Massage therapy involves the manipulation of muscles and soft tissue areas of the body that have become sore or stiff. Rubbing a traumatized area is instinctive; but specific techniques date back to the ancient Chinese, Greek, and Roman cultures.
Massage therapy comprises the use of numerous techniques, including lymphatic massage, rolfing, sports massage, and Swedish massage. Deep-tissue massage is an aggressive form of massage therapy that tends to leave an individual sore but “feeling good all over.” St. John’s neuromuscular technique is a highly specific form of deep-tissue massage grounded in a solid understanding of anatomy stressing that of the muscles.
Lymphatic massage involves massaging or manipulating muscles or soft tissue to relieve tension and relax sore muscles. The practice dates from the ancient Chinese, Greek, and Roman cultures.
In the 1930’s, a Danish physician by the name of Emil Vodder, developed a massage technique that focused on the lymphatic system (consisting of the lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, and thymus that make, filter, and circulates lymph). His philosophy maintained that the healthy flow of lymphatic fluid is vital for proper immune functioning through the elimination of wastes from the tissues. This can only be accomplished by physical exercise involving muscle contractions and joint movement. A sedentary lifestyle promotes toxin buildup requiring external pressure to encourage elimination.
Treatment involves light repetative strokes to a specific area of the body until a very thin layer of lymphatic fluid appears on the skin. The therapist will then move onto another area of the body and repeat the same procedure done according to a specific pattern. This methodical stimulation directs the lymphatic fluid to the lymph nodes where the fluid can be filtered and the waste eliminated. The result will be decreased soreness or stiffness in the muscles.
Credentialing is awarded to those who have been instructed and certified by the Dr. Vodder School for Manual Lymph Drainage. In order to qualify for the program, students must be trained members of the allied health profession (massage therapist, physical therapy, or nursing), at which time they will entitled to use the initials indicating CMLDT (Certified Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist).
Rolfing is a technique that involves deep manipulation of connective tissue to restore natural alignment, with the practitioner using fingers, thumbs, forearms, and elbows to gain the desired effect. The goal is to increase mobility and postural alignment while reducing pain. The technique was developed by Ida Rolf (1886-1979), a biochemist from New York, who believed that gravity played a significant role in healthy body structure.
Credentialing is given after an 18-week training session at the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Advanced certification is given after three years of active experience and eighteen continuing education units and another six-week course. Certification includes Advanced Certified Rolfer (ACR), Certified Advanced Rolfer (CAR), and Certified Rolfer (CR).
Sports Massage is the practice of kneading or manipulating muscles and other soft tissue to relax and relieve tired, sore, or aching muscles. Geared mainly toward athletes, sports massage is designed to relieve pain from major pulls, tears, strains, stiffness, or sore spots acquired during sports activity. Although practised for centuries, it did not gain any attention until the 1970’s when prominent sports figures advocated its benefits.
Credentialing comes after training from a school accredited by the American Massage Therapy Association, resulting in a CSMT (Certified Sports Massage Therapist) licensure.
Swedish massage involves the practice of kneading or manipulating muscles and other soft tissue to relieve and relax tired, sore, or aching muscles. Although practised by the ancient Chinese, Greek, and Roman cultures, Swedish massage combines modern anatomy and physiology principles, as well as the traditional Oriental techniques involving effleurage (gliding massage strokes), petrissage (kneading, rolling, and gently pinching), friction (a heat-producing stroke), vibration (quick, steady, shaking motions), and tapotement (light tapping movements). Designed to increase circulation, bringing greater amounts of oxygen to cells while ridding the body of toxins, Swedish massage provides a general overall sense of wellbeing.
Credentialing includes CMP (Certified Massage Practitioner; CMT (Certified Massage Therapist), LMP (Licensed Massage Practitioner, LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist), and MT or MsT (Massage Therapist). This does not necessarily indicate licensure or certification.