Massage therapy is a practice that dates back thousands of years. There are many types of massage therapy; all involve manipulating the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. In the United States, massage therapy is sometimes part of conventional medicine. In other instances, it is part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This Backgrounder provides a general overview of massage therapy used as CAM and suggests some resources you can use to learn more.
Types of massage
Anma – Traditional Japanese Massage
Introduced to Japan about 1300 years ago. Shiatsu massage grew out of this rich tradition. Anma is deep tissue work using no oils and is based on kneading movements.
Ayurvedic Abhyanga Massage
Ayurveda is Practiced in India for more than 5,000 years, ayurvedic tradition holds that illness is a state of imbalance among the body’s systems that can be detected through such diagnostic procedures as reading the pulse and observing the tongue. Nutrition counseling, massage, natural medications, meditation and other modalities are used to address a broad spectrum of ailments. Ayurvedic Massage, also known as Abhyanga is usually performed by two therapists working in harmony, using a heated blend of specially selected herbal oils.
Barefoot Deep Tissue
Barefoot Deep Tissue is a blend of Eastern barefoot techniques with Western manual medicine. the therapist apply a broad range of pressure with ease and does not have to strain, more effort and concentration can be used to sense and manipulate tissue, release fascia, as well as search for and attack trigger points and other problems, regardless of client’s size or build.
Bowen Technique involves a rolling type movement over fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.
Cachunga Massage- Traditional Persian Massage
Cachunga introduced to the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia by Darius the 8th. This is a massage that primarily focuses on the breasts of females. Cachunga is a deep tissue massage used with oil. It is based on a fondling motion, and is usually performed in the direction of the heart to promote circulation.
Chair massage, also known as corporate massage, can be a convenient method of massage therapy. Chair massage promotes better circulation, muscle stimulation and stress relief. This form of massage reduces tension in the back, neck, shoulders, head, arms, hands, legs or feet, providing a deep relaxation effect. A chair massage session typically lasts 10-25 minutes, and is performed while fully clothed.
Chinese Zhi Ya massage
Zhi Ya is a form of Chinese massage based on acupressure. It is similar to Tui Na massage except it focuses more on pinching and pressing at acupressure points.
CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system.
Deep muscle therapy
Deep muscle therapy aims to restore the circulation with its healing properties to the cellular level. Deep muscle therapy (by Therese Pfrimmer) emphasizes specific set of movements applied to all muscles and concentrating on all layers of the muscle that have become depleted of their regular blood and lymphatic flow. Deep muscle therapy is also used to treat the ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain, headaches, poor circulation, whiplash, and more.
Deep tissue massage
In Deep tissue massage the practitioner can access deeper layers of the soft tissue for more focused massage work with a specific joint, muscle or muscle group.
Effleurage consists of long, flowing or gliding strokes, performed with open hands. In many massage sessions, effleurage is used as the initial type of stroking, as it has a calming effect when performed slowly. Effleurage is usually performed in the direction of the heart to promote circulation and lymphatic drainage.
Esalen Massage is combined with the bodywork approach developed by Charlotte Selver, which emphasizes the deeply relaxing and emotional responses of the body when a conscious, structured and pleasant touch is applied. In addition, gentle rocking of the body, passive joint exercises and deep structural work on the muscles and joints, together with an energetic balancing of the body.
Foot or sole massage
Foot massage as practiced by the Chinese is performed in the context of chi. Each spot on the sole of the foot corresponds to an internal organ, and the applied therapy is healing to one’s overall well being. The theory behind foot massage maintains that the ailment of an internal organ will be associated with the nerve ending on the sole of the foot.
Fur massage is an ancient touch healing therapy in which couples therapists employ fur massage to focus patients’ attention on the importance of touch and to sensitize specific areas of the skin. Holistic spas use fur massage to stimulate the lymphatic system by exciting the skin.
Hot Stone Massage
In Hot Stone Massage, heated stones are used as a tool for healing. The application of heat to the body and the relaxing effects this has on muscles and the nervous system has been recognized by numerous ancient civilizations.
>Indian Head Massage
The art of Indian Head Massage is an Ayurvedic form of healing and relaxation which is used widely in Asia to relieve tension and stress. The Indian Head Massage harmonizes the body’s natural balance, helping to promote physical and psychological wellbeing.
Lomilomi — Traditional Hawaiian Massage
Lomilomi massage is an ancient art from the Hawaiian healing specialists.
Maalish is also called ‘champi’, a rough form of massage practicsed in India. It is many times performed by the barber after a haircut on the head, shoulders and neck.
MA-URI has its roots in Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi Nui dance and it is created by Hemi Hoani Fox in 1990. MA-URI increased so-called energy flow within the body and mind.
