Common Types of Massage
Acupressure is a treatment similar to acupuncture in that it is based on the concept of a life energy which flows through meridians in the body. In treatment, pressure is applied to body points with the aim of clearing blockages in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by fingers, palms, elbows, toes or with various devices.
In Ashiatsu, the feet of the therapist are used to apply pressure. The name comes from the Japanese, ashi for foot and atsu for pressure. This technique uses the arch, heel, sesamoid, and/or whole plantar surface of foot, and provides large compression, tension and shear forces with less pressure than an elbow. It is well suited for the large muscles such as the thigh, or compressions of the upper trapezius.
Ayurvedic Massage is known as Abhyangam in Sanskrit. According to the Ayurvedic classics Abhyangam is an important daily regimen that is used for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The massage technique used during Ayurvedic Massage aims to stimulate the lymphatic system. Practitioners claim that regular use of Ayurvedic Massage produces pain relief, fatigue reduction, immune system improvement, and increased longevity.
Burmese massage is a technique of full body treatment that starts from the head and moves down to the toes, drawing on reflexology, acupuncture, and kneading. The strokes imitate acupressure using the elbows, rapid and soft knocking of acupressure points, and slow kneading of muscles that are tightened. The method aims to improve the circulation of blood, and the quality of sleep, while at the same time help to promote better skin quality.
Biomechanical stimulation (BMS) is a term typically used for biomechanical oscillation methods, whereby local muscle groups are stimulated directly or through the associated tendons, by means of special hand held mechanical vibration devices. Biomechanical oscillation therapy and training is offered in a variety of areas including sports, fitness, rehabilitation, medicine, beauty, and also to improve the performance of the muscles and to improve coordination and balance.
Manual lymphatic drainage is a technique used to gently stimulate the lymphatic system, to assist in reducing swelling. The lymphatic system is a network of slow moving vessels in the body that carries cellular waste toward the liver to be filtered and removed. Lymph also carries lymphocytes, and other immune system agents. Manual lymphatic drainage claims to improve immune function and waste removal.
Reflexology is sometimes referred to as zone therapy. It is an alternative medicine involving the application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on a pseudoscientific system of zones and reflexive areas that supposedly reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body.
Shiatsu (shi meaning finger and atsu meaning pressure) is a type of alternative medicine using pressure on the fingers and palm, stretches, and other massage techniques.
The most commonly used and recognized category of massage is the Swedish massage. Swedish massage techniques span from those that are extremely vigorous to those that are relatively mild. Swedish massage uses five differing styles of strokes. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber or with the fibers) and vibration/shaking. The term "Swedish" massage is actually only recognized in English and Dutch speaking countries, and in Hungary. It is referred to as classic massage in other areas. Clinical studies have found that Swedish massage can reduce joint stiffness, fatigue, chronic pain, and improve the function of the knee in patients with osteoarthritis.
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