SENSUAL/EROTIC massage "type" descriptions/definitions will vary practitioner to practitioner, please ask the individual practitioner to describe their meaning/definition of each specific term.
Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The practitioner uses a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. Benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.
Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep-tissue massage, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the practitioner from reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis.
Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. Fast-paced and stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. The intent here is to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body, stretching is often integrated into this specific modality.
This comprehensive program of soft-tissue manipulation balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. The goal is to help relieve the pain and dysfunction by understanding and alleviating the underlying cause. It is used to locate and release spasms and hyper contraction in the tissue, eliminate trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuild the strength of injured tissues, assist venous and lymphatic flow, and restore postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues.
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth--which make up the cranium--down to the sacrum or tailbone. Craniosacral therapy encourages the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease. The craniosacral therapy practitioner uses a light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system.
Also known as ice therapy, this modality uses the application of cold hydrotherapy in the form of ice packs and cold water immersions to alleviate blood flow, swelling, and inflammation with the contraction of blood vessels. Used in conjunction with heat, cryotherapy can increase circulation, and, hence, remove wastes and toxins from an injured area.
Myofascial release is the three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence of emotional patterns and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress. Upon locating an area of fascial tension, gentle pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction. Myofascial release is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches.
Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot, hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as zone therapy, this bodywork involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. This technique is used to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and stimulate circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids.
A stone massage uses stones, sometimes heated, to massage the body. The hardness of the stones allows the therapist to address specific problem areas with more detailed work or deeper pressure. Basalt stones of various sizes, shapes and weights are used throughout and heated in water. This style of massage is a spa style and if executed correctly is timed at 90 minutes for each session.
The use of essential oils (extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots) in body and skin care treatments is known as aromatherapy. Used as a healing technique for thousands of years by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, essential oils aid in relaxation, improve circulation, and help the healing of wounds. Aromatherapy diffusers are utilized to fill the massage room with the scent of the oils. Specific essential oils are blended by the aromatherapist and added to a carrier oil, such as almond oil, to be used during the massage. Each oil has its own unique characteristics and benefits.
In a reiki healing session, the practitioner, trained to access and serve as a channel for the life force (ki or chi), places her hands on or just above the client’s body in order to activate healing energy within receptive points on the body. The practitioner’s hands move progressively with a passive touch through twelve positions on the body, remaining in each position for three to five minutes. As a harmonic flow of energy is strengthened, within the client and practitioner, healing occurs through the return of physical, mental, and spiritual balance.
Thai massage involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce specific internal effects. This point serves as the main division between Thai and Western massage. Thai massage is practiced on a firm mat on the floor instead of on a table, instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner’s body weight. Except for the feet, the client remains fully clothed, so draping is not necessary.
(LDT) is unique in that healthcare professionals learn how to palpate the lymphatic flow. As they develop their skills, they can then identify the rhythm, direction, and quality of the lymphatic flow. Advanced practitioners will be able to precisely map the lymphatic flow to find alternate pathways for drainage.
Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body's natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life force (sometimes known as qi or chi) to aid healing.
A method to reorder the major body segments, Rolfing was founded by American biochemist Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1940s. Rolfing utilizes physical manipulation and movement awareness to bring head, shoulders, thorax, pelvis, and legs into vertical alignment. It allows more efficient use of the muscles with less expended energy by lifting the head and chest and lengthening the body’s trunk. A sense of lightness and greater mobility often result from Rolfing. Treatments are offered in a ten-session series, as well as advanced sessions.
Developed in the 1960s at Esalen Institute on the California Coast, this approach melded classic Swedish massage with sensory awareness practice and slow, flowing t'ai chi. The practitioner works with the receiver, rather than on the client. Today the Esalen massage signature flow is punctuated with deep tissue detail, joint mobilizing, stretches, and energy work. Tension melts away and yields to a state of harmony.
Trigger point myotherapy is a noninvasive therapeutic modality for the relief and control of myofascial pain and dysfunction. The goal of treatment is the client’s recovery from or a significant reduction in myofascial pain. The treatment goal is achieved through a systematized approach. Treatment consists of trigger point compression, myomassage, passive stretching, and a regime of corrective exercises. Success may be measured subjectively by the level of pain reduction experienced by the client and objectively through increased range of motion, strength, endurance, and other measures of improved function. Trigger point myotherapy relies heavily on client-therapist interaction, including verbal and nonverbal elements. The myotherapist encourages the client to be personally responsible for their improvement, with attention to such factors as nutritional intake, stress, proper exercises, mechanical abnormalities, and other physical components. These elements protect the client from delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, or contraindicated treatment, which are the concerns of first order. Trigger point myotherapy is an integrating approach to myofascial pain and dysfunction.