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Therapeutic Massage

A variety of different massage methods and techniques fall into this category. During a massage session, it is possible to have several theories/methods combined to meet the goals and needs of each client. A first time client may need to spend extra time initially, to complete an intake form detailing current and past health complaints and discuss this with the therapist. Once an agreed upon plan of action is developed with the client, the session may take on several forms. Therapeutic massage sessions may include lymphatic drainage, fascia work (connective tissue release), stretching, acupressure points, hot/cold therapy, trigger point work, use of an inversion table, balms/linaments/essential oils, or herbal compresses. Sessions may contain a relaxation element but also includes advanced techniques for pain and chronic health issues. Massage pressures can be light to deep depending upon client comfort and the area of the body being addressed.

 

Pregnancy massage is considered therapeutic massage. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), "Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health." Pregnancy massage aides relaxation of muscle tension and improving lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure. Swedish massage is the recommended prenatal massage method during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy. Sciatica is often experienced in the later stages of pregnancy. Massage therapy addresses the inflammed nerves in the low back, gluteal area, and back of the legs. Pregnant clients are worked on in side-lying and on their backs for the safety of the baby and the mother. Hot, moist Thai herbal compresses are utilized to soften tight/tense areas.

Other potential benefits of prenatal massage:

  • Reduced back pain
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced edema
  • Reduced muscle tension and headaches
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
  • Better sleep

As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider. Women with the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage:

  • High risk pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Induced Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia
  • Previous pre-term labor
  • Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
  • Recently gave birth

 Fascia work: The purpose of fascia work is to release tightness and tension in the muscles as well as in the connective tissue throughout the body, known as the fascia. This style of massage effects all the tissues beneath the surface of the skin and into the deep into the muscles and tissues. The purpose is to realign these deeper layers of connective tissue. By realigning the muscles and tissues, pain is relieved and the body is able to relax. Specific therapeutic fascia work can be done for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic cellulitis, lymphedema, tendonitis, joint issues like frozen shoulder, plantar fasciitis, surgical scar release, or low back/neck problems. Fascia work doesn't always utilize massage lotions/oils and can be very deep (depending upon client comfort).


Considerations: A therapeutic massage practitioner may see a client frequently for the first few weeks or months. This might include half hour massages three times a week, or weekly hour massages for a couple of months. Often times, therapeutic massage is an adjunct treatment in combination with pain management, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, or rehabilitation from injury/illness/surgery. The massage therapist can work closely with the client's physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, or rehab specialist to help the client reach their goals. Clients may need a physican's approval for massage depending upon their illness, injury, or rehabilitation needs.


Myofascial Slidding Cupping:  Cupping therapies have been found in a wide range of traditional medicines throughout the world. They are used to help release tension, excess heat, and stagnant blood, wastes & energy (or Chi). It can be used on backs, necks, chests, arms, feet, legs and hips with a high degree of success. After receiving cupping, people usually feel lighter, more open, and sometimes sleepy. fire cupping or suction cupping, is a very ancient traditional remedy, first documented in Egypt, China, and Greece. Its use moved from there to Southeast Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. American doctors carried cupping sets into the early 20th century, and the breast pump developed from this era. The most prevalent use has been in Traditional Chinese Medicine and requires knowledge of TCM theory. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, stationary cups are placed on the skin and left for a period of five to fifteen minutes, and the cups may also be moved over the area to raise “sha”. The goal of Chinese cupping therapy is to move stagnation of blood and chi, disperse internal heat, and other applications based on Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnostics. Traditional cupping therapies are also generally used in many cultures on adults and children for respiratory conditions, pain relief, and multiple other uses in home health care. 

Sliding cupping creates space and separation in the tissues to allow the massage therapist to work more effectively and comfortably on the client. Before applying the cup, the therapist will administer oil or lotion to facilitate smooth movement, since the cup is kept active and is not left stationary on the client’s body. The entire back may be treated, including the neck, shoulders, middle and lower back, and sacral area. The hip and thigh areas may also be treated, and abdominal cupping  bodywork feels just incredible. Almost every area of the body responds to this unique treatment.

