This week’s blog is going to focus on all the massage types you hear thrown around at the club, dinner parties and when you visit your massage therapist. I will try to briefly touch on 18 types I hear thrown around as the cure all’s. I am a firm believer in a mix of several types mixed together to make a great experience and massage.
We will start this little tour off with Swedish Massage Therapy since it is the bases for most massage types and practiced by almost all massage therapist at some time or another. As you probably figured it was developed in Sweden by Per Henrik Ling in the 18th century, brought to America in 1858. Swedish massage is a combination of five basic strokes used to relax muscles groups throughout the body known as the Western concept of anatomy and physiology. This type of massage is great for relaxing or helping injured muscles recover.
Deep Tissue massage was developed in 1949 by a Canadian doctor Therese Phimmer from her studies of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians massage. This type of massage should only be used if the client and massage therapist have a good bond of trust. The client must be able to let the therapist know if they are being hurt by the deep pressure to muscle that is having issues that include knots, strain, tightness or limit movement. This type of massage may cause some pain to release the muscle but the client should not be in pain after the massage. They will experience soreness when first moving for a couple of days like after a good workout.
Hot Stone Massage has been around for over 2000 years and is found in many countries history, but seems the Chinese used it for healing and diagnosing organ issues long ago. In 1993, a Mary Nelson brought hot stone massage back to the massage community. Hot Stones are placed in a certain fashion to heat the main muscles and be used to massage the client through a textile product. Make sure your therapist is licensed to use hot stone to ensure that you do not receive a nasty burn. I have received a hot stone massage and found it to be very relaxing but still do major muscle work. I would highly recommend it to those that want to try this type of massage.
Egyptians seem to have the edge on almost everything to do with the body. Since they seem to have the first noticed history of making distillery machines to extract oils from plants to embalm the dead. The Chinese could take this knowledge and use the oils to help peoples moods. The “father of medicine” made fragrance he used for healing, also for the Greeks. However, the term “aromatherapy” started in 1937 by a French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattfosse, after he was burned and used the oils to heal himself. Many more have gone onto heal injuries with extracted oils. It is believed that Aromatherapy Massage can help with many things from headaches, insomnia, back pain and the list goes on. Make sure you are not allergic to any of these oils before using them during a massage.
Massage for expecting mothers know as Prenatal or Pregnancy massage has been around since the beginning of time with expecting mothers and their caregivers. So, no one can take credit for beginning this type of massage. However, in 1980 Carole Osborne-Sheets developed the standards for Prenatal massage we use today as massage therapist. Women use this type of massage for a safe, drug-free way of relieving the painful side effects of pregnancy.
Although it is not really known who founded Reflexology since it has been around since ancient times. It was developed over the years in Germany, England, Canada, and America by different people that studied how reflexes and our feet work together with our body. Many books were written over the years since 1770’s when the first written information surfaced. In 1990’s Maine was the first state to exempt Reflexology under the massage license. Since 34 states have followed. A person that does reflexology is not a licensed to do massage unless they also have a massage license. The American Reflexology Association does offer a license for Reflexology. If you are lucky enough to ever get a massage from a license Reflexologist your feet will feel like you are walking on clouds for days. It is true our feet are our foundation. Treat them good and the rest of you will feel great.
Interesting enough a Physical Therapist John F. Barnes, PT developed what is known as Myofascial Release and began training therapist in 1970’s. People use this as a holistic way treating the body from the pain of the myofascial layer that covers our organs, skin, muscles, etc. and holds it all together. The therapist uses a lot of the things in myofascial theory in all massages that include trigger point release, stretching, or working out muscle knots.
Sports massage has been around for thousands of years with the Chinese, Greeks, Romans and much more have used massage to enhance the performance of their athletes. Sports massage made a huge splash in the modern books with the 1924 Olympic Games when a Finland won 5 gold medals and said it was due to his special massages during the games in Paris. Paavo Nurmi effectively brought massage to all sports the world around. The idea behind sports massage is to prevent injury or help a sports injury heal quickly with soft tissue, muscle, tendon and ligament massage in combination with stretching, ice baths, and Epson salt baths.
