Swedish/relaxation massage: this modality focuses on full body systems to achieve therapeutic benefits through relaxation. It is usually practiced with the client disrobed on a massage table. Most commonly, the massage therapist uses oil or lotion to perform basic techniques with their hands, forearms, and elbows such as gliding, kneading, percussion, friction, jostling, and vibration as well as passive stretching and range of motion.
Deep tissue massage: this is a wide-range of muscle-specific techniques applied for deep effect aimed to directly address postural dysfunction and pain patterns. When working with specific muscles, muscle groups, and cross-body patterns of dysfunction to achieve balance, the client can experience a variety of intensities. The therapist may use controlled inflammatory response in the body to break up adhesions, increase blood flow to soft tissue, and facilitate the removal of sediments in soft tissue.
Trigger Point Therapy: this technique is part of deep tissue massage. In order to achieve long-term pain relief as well as address postural dysfunction, the therapist finds tender points in muscles and tendons that feel like taut rubber bands. Those points refer to sensation, that means they cause pain, tingling, or numbness in other seemingly unrelated or adjacent areas of the body. By using manual manipulation techniques such as direct pressure and pulsing, the trigger point can release, bringing pain relief not only at the trigger point itself but also in the referred areas.
Neuromuscular Therapy: as a part of deep tissue massage, NMT helps the mind/body connection to reeducate itself when postural distortions are discovered and corrected. Longer term dysfunction changes the brain's perception of balance in the body. For example, if you have rounded shoulders, that feels like normal body positioning to your brain. To relax the shoulders out of the rounded position will feel strange. NMT uses strategic patterns of stretching, holds, muscle contraction, and releases to reset nerve signals, letting the body find balance and letting the brain perceive that balance.
Myofascial Release: MFR addresses the relationship between muscle and fascia in the body to release restrictions causing postural distortion, thus relieving physical pain while allowing for long term change. Fascia is the type of connective tissue that connects and protects all soft tissue structures in the body. For example, each muscle fiber is wrapped in fascia, those fibers are then grouped together by more fascia, and then those fiber groups are wrapped in even more fascia to create full muscles; those fascial wrappings extend beyond the muscle fibers to become the tendons that attach muscles to bones. Fascia reacts differently than muscle tissue and responds to heat and sustained pressure. In this modality, massage therapists use sustained holds, slow deep tissue techniques, and applied heat hydrotherapy to help the client achieve their goals.
Craniosacral Therapy: a system of gentle holds and manipulations to the skull and sacrum used to balance the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the closed membrane system surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The goal is to improve central nervous system function and complement the body's natural healing processes.
Polarity: by gently manipulating the natural positive, negative, and neutral poles of the body, energy can find balance, the body finds pain relief, and health can be maintained. This physical energetic manipulation is just one aspect of a larger approach based on Western interpretations of Ayurvedic traditions as experienced by Randolph Stone in the 1920s. Polarity practice encompasses all aspects of life, including spiritual, nutritional, and physical.
Medical massage: this is massage directed to helping clients manage chronic as well as acute medical/physical conditions. Each condition carries its own set of cautions and precautions as well as reasons to receive massage. In some cases, health conditions mean that massage is not safe for the client. Conditions also benefit from specific approaches. Working together with your therapist, you can find the approach that helps to both manage and heal a variety of health concerns.
Table Thai massage: Thai massage is commonly performed on a mat with the client fully clothed. Western adaptations of this practice allows therapists to bring the practice to a table, and can be fully clothed sessions, or even integrated into other forms of Western massage such as Swedish and deep tissue. Common techniques are walking compressions with palms and thumbs, as well as range of motion and passive repeated stretching. Often Thai massage gets described as yoga that is performed on the body by the therapist.