Massage Therapy: The tip of the iceberg


The goal of this site is to educate and challenge our belief of what massage therapy is and what it can do to heal the body. My hope is your interest will at be peaked and you may consider therapeutic massage as  a viable treatment.

Without getting too hung up on terminology, let’s run with the defintion that massage is a general, Swedish massage with the goal of relaxing the mind and nervous system. Much of this calm state is enabled by a dark, peaceful environment which all types of massage can occur in. Relaxation is almost always a byproduct of massage as long as the client is a willing participant. Therapeutic massage is performed with the intention of relieving tension in the soft tissue (muscles, fascia, ligaments) of the body and if often classified as “deep” or a “sports massage”. Although most therapists understand what the client is asking for, these terms are not true descriptors of therapeutic massage. Pressure is always a variable in any type of massage and should not be confused with therapeutic massages’ ability to affect the deep tissues of the body. Therapeutic work often includes stretching and positional release, as well as trigger point therapy. Unless you are just about to participate in a sporting event, namely endurance races, you don’t really want a sports massage. This modality consists of rapid kneeding, twisting, compressing, and shaking of the muscles. It is not relaxing and is meant to warm up the tissue and stimulate the nervous system in anticipation of performance. The terminology, sports massage has been thrown around and watered down enough that massage therapists know that you are actually seeking therapeutic work when requesting a sports massage.

Aside from these basic terms there are a whole host of modalities with specific techniques and outcomes. One such modality is Orthopedic Massage. As implied by the name, Orthopedic massage focuses on the function of the joints which is directly affected by the muscles and other soft tissue of the body. The hands on work is guided by a thorough assessment of posture, range of motion, gait, and the understanding that the location that pain is felt is not usually the source of the problem. Orthopedic massage can also be labeled Integrated Massage Therapy as the procedure is an incorporation of various techniques to release restrictions and balance the muscles throughout the body. Orthopedic massage is executed in a pain free manner as deeper pressure often creates more tension even if not recognized as ‘painful’.

The most concise description I can give is Orthopedic massage focuses on relieving the cause of dysfunction/painful movement, not just the symptoms. Pain, not resulting from a trauma is often the result of your body compensating for tiny problems over months or years. So often I hear, “it just started hurting out of nowhere”. And though your experience is accurate, the body says I have had enough and now I’m going to make you do something about it. Orthopedic Massage is a great option for athletes and workers that spend their days sitting. Orthopedic Massage can be exceptionally beneficial in the prevention of surgery for frozen shoulder, knee pain, low back pain, and carpel tunnel.

If you’d like to learn more or are interested in a free consultation please reach out by phone, social media, or email.

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