Massage Therapies

THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE

Therapeutic massage stimulates the body’s circulatory system. This increases the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients, through the tissues of the body, which boosts the immune system. Toxins and waste products are more rapidly eliminated and congestion is relieved.

Massage is a physical therapy, but it has wide-ranging mental and emotional benefits. It is useful in the treatment of stress, tension, and anxiety, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments.

Because massage can be either stimulating or relaxing depending on how it is applied, it can be used to treat numerous different conditions: including: -

Arthritis, Sports injuries
Muscle spasm, Insomnia
Stress and anxiety, Back pain
Poor circulation, Rheumatism

Although massage is often used as a form of therapy, it can also be used purely as an aid to relaxation. Regular treatments assist in maintaining the systems of the body in good condition, thereby helping to prevent illness

 

 General Massage Techniques

 
Effleurage (Stroking)
 
A stroking massage movement performed with the whole palm of the hand. The hands must be relaxed, moulding to the shape of the body being treated.
Contact with the patient’s body should be continuous using a skimming motion to return to the starting point.
The movement of the massage travels towards the heart.
Superficial or deep penetrating massage can be achieved by altering the speed and pressure used.
Contra-indications include, skin disorders, new bruising, unhealed wounds, colds, influenza
 
Tapotement (Percussion)
 
This massage action is light sharp blows of the hands in quick succession using the movement of the wrists while the elbows and shoulders remain still.
The hands are lifted no more than an     inch off the client’s body allowing a flowing rapid movement.
The following techniques can be achieved:
Clapping; palm downward forming a hollow. The sound must be hollow and deep toned.
Hacking; using the edge of the hand, palms facing each other.
Flicking; as in hacking but using only the edge of the fingers.
This technique should not be used over bony protuberances or to areas where superficial nerves are present, and where the client suffers paralysis or neurasthenia.
 
Petrissage (Kneading)
 
This is achieved by lifting the muscles and gently stretching them away from the bone.
This movement empties and fills the lymphatic vessels through the picking up, squeezing, rolling, kneading or wringing movements. Petrissage can be soothing or stimulating depending on the pressure and speed applied.
This movement should not be used in cases of recent muscle strains or close to recent scaring.
 
Friction (cross friction)
 
The pads of the fingers or the ball of the thumbs or specific massage tools are used, moving in small circular or diagonal movements. This is done usually near bones, muscle thickening, shortening and/or the insertion or origin of muscles.
Keeping the elbow stiff and altering the pressure used the muscle is moved against the bone.
Avoid using this technique over new scar tissue, bruising or hairy areas.


SPORT/REMEDIAL MASSAGE

The overall aim of sports massage is to enhance performance at what ever level the sportsman has achieved.
 
Sport/Remedial massage has the same goals, but strives to assist in the repair and enhancement of damaged soft tissues and their functions.
Sport/Remedial massage is therefore a result orientated therapy/profession

PREVENTS muscle and tendon injuries

REDUCES the strain and discomfort of training and chronic strain patterns, allowing a quicker return to maximum training
ENABLES the athlete to recover more quickly from soft tissue injuries with less chance of chronic problems returning.
PROVIDES psychological support improving the sense of well being and body awareness, a bonus for stress management.
ENHANCES a preventative approach to training allowing soft tissue to be free of trigger points and adhesions, helping toward the improvement of peak neuromuscular functioning.

 

OPTIMAL DRY NEEDLING SOLUTIONS
Dry Needling information

Your therapist has offered to treat you using a technique called "Dry Needling ". This information leaflet explains more about this technique.
Dry Needling is a very successful medical treatment which uses very thin needles without any medication (a dry needle) to achieve its aim. Dry Needling is used to treat pain and dysfunction caused by muscle problems, sinus trouble, headaches, and some nerve problems. It is not at all the same as acupuncture. Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, whereas dry needling is a western medicine technique, which needs to have a medical diagnosis. There is a clear scientific understanding of dry needling, and it carries not spiritual "baggage" as acupuncture may do.

Dry Needling works by changing the way your body senses pain (neurological effects), and by helping the body heal stubborn muscle spasm associated with trigger points (myofascial effects). There are additional electrical and chemical changes associated with dry needling therapy which assist in the healing process. It is important to see the needles as just one part of your overall rehabilitative treatment. Dry needling is not a miracle cure - it is a normal part of physiotherapy. It is vital that you do the exercises and follow the advice your therapist gives you in conjunction with the needling for optimal recovery.

