Swedish massage, sometimes referred to as traditional, Western, or standard massage, is a therapeutic approach to healing that involves manipulation of the the soft tissues of the body by means of a variety of strokes that include gliding, kneading, friction, pressure, tapping and vibration. Strokes are generally applied by hand with an oil, lotion, or cream used to lessen friction.
The massage therapist may engage in active and/or passive movement of the joints, use auxiliary mechanical devices, such as vibrators, apply hot and/or cold packs, and instruct in remedial exercises to achieve improved muscle tone, circulation, and range of motion.
Swedish massage promotes relaxation through the release of endorphins and enkephalins. These neurochemicals are dubbed “natural opiates” or painkillers due to their ability to induce relaxation and reduce pain in the body. Swedish massage, by inducing the relaxation response, enables us to keep stress within a manageable range.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue Massage uses massage techniques that aim to affect the various layers of fascia that support muscle tissues by loosening the bonds that lie between the various layers of connective tissue.
Athletic Massage is included under this category as are Acupressure, Shiatsu, and Reflexology.
Medical Massage Therapy
Medical massage has developed specific techniques for treating injuries and a wide variety of illnesses as well as aiding in physical rehabilitation. Massage therapists who practice medical massage work under a prescription provided by a physician or chiropractor directing them in their course of treatment.
Medical massage applies the basic strokes of Swedish massage in specialized techniques that are geared toward achieving precise physiological results. Because therapists work under a doctor’s prescription, the chances of having massage treatment covered by an insurance plan are generally greater with medical massage therapy than with other types of massage.