More About Massage

Less isolation and more therapeutic touch during this challenging time of the pandemic

Swedish Massage Techniques


Effleurage is often used when starting or finishing work on an area, or taking a break from intense work. The therapist uses long gliding motions of varying pressure, according to your needs. Effleurage increases circulation, and warms up the tissue. Therapists use fingertips, palms and forearms to perform this technique.


Petrissage involves rhythmically kneading, wringing, or rolling the muscle to access deeper tissue, often while lifting the muscle. This technique brings blood to the area and separates muscles fibers from one another. The alternate squeezing pattern is very relaxing, as it signals the brain to release tension in the area.


Massage therapists often use tapotement when performing Swedish massage. Using cupped hands, or the side of the hand, (think soft chopping), the therapist will “strike” your muscles with both hands. Doing this for a long period of time (over sixty seconds) will exhaust the muscle, relaxing tension and easing spasms.


Vibration is a less commonly used, but effective, Swedish massage technique. The massage therapist loosens your muscles by using the heel of the hand, or the fingertips, to vibrate your muscles, causing them to release and relax. Vibration is used locally, in small areas where a spasm just won’t quit.

Deep Tissue Massage Techniques


Trigger point therapy addresses spasms, when nerves continue to fire when they shouldn’t. Trigger points cause acute (and eventually chronic) pain. The massage therapist will use trigger point therapy in specific areas to address localized issues. Working these points will stop the nerves from firing unnecessarily, thereby alleviating pain.


Myofascial tissue is thin, fibrous connective tissue that connects, supports, and protects muscles and bones. If this tissue is tight, it will affect the muscles’ ability to stretch fully, restricting movement. Myofascial release helps ease pain while also improving flexibility and mobility. Its effect is time-released and long-lasting.


In a deep tissue massage, the therapist will use cross-fiber (against the grain) and longitudinal (with the grain) friction techniques to break up muscle adhesions. Adhesions are areas where muscle fibers don’t ride smoothly over one another, as the should. Reducing adhesions enhances the healing process. The result: better muscle performance.


Active release technique in deep tissue massage involves using both manipulation and movement to treat your injured or damaged soft tissues. It works by breaking up any scar tissue that may have formed due to a previous injury, which then restores your ability to move with greater ease while reducing pain and stiffness in that area.

Sports Massage Techniques


Muscle stripping is a more intense technique and is generally used on targeted, more densely-muscled areas. Your sports massage therapist will use deep, strong, slow pressure, along the muscle fibers. They will check in with you regarding the intensity and adjust the pressure as needed. The goal is to increase range-of-motion and elasticity.


Sports massage therapists use transverse friction to break down scar tissue or keep it from forming. It is also used to break down adhesions. The therapist traps the tissue against the bone and moves their hands perpendicular to those fibers. Reducing scar tissue results in increased range-of-motion and efficient movement.


Compression is often used at the beginning of a sports massage as an evaluation tool and a muscle warm-up. The therapist will usually keep one hand stationary while pressing the other into the muscle; it’s usually used on large surfaces, like legs or back. Rhythmic compression helps soft tissue relax.


In PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) the sports massage therapist uses assisted stretching, in conjunction with isometrics. The therapist evaluate and assist the recipient through a series of stretches and movements. PNF helps decrease muscle tension while increasing mobility. It also increases awareness of unique body patterns.