The goal is to open the tissues, pores, and blood vessels so that restrictions (or “knots or adhesions”) can be broken up to create movement, and to allow stagnated blood, wastes and energy stuck deep in the tissue to rise to the surface.

Cupping is a way of encouraging detoxification in specific areas to bring out the “junk,” like a good spring cleaning. It is also compared to having an inverse massage when the cups are slid along the body (i.e., sliding cups). Not all areas will develop cupping marks/colors. The colors that form on the skin within the cupping area vary from white to blackish purple. During the session, the color will follow their path, but not every spot will be dark- only the spots that are more stagnant and bound up show darkest color.

 The color from the processes is called “lom bpit” in Thai, meaning “falling wind.” It has other names in other cultures. Some people unfamiliar with these therapies have met with some degree of shock at the sight of people’s backs and necks after a cupping session. This color, despite its dramatic appearance, is the stagnant blood and wastes rising to the surface. Also, the color was not created by inflicting pain, but by applying bodywork techniques that do feel rejuvenating. It usually fades within a few days to a week or so. The skin may feel a little sore to the touch for a couple days, but the tissue underneath should feel much relief.

 Afterward, clients may feel cold, thirsty or hungry. Self care is important. Stay hydrated. Keep the area warm and protected from wind and water for at least a day and until it feels adequately healed. Best not to be active afterwards or plan a day out in the sun the next day. Wait to receive bodywork (massage, chiropractic, etc.) on that area for at least a day and until it feels ready. This is because cupping and scraping open doors for the tension, heat, whatever, to travel within and also escape the body. Pores on the skin open up a great deal and tissue underneath becomes more exposed. No need to be intensely afraid of the elements, t-shirt for 24 hours and take it easy for a day or so. Both do qualify as deep tissue techniques, so people’s responses follow accordingly. Feel free to ask your therapist any questions you have about this therapy.

  

Lymphatic Drainage Massage: Lymph drainage massage was developed in the 1930s by Emil Vodder, a native of Copenhagen who lived on the French Riviera. While he studied medicine, he did not earn a medical degree because of illness. He earned a doctorate in philosophy because of his work in art history.

The lymph system is a slow-moving system of vessels and lymph nodes that is supplementary to the body's system of blood circulation. The lymph system delivers nutrients to the cells and carries away excess water, cellular waste, bacteria, viruses and toxins.

Manual lymph drainage massage (also called lymphatic drainage and lymph massage) is a form of very light and slow massage that encourages the movement of the lymphatic fluid that bathes the tissues, through the lymphatic system and into the bloodstream. The lymphatic system is responsible for keeping the connective tissue surrounding cells free from excess water, proteins, bacteria, viruses, inorganic materials, destroyed cells resulting from surgery or trauma, red blood cells, and other dead cells.  It is particularly good for detoxification, edema or swelling, pre- and post-plastic surgery and post-liposuction.

The therapist uses precise, rhythmic strokes and pumping actions to cause small capillaries to open and close, enhancing reabsorption of lymph from the tissues back into the lymphatic vessels. This technique helps remove toxins, reduces edema or tissue fluid retention, and decongests all lymphatic pathways. The repetitive and soothing movements also stimulate pain-inhibitory reflexes. Lymphatic drainage massage enhances immune function, increases tissue metabolism, improves nutrition to the tissues, promotes eliminative functions, establishes fluid balance, reduces pain, and induces deep relaxation.

Considerations: Depending upon the client's pathology/injury, a physician's approval for massage may be required. Drink plenty of water after a lymph drainage massage to help flush out toxins. Stay away from salt and alcohol after a massage, as they inhibit the body's ability to flush out toxins.

 

Sierra Nevada Holistic Services, LLC

407 W Robinson Street Carson City, NV 89703

(775) 720-2563

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