A system of therapeutic massage and exercise for the muscles and joints, which was developed in Sweden and is the most commonly used basis for classical Western massage.
The Swedish massage technique is usually performed in the direction of the heart, and can include active or passive joint movement. Therapists use Swedish massage techniques for relaxation, relief of muscular tension, and to improve circulation and range of motion.
Kahuna massage is a therapeutic massage technique based on the teachings and practices of the ancient Hawaiian spiritual traditions.
The Kahuna massage technique is very vigorous and rhythmic. The practitioner uses fingers, palms, wrists and forearms as they move rhythmically around the table.
The rhythmic motions are reported to have a deeply relaxing effect quite apart from the muscle relaxation that comes with a conventional massage.
Clients need to be aware of the state of undress that may go with this style of massage and should discuss this with the practitioner prior to commencement of treatment.
Hawaiian Lomi Lomi
Lomi Lomi means 'to rub and roll'. It is a unique style of massage that requires specialist training.
Lomi Lomi sees the practitioner using their hands, forearms, elbows, fingers, knees, and even sticks and stones to massage their client.
Hawaiian Lomi Lomi is traditionally identified as a ‘prayerful healing’ that works with breath. Flowing, soothing rhythm and pressure are used as part of a draped, full body massage with oils.
Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage therapies incorporate assisted joint rotations and muscle stretches that are all done with a meditative touch and slowly the pressure can increase into a very deep muscle massage. Different strokes and pressures with heat are used for clients with spasm or injury.
Thai massage is a system of massage and assisted stretching developed in Thailand and influenced by the traditional medicine systems of China, India and Southeast Asia.
Philosophically, Thai massage follows the Sen Sib lines (similar to meridians) which seeks to work with the life force throughout the body.
Thai massage is often performed on the floor with the client dressed in comfortable clothing to allow for movement. Oil is not applied in Thai massage except for the healing of certain parts, such as muscle trauma. The application of heat may also be applied by compress, oils, bath or sauna.
Thai massage reports to aid in both relaxing and invigorating the body; reduce stress, increase flexibility and range of motion, as well as improve circulation.
Acupressure is a technique of Chinese Traditional Medicine and is often described as 'acupuncture without needles'.
Deep finger pressure is applied at certain points to induce a reduction in tension, increase circulation and offer pain relief for many complaints.
It is said to remove energy blockages to promote good health.
The pressure points follow the historical Chinese energy channels of the body's meridian lines. Philosophically, Acupressure is a technique that encompass the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit.
Chinese Tui Na
Tui Na uses rhythmic compression along energy channels of the body. It includes a variety of techniques that manipulate and lubricate the joints.
Like acupressure, Tui Na directly affects the flow of energy of the Chinese meridian lines by holding and pressing the body at acupressure points. This type of massage can be quite strong for those not used to having massage.
Shiatsu is a traditional healing art originally from Japan which combines massage, stretching, and gentle physical pressure along meridian channels, similar to Chinese Medicine meridians and pressure points.
The practitioner uses fingers, palms, elbows, knees and feet to unblock and stimulate the flow of energy along the meridian lines.
Acupuncture also uses these meridians and pressure points to balance the body's energy (known as 'Ki' or 'Chi').
This is a holistic therapy designed to uplift and harmonise your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Each meridian relates to an organ function. When the meridians are balanced, the tissues, muscles, nerves, metabolism and emotions are balanced.
Specialities provide massage services designed for particular conditions or stages of life which exhibit common characteristics and or symptoms,
Baby/infant massage is seen as an excellent way for both parents to bond and communicate with their child.
Gentle touch is a very important part of a baby's existence and allows them to feel secure and loved. The benefits of baby/infant massage therapies may include improvement of their immune system, better quality sleep, relaxation, and can relieve pain from colic, gas and congestion.
Specific training should be sought from qualified trainers.
An Oncology Massage therapist has specialist training to understand the impacts of cancer treatments on the body.
Therapists adjust the massage according to the client's symptoms.
