Neuromuscular Massage Therapy
Benefits of massage therapy
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that massage therapy provides several important health benefits, including:
- Massage improves blood circulation, which aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity.
- Massage relaxes muscles for an improved range of motion. The muscle relaxation also helps with insomnia.
Neuromuscular massage therapy technique
Neuromuscular therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. The massage therapy pressure is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbow. Once applied to a muscle spasm, the pressure should not vary for ten to thirty seconds.
Massage therapy can reduce muscle pain
Muscles that are in spasm will be painful to the touch. The pain is caused by ischemic muscle tissue. Ischemia means the muscle is lacking proper blood flow, usually due to the muscle spasm. This in turn creates the following undesirable process:
- Because the muscle is not receiving enough blood, the muscle is also not receiving enough oxygen
- The lack of oxygen causes the muscle to produce lactic acid
- The lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore following physical activity.
After the muscle is relaxed through massage therapy, the lactic acid will be released from the muscle, and the muscle should start receiving enough blood and oxygen.
Neuromuscular therapy will feel painful at first, but the pressure of the massage should alleviate the muscle spasm.
Glossary of Terms
Massage therapy is a profession in which the practitioner applies manual techniques, and may apply adjunctive therapies, with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client.
Massage is a manual soft tissue manipulation, and includes holding, causing movement, and/or applying pressure to the body.
Therapy is a series of actions aimed at achieving or increasing health and wellness.
Manual means by use of hand or body.
Cranio-Sacral is a technique for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause sensory, motor or intellectual dysfunction.
Deep Tissue releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.
Effleurage is a stroke generally used in a Swedish massage treatment. This smooth, gliding stroke is used to relax soft tissue and is applied using both hands.
Friction is the deepest of Swedish massage strokes. This stroke encompasses deep, circular movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. The result causes an increase in blood flow to the massaged area.
Myofascial Release is a form of bodywork that is manipulative in nature and seeks to rebalance the body by releasing tension in the fascia. Long, stretching strokes are utilized to release muscular tension.
On-site Massage (also known as chair massage or corporate massage) is administered while the client is clothed and seated in a specially designed chair. These chairs most often slope forward allowing access to the large muscles of the back. On-site massage usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and is intended to relax and improve circulation.
Petrissage (also called kneading) involves squeezing, rolling and kneading the muscles and usually follows effleurage during Swedish massage.
Reflexology massage based around a system of points in the hands and feet thought to correspond, or "reflex," to all areas of the body.
Rosen Method utilizes gentle touch and verbal communication to help clients to release suppressed emotions and subsequently muscular tension in some instances.
Shiatsu and Acupressure Oriental-based systems of finger-pressure which treat special points along acupuncture "meridians" (the invisible channels of energy flow in the body).
Sports Massage massage therapy focusing on muscle systems relevant to a particular sport.
Swedish Massage a system of long strokes, kneading and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of the muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints.
Tapotement is executed with cupped hands, fingers or the edge of the hand with short, alternating taps to the client.
Trigger Point Therapy (also known as Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy) applies concentrated finger pressure to "trigger points" (painful irritated areas in muscles) to break cycles of spasm and pain.