Sports massage is a lot like it sounds. It is a treatment type that focuses primarily on facilitating athletic actions. It can be used in preparation of an event or competition, after such an event, during training for competition or in rehabilitation from a sports-related injury.
One of the main uses of sports massage is to make sure muscles do not tighten up or form knots. Knots in muscle can lead to pulls, strains and tears, and obviously pain and discomfort. By keeping muscles relaxed before competition you can avoid injuries during an event. Post-event massage will help to prevent muscles from tightening, causing pain and being unable to compete later.
During training, treatment allows one to maintain extensive workouts and training regimens while minimizing discomfort and risk of injury. And when it comes to rehabilitation of injuries, sports massage helps with range of motion, inflammation and circulation, similar to some other types of massage.
Sports massage has become a major part of professional athletics these days, in everything from Baseball to Mixed Martial Arts. In fact, athletes in combat and other sports that require repetitive motion in either training or competition are perfect candidates for sports massage, even non-professional athletes.
Lymphatic massage is used to help bolster the immune system, cleanse the body of toxins and maintain healthy muscle and skin tissue. The lymphatic system works with other parts of the human body to handle waste removal on a cellular level.
The flow of lymph in the human body can experience blockages. When this happens, skin can dry out and tissue does not receive the proper nutrients. Lymphatic massage is a specific technique designed to increase circulation and the flow of lymph. As a result, waste removal is more efficient and tissue receives more fluids and nutrients.
By eliminating these blockages, one can avoid dry and damaged skin and weakened muscle tissue. Also, since the lymphatic system affects the human body's immune system, lymphatic massage can reduce the frequency of colds, joint aches, fatigue, arthritis, acne and many other ailments by helping to remove toxins from the body.
Lymphatic and other types of massage therapy are often used for pregnant women and people with already weakened immune systems to avoid infections or illness. The Cortiva Institute employs massage therapists trained in this technique, and provides instruction to students.
Thai massage is one of the many forms of treatment the Cortiva Institute educates its students in, and it is different from many other types of massage. This form of massage has origins that stretch back roughly 2,500 years. It is becoming more popular these days, thanks to the booming popularity of yoga. Thai massage is often referred to as Thai yoga massage.
This treatment consists of a person being placed in a sequence of stretches similar to yoga poses. The therapist uses their hands, feet and legs to move the client into these poses. The goal is to re-energize while increasing range of motion and flexibility. Not only do people use this method to regain mobility after an injury, surgery or experiencing stiffness, but they often use it as a way to generally increase their normal flexibility.
Thai massage is usually done on exercise or yoga mats placed on the floor rather than a massage table. There are no massage oils or lotions involved, so clients usually dress in loose, comfortable clothing.
Myofascial release is a type of treatment that uses stretching and sustained pressure to loosen myofascial restrictions? What does that mean? Fascia is a very thin connective tissue that covers every part of the human body, from major organs to bone, muscle and everything in between, similar to a membrane.
Remember that song about the leg bone being connected to the hip bone and so on? Well thanks to fascia, you can sing it any way you like and still not get it wrong. Different types of massages can focus on different areas of the body or techniques. But fascia connects everything.
Myofascial release treatment is meant to focus on restrictions where areas of muscle and fascia have become tense or rigid. Fascia is normally pliable. Injury or tension resulting from repetitive motion or poor posture causes it and muscle to tense up. Since fascia connects all parts of the body with each other, tensing in one area can negatively impact others as well. The treatment reduces the resulting pain and increases mobility.
This method was developed by John F. Barnes, P.T., who is now the President and Director of the Myofascial Release Treatment Centers.
Shiatsu massage is a Japanese form of treatment that strays a bit from traditional western types of massage therapy. In Shiatsu therapies, the therapist uses fingers, thumbs, palms, and in some cases elbows or feet, to apply rhythmic pressure to the body.
Rather than long and softer strokes in Swedish massage therapy techniques, Shiatsu focuses on specific pressure points in the body. From a spiritualistic side, this is meant to balance the flow of energy throughout the body. Another interpretation is that it alleviates stress and discomfort while stimulating the nervous system.
Either way you look at it, Shiatsu massage therapy is used to achieve much of the same goals as other different types of massage, but it focuses on pressure points throughout the body to do so. Because this involves more pressure being applied than some other treatments, it is important to be aware of any injuries, wounds or medical conditions the person has that could be adversely affected by hitting certain pressure points.
Deep tissue massage is a form of treatment that focuses on rigid areas of muscle and tendons. Direct pressure is applied to these areas to realign the muscle. As a result, circulation and range of motion is increased while inflammation is decreased.
Deep tissue massage can be used for a stiff neck or back, realigning muscles to improve posture, recovering from injuries, and to relieve pain from muscle spasms. It is not uncommon for muscles to feel a little sore after a deep tissue massage, almost as if you just finished a strong workout at the gym. However, shortly after that feeling, the muscles should feel stronger with almost immediate improvement in range of motion and comfort.
This type of massage treatment is ideal for people with chronically stiff necks or backs. Since these areas can impede mobility in pretty much every other part of the human body, improving range of motion in the neck and back will allow the rest of the body to move without pain or restrictions.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|