Oncology Massage is a complementary therapy used alongside cancer treatment and is proven to reduce both common side-effects of treatment and the quality of life.
This is a very gentle style of massage with the client's comfort being the most important consideration.
Training in this area of specialisation varies, so be sure to ask your therapist about their knowledge and experience in this area.
Sports Massage is an application of massage or myotherapy, not a particular technique.
The type of massage technique or treatment applied is dependent on the nature of the stage of training or competition, sports injury or condition, and the assessment of the client.
Sports therapy massage involves the objective assessment and treatment of amateur and elite athletes alike, focusing on prevention and treatment of sports-related conditions.
Sports therapy massage is used to help prepare athletes before competition, both physically and psychologically, as well as assist in subsequent recovery from training and competition.
Pregnancy massage is the application of Swedish and Remedial massage techniques by specially-trained practitioners to reduce stress and promote general wellbeing throughout pregnancy.
Regular massage throughout pregnancy may improve comfort for the mother during birthing and assist with a speedier return to optimal fitness post-birth and should be part of the holistic approach to the health of both mother and child.
There is no specific style or type of massage for the elderly. The needs of the elderly client are no different than any other individual.
What is important is that therapists adjust their massage pressure to suit the elderly in response to their pain thresholds; taking into consideration all medications, prescribed or self prescribed, and ensuring that the client is comfortable and warm at all times.
Massage specialities focus on reducing pain and soreness from injury or overuse; improving health and emotional wellbeing.
Systems within the body such as lymph and fascia are important and require specialist work due to the interconnecting features of organs with the entire body.
Also see Thai, Chinese and Japanese massage and Reflexology—all consider energy or meridian lines of the body as central to maintaining balance and health.
Also see Thai, Chinese and Japanese massage; and Reflexology which consider energy or meridian lines of the body as central to maintaining balance and health.
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that drain fluid (called lymphs) that leak from the blood vessels into the tissues and returns it back into the bloodstream via the lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system removes interstitial fluid from tissues by absorbing and transporting fatty acids and fats as chyle, a milky bodily fluid, from the digestive system and white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes into the bones.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
Manual Lymphatic Drainage involves a range of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move skin in the direction of the lymph flow through a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes.
MLD is a gentle whole body treatment which is designed to relax the nervous system and aid the body's immune system.
The technique is designed to support the body to naturally eliminate excess toxins, dead cells, viruses, bacteria and chemicals.
This type of massage may also relieve fluid congestion and swelling, promote wound healing and relieve stress/anxiety and should be provided by a therapist with specialist training.
Fascia is a system of thin connective tissue that weaves continuously throughout the body including the muscles, bones, organs arteries veins etc.
Pain symptoms can originate from specific points within your myofascial tissues called trigger points.
Trigger Point Therapy involves the compression of trigger points, causing the muscle fibres and nervous system to relax.
Trigger points are small areas of abnormally contracted muscle tissue leading to muscle tightness, dysfunction and pain.
Trigger points may be treated by qualified massage practitioners using deep pressure, ischemic compressions, myofascial dry needling, vibration, 'spray-and-stretch' techniques and other stretching techniques that cause muscles to relax. Practitioners may use elbows or various tools to direct pressure directly upon the trigger point.
Myofascial Release Therapy is a very gentle yet very effective hands-on manual therapy using sustained pressure into restrictions in the fascial system.
The fascia connects every part of the body, the therapy is based on the principle that poor posture, physical injury, illness and emotional stress can shift the body out of alignment and cause the intricate web of fascia to become tight and constricted.
This type of massage eliminates pain and restores motion and function to the body. Adhesions and scar tissue may also be broken down with these types of massage.
Fascial Kinetics is the name given to the work that addresses fascial and connective tissue restrictions in a very gentle and less obtrusive manner by working across the muscle fibres in a specific sequence.
This type of massage stimulates the body’s own healing response of the connective tissue, reducing inflammation, swelling and pain and increasing mobility. This treatment is suitable for most people .
Conditions that can be treated, among others, include frozen shoulder, back and neck problems, asthma, TMJ and tennis elbow.
