Medical massage therapy is the focused use of advanced massage techniques to treat a specific condition and achieve a specific outcome. The difference between a medical massage and a regular massage is the advanced training and experience of the therapist and the treatment is structured to obtain a specific measurable outcome.
Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure targets and releases chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints).
This gentle massage encourages the natural drainage of the lymph fluid, which carries waste products, away from the tissues back toward the heart. The lymph system depends on muscular contractions and movement without which fluid can accumulate (edema) especially in the legs and feet, a condition many seniors and those who do not move enough can suffer from.
Trauma, inflammatory responses and surgical procedures result in scar tissue formation and tightness. This tightening compresses nerves and muscles resulting in chronic pain. Because this type of pain involves soft tissues and does not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, scans, etc.) the diagnosis and treatment usually involves medications or injections which provide temporary relief but do nothing about the tightness and restrictions which cause the pain. In extreme cases, surgery is performed to cut the tight tissue which unfortunately can also lead to more pain.
Myofascial release work balances muscle tension throughout the body. Progress is measured by a decrease in the patient’s pain and by an improvement in overall posture.
Good posture is the result of the proper alignment of the body. Poor posture is often a source of musculoskeletal pain, joint restriction and general discomfort. The way we carry ourselves provides clues not only to the daily demands we place on our bodies, past traumas and injuries we have endured, but our emotional health and how we feel about ourselves!
Structural integration’s focus is not primarily on the muscles but on the fascial network. Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider's web. It is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. Each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the single strand of yarn that makes up a sweater: pull on one thread and the whole garment is affected!