seven needle points. This hammer is pressed gently against certain areas of the skin, and several uses are normally needed for an effective treatment.

The Plum Blossom hammer used with a light tapping method to cause redness of skin, or it can be tapped more heavily to cause bleeding. Both stimulate blood circulation to the area, allowing your body to transmit more nutrients to that area.

It is believed to be effective in increased immune response; vitiligo; preventing and reversing hair loss; help the appearance of scars; and for firming the tissue on the chin, abdomen and anywhere there are fat storages on the body, where the weight never seems to leave.

Gua Sha

is a form of folk medicine. It literally means “to scrape away fever” in Chinese (more loosely, “to scrape away disease by allowing the disease to escape as sandy-looking objects through the skin”).

Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha is a reddish, elevated rash. Sha is the term used to describe blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue before and after it is raised as a Sha rash. Gua Sha is one technique that intentionally raises Sha rashes. Many countries use this same procedure across the world.

The area is lubricated with oil. The skin is then rubbed with a round-edged instrument in downward strokes. One area is stroked until the Sha rash in that surface is raised. If there is no blood stasis the Sha rash will not form and the skin will only turn pink.

Pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger, CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle soft-touch, hands-on approach that practitioners use to release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CrainoSacral is increasingly used to improve whole-body health and performance; as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it’s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

The central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with. These restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch.

The craniosacral system is first evaluated by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

Manual lymph drainage is a type of gentle massage which is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph from the tissues. The lymph system does not have a pump like the blood and thus it depends on intrinsic contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph fluid through the vessels to lymph nodes and then beyond the lymph nodes to the lymph ducts which return lymph to the cardiovascular system. Manual lymph drainage uses a very small amount of pressure and rhythmic movements to stimulate lymph flow.

A few benefits of lymph drainage are: it relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, flushes toxins, and reduces swelling.

Photo Courtsey of Zaskalan PhotographyThe childbearing time is a very vulnerable time for a woman. Rapid changes are taking place to her both emotionally and physically. Everything is constantly altering during pregnancy including her posture and balance, body functions, aches, pains and emotional instability.
The goal of a massage therapist is to provide a comforting and healing touch throughout pregnancy, labor and postpartum.
Benefits include:
• Stress Reduction
• Relaxation
• Emotional Balancing
• Pain, aches and strain relief
• Structural Balance
• Improved Physiological Functioning (endocrine support)
• Improved Circulation
• Improved Respiratory Function including sinus pressure relief
• Gastrointestinal System benefits include reduced constipation, heartburn and gallbladder issues
• Skin stimulation: stimulates the brain, improves hormonal production and encourages lymph flow (reduces edema). Skin Stimulation also helps with skin tone including reduction of stretch marks.
• Labor Preparation
• Postpartum Recovery including physical and emotional.
 Photo courtesy of AMBPLomi Ka’Ala Hoku

“Massage Journey to the Stars”

Hawaiian Temple Bodywork

Lomi Ka’ala Hoku, also known as Hawaiian Lomi massage, is an ancient Hawaiian concept of working with the body, mind and soul of an individual. The idea is to calm the mind in order to heal the body. Hawaiian Temple Lomi style bodywork refers to the body as being the sacred temple of the soul. It incorporates many of the hand and foot movements of Hula, Ti Chi and Ti Kwon Do. These can be found in temple bodywork, which “dances” around the table.

Temple bodywork is the most common type of “Hawaiian Massage” that is being done in the world outside the Hawaiian Islands.

The therapist uses a generous amount of oil and his/her forearm to make elongating strokes to expand and revive the body, while increasing blood and lymph flow.

Session are a normally between 90 to 180 minutes.

Hot/Cold StonesHot Stone Massage is believed to have originated with Native American Indians who used hot stones in sweat lodge ceremonies to enhance relaxation during the elimination of physical and spiritual impurities.

A Hot Stone Massage begins with the application of heated river stones to key points on the body. The stones are then used as instruments used to apply pressure and reach deeper tissue layers.

The direct heat penetrates muscles and melts away tension. The heat also benefits the body by stimulating circulation, expanding blood vessels and allowing the body to naturally detox and heal itself. The result is a deeply penetrating, relaxing Circulatory/Swedish massage.

Hot Stone Massages are done in 90 minute or 120 minute sessions. Hot Stone Massage is extra wonderful in cold months, but is beneficial year-round.

 Photo courtesy of AMBPDiscover the relaxing benefits of a Swedish massage combined with exciting benefits of spa treatments. Experience a Swedish massage as never before.

Techniques added to the massage include: body exfoliations; wraps; facial masks; cellulite massage and treatments; dry-brushing techniques; hand and foot treatments; and more. You can even add a reflexology session to this.

Sessions range from 90 minutes to 120 minutes.

 Photo courtesy of AMBPHerbs have long held an important place in our wellness. Prized since ancient times, and even today, we rely on them to improve the health of our body, mind, and soul.

Used both internally and externally, the benefits of herbal use are practically endless. Herbs are, in fact, medicines in smaller dosages. Different herbs are used for different purposes.

During massage the herbs are used externally, in raw form, compresses, wraps, scrubs, liniments, creams, oils and/or aromatics.