Fascial Taping is a taping method developed over ten years using a combination of approaches from physiotherapy, soft tissue therapy and osteopathy.
It is a simple drug-free alternative that can immediately modify pain and increase movement and flexibility.
This innovative analgesic procedure is tailored to each client. It is a directionally-specific and load-dependent procedure that allows for activity and rehabilitation.
This type of massage provides immediate and long-term benefits, is non-invasive and a cost effective form of treatment. It works on a variety of conditions on most areas of the body including musculoskeletal injuries.
Muscle and tendons
Remedial Massage/Deep Tissue Massage concentrate on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.
These aim to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body, through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on contracted areas, by either following or crossing over the muscle fibres, fascia and tendons.
The techniques can include Trigger Point Therapy, deep tissue massage and stretching thereby creating an improved range of motion through the joints.
This type of massage and myotherapy addresses specific problems associated with chronic muscular pain, injury rehabilitation, sporting and occupational injuries, and physical and mental fatigue.
It is important to drink plenty of water after a deep-tissue session to help eliminate toxins from the body.
Remedial Bowen Therapy
Bowen Therapy is a very gentle, yet dynamic remedial therapy that is designed to encourage the body to heal itself.
Exact moves over muscles, tendons and ligaments are applied to disturb the fascia. There are frequent pauses between each series of moves to allow the body time to benefit from the treatment.
The aim of this therapy is to improve physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as improve energy levels and provide relief from pain and discomfort from the symptoms of chronic and acute conditions. Bowen does not interfere with the effectiveness of other disciplines.
Postural Integrity and Rolfing
Rolfing is a form of Structural Integration.
It is typically delivered as a series of physical manipulation sessions. Therapists combine superficial and deep manual therapy with movement prompts. The process is sometimes painful and should be provided by a therapist specifically trained in this technique. See also structural integration.
The Alexander Technique works by eliminating poor coordination habits through improved self-awareness in activity, better understanding of how to consciously cooperate with your physical structure, and better understand how to move well.
It involves the application of basic principles that help natural reflexes of balance and coordination.
This is achieved by observing posture, breathing patterns and movement patterns such as walking, standing up or sitting down in a chair.
The Feldenkrais method uses movement sequences to detect imbalance in the body caused by habitual and unconsidered actions or movements.
Feldenkrais is recognised for its ability to improve posture, flexibility, coordination, self-image and to alleviate muscular tension and pain.
It integrates both body and mind to achieve greater coordination, balance and performance.
Craniofascial Therapy uses slow pressure and stretching techniques to release connective tissue.
An involuntary movement is induced that assists with assessing and releasing restrictive patterns.
Craniofacial Therapy is a gentle non-invasive energetic touch therapy developed to help trigger the body's innate self-healing ability to release old suppressed trauma and establish ultimate balance in the body.
This technique is closely related to other therapies and techniques such as Polarity Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Acupressure and Myofascial Release.
Massage can be administered in a variety of situations, and hence is accessible to those who cannot go to a massage clinic or who have restricted movement.
Seat or chair massage uses the same techniques as remedial and Swedish massage which may also include some other techniques such as reflexology.
Seated massage is often used in a corporate environment or where a client is limited in movement due to age, injury or end-of-life care. Seated massage is performed fully clothed.
Corporate/seated massage therapists can be contracted by an employer, as a health benefit for their staff.
The client stays fully clothed and a session lasts 15 minutes with the therapist concentrating on back, shoulders, neck and arms. The client may experience relief from muscle tension, stress, headaches and back pain. This can result in less absence in the workplace, and improved company morale.
These types of massage are performed in the workplace and the therapist provides their own mobile massage chair or table.
Mobile Massage Service is available for clients who are unable to attend a clinic or find it more convenient to have a massage at home.
The elderly, those recovering from surgery, end-of-life care or other physiological conditions benefit from the convenience of mobile massage therapies. Mobile massage is also offered at some hotels for business people and recovery of the body after extended travel.
