Swedish massage is a gentle, rhythmic massage that is very good to relax soft body tissue and facilitate healing. It is lighter in touch than other forms of massage techniques and includes long flowing strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on more superficial layers of the muscles. It can loosen stiff joints, reduce muscle tension, and help clear nasal or chest congestion. This massage can alleviate stiffness and fatigue as well as improve circulation.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage uses slow strokes and deep pressure to relieve pain and muscle tension throughout the body. This type of massage is extremely beneficial because it reaches the deepest layer of muscles, fascia and tendons to release chronic tension that may have developed from injury or overuse. The goal in deep tissue massage is to breakdown adhesions (tense areas within the muscle) which cause pain, inflammation and limit motion of the muscles and joints.
By definition, Neuromuscular Therapy is the utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses (which are responsible for every movement, function and thought) to the body very slowly. Injury, trauma, postural distortion or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body vulnerable to pain and dysfunction. Neuromuscular Therapy massage works to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health.
Neuromuscular Therapy will be used to address five elements that may be causing you pain:
- Ischemia: Lack of blood supply to soft tissues which causes hypersensitivity to touch
- Trigger Points: Highly irritated points in muscles which refer pain to other parts of the body
- Nerve Compression or Entrapment: Pressure on a nerve by soft tissue, cartilage or bone
- Postural Distortion: Imbalance of the muscular system resulting from the movement of the body off the longitudinal and horizontal planes
- Biomechanical Dysfunction: Imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting in faulty movement patterns (i.e., poor lifting habits, bad mechanics in a golf swing of tennis stroke, computer keyboarding)
Neuromuscular Therapy Technique
Neuromuscular therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. The massage therapy pressure is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbow. Once applied to a muscle spasm, the pressure should not vary for ten to thirty seconds.
Muscles that are in spasm will be painful to the touch. The pain is caused by ischemic muscle tissue. Ischemia means the muscle is lacking proper blood flow, usually due to the muscle spasm. This in turn creates a situation where the muscle is not receiving enough blood or enough oxygen. This lack of oxygen causes the muscle to produce lactic acid, making the muscle feel sore following physical activity. After the muscle is relaxed through massage therapy, the lactic acid will be released from the muscle, and the muscle should start receiving enough blood and oxygen.
Neuromuscular therapy may feel unfamiliar or even slightly painful at first, but the pressure of the massage should alleviate the muscle spasm. It is extremely important to communicate with your massage therapist regarding the pressure – whether the pressure is too much, too little, getting better, getting worse. Your therapist will listen and respond accordingly.
What to Expect After Neuromuscular Massage Therapy
Following a neuromuscular therapy massage, any soreness that presents itself should fade after twenty-four to thirty-six hours. The muscles that were tight should remain noticeably more relaxed for four to fourteen days, depending on stress, activity level, and severity of pain prior to beginning massage therapy.