The terms massage and bodywork are often used interchangeably. However, bodywork is an ‘umbrella’ term which includes many techniques/styles including massage. Bodywork includes just about any form of touch/healing therapy aimed at improving one’s energy, physical structure or mind-body connection.
There are many, many types of massage and bodywork being practiced all over the world. Here’s a look at some of the more common types of massage and bodywork, starting with massage.
Swedish Massage – Probably the most common type of massage, a Swedish Massage uses five basic strokes to increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and increase relaxation. An oil, lotion, or cream is applied to the skin to reduce friction.
Deep Tissue Massage – This form of massage uses techniques to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia. Sometimes called deep pressure massage, deep muscle massage, or even deep tissue sculpting, these techniques require that the therapist have a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, and myology. Superficial muscles need to be relaxed to reach the deeper layers, so other bodywork techniques are often mixed in throughout the session. Deep tissue massage can help relieve chronic muscular pain and help achieve better postural alignment.
Pregnancy Massage (or Prenatal Massage) – Perfect for the mother-to-be, pregnancy massage helps to decrease stress and swelling, reduce aches and pains and relieve muscle cramps/spasms all while helping prepare your body for labor. Your therapist should have additional training in this area to better understand the changes your body is going through and what techniques are safe to apply and how to properly position you throughout the nine months.
Sports Massage – Specific techniques are applied to enhance performance and speed recovery. Pre-event sports massage will focus on increasing circulation to warm up muscles (gentle stretching may be included as well). Post-event sports massage focuses more on calming and helping flush metabolic waste from muscle tissues to reduce recovery time. Sports massage can help to not only prevent sports related injuries (cramps, spasms, pulls) but can help reduce recovery time if any injury does occur.
Medically Prescribed Massage – Medically prescribed massage and manual therapy involves a different process than a standard massage session. There is a more lengthy intake, and an in depth consultation and assessment to understand and assess your condition. A strong knowledge of human body and the recovery process is required. Different modalities will be used depending on your condition.
Again, there are many types of Bodywork. I am only going to list the modalities I provide.
Myofascial Release (MFR) – This technique involves the application of sustained pressure and movement of the connective tissues in the body known as fascia. After an assessment of fascial movement a sustained pressure/traction is applied to the tissue to release areas of restriction and immobility. It is these areas of restriction and immobility of fascia that can cause pain and decreased range of motion in the body.
Shiatsu – A Japanese form of body work that literally translates to ‘finger pressure’. Shiatsu practitioners use their fingers, hands, and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points and sections of the body to correct imbalances and promote health. It can help adjust the body’s physical structure as well as its natural inner energies. When points are pressed, the body’s natural healing abilities are enhanced, releasing muscle tension and increasing circulation.
Body Drumming – Integrate the left and right hemispheres of your brain with shaking, rocking and percussion. The rhythmic techniques of percussion, body rocking, and jostling along with massage itself, integrate beautifully to release tension, stimulate healing energy and blood flow, release holding patterns, as well as mobilizing joints. A session can be very gentle and soothing to vigorous. The activation of the Healing Relaxation or Parasympathetic Mode of the Autonomic Nervous is also a very important benefit for the receiver.