Introduction to Massage Therapy

What is massage?

Massage is the manipulation of muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue within the body. A trained or licensed massage therapist will typically use their hands, thumbs, forearms and elbows to apply pressure to the body, thus helping tight muscles and adhesions (knots) to release. Other techniques such as the application of heat or ice, stretching, and exercises may be incorporated as well depending on the clients wants and needs.

There are different modalities of massage. Here at Conyers Chiropractic & Massage we offer a variety of modalities:

Swedish Massage:

This modality uses long relaxing strokes and various pressure levels depending on the client's preference. A Swedish massage is nurturing and relaxing, providing a sense of wholeness. If you're ready to relax and forget about life stresses this type of massage is just what your body needs.

Deep Tissue Massage:

This modality focuses on the deeper muscle layers. More pressure is required to access these muscles, which can lead to some discomfort during the massage however, it should not be extremely painful. Always communicate to the therapist if the pressure is too much or not enough. Deep Tissue massage is useful for releasing adhesions (knots) within the muscle. The techniques resemble that of a Swedish massage yet are deeper. It's very important to drink plenty of water after any massage but especially a deep tissue massage to help avoid soreness which can occur.

Trigger Point Massage:

Trigger point massage is a particular approach to treating the affected area. A trigger point is a particular kind of adhesion (knot) within a muscle and/or connective tissue layers, typically a trigger point is tender to pressure and can send referral pain elsewhere in the body. Ex: A trigger point in the trapezius muscle located in the upper back and shoulder area, when pressed pain may be felt on the back side or top of the head. Trigger points have been known to cause headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, decreased range of motion in the legs and lower back pain. The goal of trigger point therapy is to deactivate the trigger point allowing the pain or other dysfunction to subside. Often times the therapist will form a wellness plan that may suggest more sessions closer together to resolve the problem and then many suggest maintenance care to prevent to issue from reoccurring.

Orthopedic Massage:

This modality is very useful when dealing with chronic pain and injuries. Understanding the cause of the pain or symptom(s) and how it affects the body is essential. Different techniques may be used this can include stretching, muscle stripping, and friction in the tendons and ligaments of the affected area. These techniques can cause some discomfort however, they should not be extremely painful. Often times the therapist will form a wellness plan that may suggest more sessions closer together to resolve the problem and then many suggest maintenance care to prevent to issue from reoccurring.

Myofascial Release (MFR):

This modality focuses on the soft connective tissues within the body. The techniques used during this modality are different from most other modalities. No lotion or oil is used as it will interfere with the ability to grip the skin. It's also advised that if you are to receive a MFR session to avoid applying lotion at home before your session as well. Often the posture of the client is analyzed which tells the therapist what will need to be done during the session. MFR can help with many conditions including: carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, myofascial pain dysfunction, TMJ dysfunction, and plantar fasciitis to mention a few.

Sports Massage:

This modality can be more vigorous than a Swedish massage and often includes more stretching. This modality is great to help rehabilitate sport related injuries as well as prepare the body before athletic events.

Prenatal Massage:

Massage during pregnancy can ease some of the discomforts that are commonly caused by pregnancy. "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." - American Pregnancy Association Getting regular massages during pregnancy can aid in controlling hormones, reducing swelling, and improving nerve pain. Massage is safe at any point during your pregnancy yet it's always a great idea to discuss it with your health care provider. There are circumstances where massage should not performed during pregnancy, this includes:

  • High risk pregnancy
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
  • Preeclampsia
  • Previous pre-term labor
  • Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches, blurred vision
  • Recently gave birth
  • Unexplained bleeding or fluid leakage
  • The positioning used during a prenatal massage is often side-lying. The majority of the time will be spent lying on the left side as to avoid compression of the vena cava that supplies blood to the lower body including to the baby. A brief amount of time on the right side will not harm you or the baby and is often required to access muscles that were not accessible when lying on the left side. Some therapist may use specialty bolsters or cushions made specifically for prenatal massage.