One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The disrobed client is covered by a sheet, with only the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.
Stones of all shapes and sizes and varying temperatures, ranging from zero to 140 degrees, are used during LaStone massage therapy to elicit physical healing, mental relaxation, and a spiritual connection to earth energy. Warm stones encourage the exchange of blood and lymph and provide soothing heat for deep-tissue work. Cold stones aid with inflammation, moving blood out of the area, and balancing male/female energies. Stones are placed in varying positions on the body for energy balancing or may be used by the therapist for specific trigger-point work. The alternating heat and cold of thermotherapy brings the entire body into the healing process, with a rapid exchange of blood and oxygen and alternating rise and fall of respiration rate as the body seeks homeostasis. LaStone therapy requires less effort from the practitioner’s own body and delivers healing warmth to the hands, benefitting the therapist, as well as the client. Founder Mary Harrigan drew from the wisdom of ancient healers in using thermotherapy as the basis for her approach.
Lymph Drainage Therapy
Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) is unique in that healthcare professionals learn how to palpate the lymphatic flow. As they develop their skills, they can then identify the rhythm, direction, and quality of the lymphatic flow. Advanced practitioners will be able to precisely map the lymphatic flow to find alternate pathways for drainage. Developed by Bruno Chikly, MD, Lymph Drainage Therapy evolved from years of training in traditional medicine, Asian medical practices, and manual therapies. (Definition provided by The Upledger Institute.)
Myofascial release is the three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence of emotional patterns and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress. First, an assessment is made by visually analyzing the human frame, followed by the palpation of the tissue texture of various fascial layers. Upon locating an area of fascial tension, gentle pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction. Myofascial release is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches.
Reflexology, also known as “Zone Therapy” is a technique that focuses on specific pressure points within your hands or feet to help correct energy flows throughout your body. It is typically performed without the use of lotions or essential oils.