Trigger point massage was introduced by Janet G. Travell, MD for treatment of the referred muscle pain and myofascial pain in 1960’s. She set the protocols that massage therapist uses today to release muscles that are causing chronic pain in the back, shoulders, and hips. I was taught in massage school how to locate the muscle, tendon and ligament knots and to put pressure to tell the knot to release this allows for relief from pain. This can be painful but has good results for the client.
The Japanese and Chinese brought us what we know as Shiatsu massage that came from the ancient form of Anma. Shiatsu means finger pressure. The use of fingers to tap, rub and pressure it affects the muscular and circulatory systems. It has been taught in schools since 1940’s around the world. This form of massage is used to clear the energy pathways through the body it is performed on a mat or low table with no lotions or oils with loose-fitting clothing on. It will promote healing of injuries, increase your energy and general wellness.
Thai massage has been handed down through the years by the Buddhist temple where it was developed years ago. A student would study for several years before being allowed to practice as a therapist. How times have changed. To learn true Thai massage, one must go to Thailand to learn the art. Thai massage is likened to yoga since it is passive stretching combined with pressing massage movements. This massage is also done on a mat with loose-fitting clothing on. It is used align the body, reduce stress, improve migraines, and improve flexibility.
Couples massage has evolved from mineral couple bathes to adding a couple’s massage. There seems to be no written history of this type of massage which is just two therapist performing massage on two people at the same time. Against, theory this is not a sensual massage it is most often either a Swedish or Hot Stone massage given at the same time in the same room. It is very enjoyable for the couple to be in the same space at the same time and relax totally before or during a romantic evening or weekend. Note: this is a non-sensual massage.
Japan gave the world Reiki though its founder, Dr. Mikao Usui. He developed Reiki over the years in Buddhist monasteries. He founded his first Reiki school and clinic in 1922. A pupil of Dr. Usui, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi continued to develop the Reiki system to what we know today. The person doing Reiki must be in tune with life force flows that go through pathways in the body known as chakras, meridians, and nadis. They believe when our life forces are interrupted it will cause problems in the organs and tissues of our bodies. Our life responds to a healer that has positive thoughts and feelings thus being able to reestablish energy pathways and healing in a natural and healthy way.
Another form of holistic or alternative medicine to make its way into massage is Rolfing. This method was developed by Ida Rolf based on ten hands-on physical manipulation sessions that she began teaching in 1950’s. Her belief was that the body is an energy field that needs to be aligned with the Earth’s gravitational field. It combined superficial and deep manual therapy. From what I have heard from people that have experienced Rolfing it is usually very painful. There is no direct studies or evidence that Rolfing can treat health conditions.
Drs Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder introduced manual lymphatic drainage in 1930’s to treat clients with sinusitis and immune disorders in the French Riviera. This is used today as a natural form of draining the body of extra fluids and is done with very little press and in rhythmic circulate movements induce the lymph flow. There is much debate on this form of Lymphatic Massage is beneficial for your body other than to rid it of excess fluids.
The man that developed Chair Massage in none other than a massage therapist known as David Palmer from California in 1968 called it “a chair in a box”. He used his chair massage to teach the public about massage and its benefits. This gives massage therapist the ability to give 10-15 mini-massages in any setting since the client is fully clothed. Many malls, business, and events have chair massages available to make people feel relaxed.
In 1930’s William Garner Sutherland developed cranial osteopathy that was further developed by Joh Upledger, D.O. in 1970’s that is an alternative therapy or bodywork. Craniosacral Therapy is manipulation of the synarthrodial joins of the cranium through light pressure. The therapist can also put slight pressure on the spine and pelvic bones. This treatment is thought to treat cancer and other disease but does not have any medical support.
We will end this journey through names and type of massage therapy whether medical, holistic or otherwise with Tantric Massage. It was developed in 1980’s by a Andro Andreas Rother from Germany. He combined different things from yoga, bioenergetics, and sexual therapy to form Tantric Massage. The clients are a receiver is there to work on relationship issues, self-esteem issues including sexual issues. Tantric massage does not involve any sexual exchange of any kind.
So many terms and so many options. I find that each person must choose a therapist they connect with and trust. They then must select a form of treatment that helps their body the most. I do know you need to believe in the therapy for it to work to its fullest. There is tons of information out there to help you select the right form of massage. Look at some of the following sites for more information.