Your therapist has been specifically trained in the various needling techniques. The therapist will choose a length and thickness of needle appropriate for your condition and your body size, and then insert it through the skin at the appropriate place. You will feel a small pinprick. Depending on the type of needle technique chosen by your therapist, you may also feel a muscle ache and a muscle twitch. These are all normal and good sensations, and mean that you will experience good relief from your symptoms.

In general, there is very little risk associated with this technique if performed properly by a trained therapist. You may have a little bruising around the needle site, much the same as you would with any injection. On rare occasions, people may feel very happy, tearful, sweaty or cold. These symptoms all fade quickly. Fainting may occur in a very small minority of people. There are no lasting ill effects of these side effects.

 If you are being treated in the shoulder, neck or chest area, there is an additional risk that involves your lung. If the lung itself is punctured, you may develop a condition called a pneumothorax (air in the space around the lung). This is a rare but serious problem, and you should go directly to a hospital casualty department without panicking if it occurs.
The symptoms of this event include shortness of breath which gets worse, sudden sharp pain each time you breathe in, a bluish tinge to your lips, and an inability to "catch your 'breath". The treatment is very successful for this rare but possible complication.

  

 

Massage affects numerous areas of the body the main areas/functions are as follows:

 
1.  Relieve/Release Muscle Shortening:    Muscle shortening can: Compress intramuscular nocicepters.
Mechanically stress tendons, their sheaths and attachments, ligaments, bursae, and joints. Compress a disc space, injuring the nerve root and causing radiculopathy. Create a self-perpetuating circle. Lead to fibrosis and contractions.
There is no pain without muscle shortening. Sport/Remedial massage (deep tissue massage) relaxes muscle shortening and contractures. In-addition affected areas are desensitised by reflex-stimulation thro this physical therapy. 
 
2.  Circulatory system: All cells of the body need good supply of blood, which contains all the ingredients needed for their growth, repair and nutrition.
The cells also need to eliminate waste materials that are created through the production of energy.
The pumping affect of massage increases both the supply and removal of substances on cellular level.
 
3. Lymphatic system: Is not a part of the circulatory system as they begin at a cellular level and travel in one direction, towards the heart filtering out toxins in the lymph nodes.
The demand on the lymphatic system is high when there is tissue injury and/or following hard exercise or the result of medical conditions.
Massage increases the flow of lymph through the body to the heart as the lymph vessels generally run parallel to the veins. Working directly on lymph node clusters is called manual lymphatic drainage.
 
4. Nervous system:  Most important is neuromuscular response.
Tension in the soft tissue can reduce the output from the mechano-receptors, which then causes over-activity in the sympathetic nervous system.
Massage can restore the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, which generates a positive effect on both minor and sometimes quite major medical disorders.
 
5. Scar tissue:  Is caused through bleeding, which is a vital part of the initial healing process. However, very often too much bleeding occurs, which then leads to excessive amounts of scar tissue forming. This scar tissue can then become a repetitive injury site when exercising. Friction massage techniques in the post-acute or chronic stages will prevent excessive scar tissue forming. Where scar tissue has formed, friction can break it down into smaller particles, which is absorbed into the lymph.
 
6. Adhesions and fibrous tissue: This causes the real problem in tissue function, causing significant restriction in movement and function, strength and stamina.
For a muscle to function the fibres need to be able to glide smoothly alongside each other.
An injury, even a gentle/minor one, can become quite sticky and starts to adhere muscle fibres together. This can be on a microscopic level, and over a period of time a local area of muscle fibres can mat together into a hard lump or knot. Friction massage techniques with transverse strokes can brake down the hard lump or knot/adhesion.
  
7. Tissue flexibility:
Massage is able to stretch specific localized areas of tissue in a way that may not be possible with functional exercise. Regardless of functional range, deep longitudinal stroking can stretch the tissues by drawing them apart and in all possible directions.
 
8. Stress release: it is common knowledge that tension/stress is often held in the soft tissue of the body. The accumulative affect of the above allows the release of this tension, and the more frequent the treatments are the resulting release is enhanced.

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