Mayan abdominal massage
Mayan abdominal massage originated in Latin America. Mayan abdominal massage mainly involves abdomen region. Mayan abdominal massage helps to improve digestion, correct digestion related problems, and to help the reproductive organs.
Muscle Energy Technique (MET)
Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is one of the techniques used by sports massage therapists.
Myofascial release frees fascial restrictions, and allow the muscles to move efficiently. Myofascial release is usually done by applying shear, compression or tension in various directions, or by skin rolling. This is one of the techniques used by sports massage therapists and physical therapists.
Myoskeletal alignment technique
MAT was developed by Erik Dalton. Myoskeletal Alignment Technique (MAT) identifies postural distortions to improve and prevent pain conditions. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) and myofacial techniques are used to lengthen tight/facilitated muscles while fiber activation techniques tone weak/inhibited muscles.
NMT was developed in the 1930’s by Dr. Stanley Leif. Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is used for pain relief and specific problems. Structural and postural imbalances are identified through an initial postural assessment.
Petrissage is one of the five basic strokes of a Swedish massage. Petrissage warms tissue for deeper work, increases circulation, supply of nutrients and oxygen to muscle, softens superficial fascia, decreases muscle tension, and restoring mobility by decreasing adhesion.
At the Roman Baths, bathers would be rubbed with oil(s) and then massaged by a specialised slave.
Rolfing is a massage technique using deep manipulation of the fascia (connective tissue) to restore the body’s natural alignment. Rolfing enhances vitality and well-being.
It is mainly practiced in India and Hong Kong in barber shops.
Shantala massage was introduced into Western society by Dr. Frederique Leboyer, the renowned French obstetrician, in a book “Loving Hands: The Traditional Art of Baby Massage”. Shantala massage is an ancient Indian massage technique with a rhythmic character, given to massage babies and children.
Shiatsu is the most widely known form of acupressure, shiatsu has been used in Japan for more than 1,000 years to treat pain and illness and for general health maintenance.
Soft Tissue Therapy includes The Assessment, Treatment and Management of Soft Tissue Injury, Pain and Dysfunction. Soft Tissue Therapy is one of the techniques used by sports massage therapists.
Sports Massage and Sports Therapy
Sports Massage and Sports Therapy are the fastest growing forms of treatment for athletes for the prevention of injuries, enhancing performance and in rehabilitation.
In Stone massage hot or cold stones are used to massage the body. When heated stones are used muscles relax allowing the massage therapist to work deeper into the muscle without the discomfort of regular deep tissue massage. Sufferers of sinus congestion usually find relief when cold stones are placed on the sinuses. Energy work is sometimes incorporated into Stone Massage. Stones may be placed on key energy points, such as Chakras or meridians, in order to improve energy flow and healing. Mainly in Stone massage basalt or marbles are used.
Structural muscular balancing
In the Structural muscular balancing, the nervous system is triggered to release contractions through compression applied to muscles placed in a shortened position.
Esborraschatinen massage is designed to increase circulation and blood flow.
Tai Ji / Tai Chi Massage
Tai Ji Massage
Tai Ji Massage was developed by Richard Wickes, Li Cun De. Tai Ji / Tai Chi Massage is massage using the natural principles of Tai Ji, Yin and Yang to achieve balance in the energies of the body, leading to a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
this form of massage is also known as Thai ancient massage, traditional Thai massage, Thai yoga massage, yoga massage, Thai classical massage, Thai bodywork, passive yoga or assisted yoga. Thai massage usually soothing because of its emphasis on stretching and loosening the body.
Trigger point therapy
Trigger point therapy diminishes migraine pain, mock sciatica, mock carpal tunnel syndrome and other pain syndromes, and other symptoms that may have been misdiagnosed. This work is based upon the trigger point research and manuals of Dr. Janet G. Travell, President Kennedy’s physician.
Sometimes this work is incorporated into other styles of massage therapy such as neuromuscular therapy (NMT) or even Swedish.
Is the combination of Water and Shiatsu developed by Harold Dull in his time spent at Harbin Hot Springs, California. The work is done in skin temperature water with both the therapist and practitioner in the water, usually a pool which is between 3.5 ft to 4 ft. (100–120 cm) deep. The work entails much movement in the water and incorporates the activation of the energy lines derived from Shiatsu.
Licenses and Certifications
Licenses or certifications for massage therapists include:
• LMT Licensed Massage Therapist
• LMP Licensed Massage Practitioner
• CMT Certified Massage Therapist
• NCTMB Has met the credentialing requirements (including
passing an exam) of the National Certification
Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork,
for practicing therapeutic massage and bodywork
• NCTM Has met the credentialing requirements (including
passing an exam) of the National Certification
Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork,
for practicing therapeutic massage