Three Types of Therapeutic Massage You May Not Be Familiar With

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(Photo | by Ale Romo Photography)

Welcome back! Here at Elk Ridge Chiropractic & Wellness Center, we’re concluding our three-week series on therapeutic massage with a look at a few modalities (or massage types) that you may or may not be familiar with. 

Two issues ago, we talked about the difference between spa massage and therapeutic massage, and in the last issue, we went over some of the common modalities that you might find when visiting your massage therapist. Now, we’re wrapping things up with an inside look on three additional modalities you may have heard or, or perhaps not. Either way, we’re going to take a closer look. So without further ado…

Swedish Massage

Probably the most well-known modality in the spa massage depo, we talked about this technique in our first article titled Therapeutic Massage Vs. Spa Massage. However, you may not be aware that this modality is also an acceptable choice when receiving therapeutic care from a licensed massage therapist. Moreover, the kind of therapy this modality provides may not be what you think.

Healthline tells us that “Swedish massage is gentler than deep tissue massage and better suited for people interested in relaxation and tension relief.” This modality is thus categorized as a soft tissue massage that focuses on providing relief to the surface of the body rather than the underlying tissue. But what is this ‘tension relief’ that Healthline is referring to?

Elk Ridge’s Licensed Massage Therapist, Justin Hodai, tells us, “Swedish massage provides less of a physical release so much as an emotional release. As this is a soft-touch treatment, long-term physical improvements are minimal. It’s the psychological act of touch that provides the emotional support and stress relief that the patient is looking for.” In other words, this modality focuses on relieving pain brought on by emotional trauma such as stress from a job, the act of moving to a new place, personal relationships, or, say, the holidays. All of these create a source of tension in the mind that needs to be expelled. That’s where Swedish massage comes in, and as a result, it’s become a very effective stress-relief technique used by massage therapists. So the next time Uncle Carl dips too heavily into the eggnog and ruins your perfectly good social distanced Christmas party, you’ll know just what to do to relieve yourself of that inevitable headache. 

Shiatsu Massage

Shi-who-what? The heck, is this massage? It’s true, shiatsu may sound like one of those words you need to wash your mouth out with soap after uttering, but we promise it’s nothing like that. 

Elk Ridge’s Licensed Chiropractic Assistant, Monica Stefanac, defines shiatsu as “a form of Japanese body work, translated as ‘finger pressure,’ with roots in Chinese medicine through the use of ‘chi’ (energy meridians) throughout the body.”

Acupuncture Massage College has a similar definition, telling us, “Shiatsu massage therapy relies on the use the fingers, thumbs and palm to apply pressure to various areas of the body’s surface to help heal common ailments and conditions, and correct imbalances in the body. Pressure applied to points on the body promotes energy flow and corrects disharmonies throughout the patient’s body. In addition to being a deeply relaxing experience, Shiatsu helps relieve stress, treat pain and illness, and contributes to a patient’s overall health and wellbeing.”

Am College goes on to list poor posture, joint problems, sciatica, sprains, arthritis, sinusitis, bronchitis and chronic neck and back pain as some examples that can be treated with shiatsu. 

Monica takes us one step further, saying, “Shiatsu is a wonderful way for giver and receiver to bond through breathing. The technique requires the giver to find alignment with the client’s breathing as they press or rub into the acupressure points of the patient’s body.” Because whoever said ‘Just breathe’ isn’t a suitable remedy for all ailments? With shiatsu, it’s just the ticket. 

Thai Massage

Medical News Today describes Thai massage as, “an ancient healing practice that originated in India,” that “uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the whole body.” What does this look like? They explain further, saying, “Unlike Swedish or shiatsu massage techniques, in which a person passively lies on a bed, the client lies on the floor and participates more actively in the massage.” Sounds… fun. *queue nervous laughter*

Monica Stefanac has her own interpretation of this modality, saying, “Thai massage is just as much about the therapist as it is the client. It’s a beautiful dance between giver and receiver through relaxing and stretching the soft tissues of the body. I tell people that it’s like a combination of yoga and massage. You’re basically doing yoga to someone! But it’s also a blend of art and science wrapped into a massage modality.” 

That being said, what are the intended benefits of this rather unconventional-sounding modality? Medical News Today lists a variety of improvements one can find when receiving this type of massage, including lowered stress, boosts in energy, headache relief, stimulated circulation, improved range of motion and greater athletic performance. Sounds pretty great for lying on the floor, eh? 

So there you have it! Three additional modalities of massage therapy, partnered with the last issue’s five listed modalities that you can receive when visiting your massage therapist. And like last issue’s list, you can receive the modalities we listed today as well when booking your massage at Elk Ridge Chiropractic & Wellness Center. Simply give us a call at 541-388-3588 or go online at the thebendchiropractor.com.

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