Swedish massage is the primary technique taught to Massage Therapists in Ontario. This technique combines kneading and gliding to encourage the muscle to return to its optimal healthy state. The pressure of a Swedish massage can range from relaxation to deep tissue, depending on your goals.
Deep tissue massage is the application of Swedish massage to relax and release deep layers of a targeted muscle. It is often used in combination with other techniques such as Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Therapy. Deep tissue massage is great for treating specific conditions, and therefore requires a greater amount of time focused on the target area.
A trigger point is a hyperirritable nodule in a taught band, and is often the result of stress being placed upon a muscle. Massage Therapists are able to identify and release trigger points through a variety of techniques, including sustained pressure and kneading. Trigger point therapy is usually incorporated into all massages, unless the primary goal is purely relaxation.
Easing jaw (Temporomandibular Joint) pain is one of my passions! After personally benefitting from TMJ massage, I realized the extreme power that the technique can have to ease an aching jaw. Clenching and grinding of one’s teeth can create chronic tension and restrictions within the jaw, ultimately impacting its equilibrium. The jaw is one of the areas in the body that is rarely addressed, and many clients have resulting tension there.
Treatment involves working directly on the TMJ muscles. With a gloved hand, I manipulate the tissues on the inside of the mouth for 20-30 seconds at a time. The external tissues are also massaged to help balance the joint in order to create optimal functionality.
Whether the tension causes a small ache, or a large *click* (or even a locked jaw!), massage is worth exploring if you are suffering from TMJ dysfunction.
During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes many neuromuscular and ligamentous changes that can place additional stress on joints within the body. Pre-natal massage is a great way to ease aching areas, and help relax the mother-to-be before the arrival of her little one.
After the first trimester, Massage Therapists modify a pregnant client’s position so that she is on her side, in a safe and comfortable manner. The format is very similar to that of a regular massage, with the exception being that the woman lies on her side, with ample pillowing to ensure her comfort.
Massage therapy can be especially beneficial for pregnant women, as it has been shown to improve maternal mood by decreasing stress hormones, anxiety, and pain. It may also have added benefits, such as decreased length of labour, shorter hospital stay, and less sensitivity. There are also benefits for your baby: Infant Behaviour and Development (a peer reviewed journal), also concluded that premature babies receiving massage gain 47% more weight, increase their bone density, and leave the hospital sooner (RMTAO.com).
Reflexology is a specialized foot massage that can help heal and release tension throughout the body. There are specific points located in the feet that when manipulated or stimulated can reflexively affect the body as a whole.
A reflexology treatment consists of an entire hour devoted to the feet, starting with a warm foot bath. The massage therapist then applies pressure to specific points on the feet and ankles and finishes the treatment with a lower leg and foot massage using peppermint massage oils.
After spending all day on your feet, it is the perfect way to pamper them as well as yourself.
Hot Stone Massage Therapy is a therapeutic massage using heated stones. The smooth stones are of various sizes, and are made of balsamic lava rocks. They are heated in warm water to a specific temperature based on clients’ preference.
The massage is usually an hour and a half, to include the whole body. The massage therapist holds the stones in their hands during the massage, and uses a slow movement to allow the heat from the rocks to release muscular tension.
A hot stone massage makes for a great gift on those cold, snowy days!
Thai Massage (or Thai Yoga Massage) is a completely different form of massage therapy. It is done fully clothed (loose clothing or yoga pants are best) and on the floor. It uses a combination of breathing exercises, stretching, and pressure movement to balance the client’s energy lines. A full body treatment is an hour and half session, or can be condensed into an hour session specifically for the lower extremities.
Thai massage is an excellent treatment to help with flexibility and movement.
Myofascia is the connective tissue that surrounds all of your muscles and bones. Myofascial restrictions occur when muscles and fascia have been stressed to the point that they adhere to each other, causing scar tissue, which greatly reduces the range of motion of the structures around them. By applying pressure into the areas of restriction and holding for a prolonged period of time, the restricted areas will soften and a release will be felt.
The basic principle of MFR is that all structures within the body are connected through connective tissue, so a restriction in one area can pull on the structures from another, leading to secondary problems. A good visual example of this theory is to imagine wearing a nylon body suit; if you tug on the suit at the shoulder, fabric from the neck and torso will need to move in order to provide slack in the suit at the shoulder. In your body, a corresponding neck or hip issue may present itself to compensate for a shoulder problem.
MFR techniques require a dry surface to achieve a stretch beneath the Massage Therapist's hands, so no lotion is used. MFR can be performed on its own, or as part of a Swedish massage, as long as it is before lotion has been applied. If you have been experiencing a chronic condition that you can’t seem to resolve, MFR is what you’ve been looking for.