Depending on a client’s requirements, professional therapists will often integrate a variety of adjunct or complementary therapies into the massage or myotherapy treatment to increase theirclients’ wellbeing.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS or TNS)
TENS involves using electricity to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. The range of transcutaneously electrical currents delivered as modulated pulses in a variety of band width, frequency and intensity are used for nerve excitation. Electrical pulses produced by portable stimulators are used to treat pain through a number of electrodes connected to the skin. Generally TENS is applied at high frequency (>50 Hz) with an intensity below motor contraction (sensory intensity) or low frequency (<10 Hz) with an intensity that produces motor contraction.
Myofascial Dry Needling
Myofascial Dry Needling derives from Trigger Point Therapy. Using extremely fine needles, the active trigger points are 'deactivated' and released.
Myofascial Dry Needling is anatomically-based (not meridian or energy-systems based as in Chinese medicine and acupuncture).
The focus is on key areas of concern, as assessed by the therapist. Several trigger-points can be treated in a single session, with three to four treatments most often appropriate to eliminate those that persist. Some local pain or tenderness may be felt post-treatment, but a heat pack will assist with this.
Myofascial Dry Needling may benefit those presenting with dysfunctional postural patterns and chronic-pain problems and is delivered by a therapist with specialised training.
Aromatherapy is the application of essential oils combined with relaxation massage.
Essential oils are easily absorbed through the skin with a gentle massage by a professional aromatherapist.
The selected essential oils and base massage oil are combined to create a unique mix for individual needs. Massage that incorporates aromatherapy is designed to improve physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Cupping involves the use of warm glass cups or vacuum cups held by suction caused when warmed air in the cup cools, to massage the body by sliding along the muscle.
Traditionally the cups are placed on the back, shoulders and lower back in order to expel toxins from areas of pain and tightness.
Stationary cupping involves cups being left on the skin for 5 to 15 minutes to facilitate the release of stagnant blood, pathogenic factors and dispel internal heat based on Chinese Medicine principles.
Massage cupping uses oil so the cup can glide over the skin to release tension and congestion in the muscles.
Most cupping procedures will create a red to dark red circle on the skin, but this generally disappears within a week.
The action on the nervous system can be sedating and clients report experiencing a deep state of relaxation. Clients can also experience a feeling of lightness and flexibility in the area of pain or range of movement restrictions.
Kinesiology/Touch for Health is a very powerful tool that combines a non-invasive muscle monitoring and feedback system with traditional theories of Chinese Medicine to evaluate energy (meridian flow) and body function.
Kinesiology's premise is that the body has an innate healing energy and is always repairing and caring for itself, but sometimes it needs to be helped along to achieve this care.
Kinesiology is not designed to treat or diagnose conditions.
It helps identify imbalances in the body's structural, chemical and emotional energy to establish the body's priority healing needs. Some areas this assists with are injury and emotional trauma, unresolved stress, fatigue and tiredness.
Reflexology is based on the principle that certain parts of the body reflect the whole.
Reflex points found in the feet, hands, ears and face relate to all areas of the body. Pressure is applied to the reflex points to stimulate energy flow to help restore the body's balance and health.
Polarity therapy is a natural health care system that works with the human energy field. Energy fields and currents exist everywhere in nature—modern science knows it as electromagnetic forces. The body work involves gentle non-invasive touch, rocking or stimulating of an area with the hands to move the energy to balance mind body and spirit.
Polarity therapy may clear blockages and help achieve balance within the person.
Corrective exercise is often used in rehabilitation or for the correction of poor habits body movement and function such as sitting incorrectly.
Corrective exercises assist the client to understand the impact, relevance and correct application of training techniques such as foam-rolling, stretching and trigger point release to help improve health, function and performance.
Hot stone massage is a variation on classic Swedish massage. Heated smooth, flat stones are either placed on key points on the body or used to massage certain areas of the body. The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric heating device until they are within a certain temperature range. The stones may be placed at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes.
The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows for deeper massage techniques to be applied if required.