Massage Therapy is designed to do one thing and that is help you and if necessary with your physical healing process. Practitioners may also utilize the various techniques of therapeutic massage to ease troubles of the mind, emotions and spirit. Healing massage techniques, therefore, will vary according to the type of massage and the purpose.
There are two basic types of healing massage techniques, ‘hands on’ and ‘hands off.’ The former requires actual manipulation of the flesh. A practitioner must touch the body of the individual. In hands-off healing massage, the therapist does not come into physical contact with the client. He or she hovers their hands some 2 to 6 inches away from the physical body.
Hands-on Healing Massage Therapy
The basic techniques of ‘Hands-On Healing Massage Therapy‘ are of two origins. There are basic hand techniques from Western forms of therapeutic massage. The practitioner may also use forms of hand movements originating in the Oriental, Asian or Eastern tradition. Some modern or contemporary types of healing massage therapy utilize both Western and Eastern healing massage therapy techniques.
Western techniques of healing massage therapy have their origins in Classic or Swedish Massage. This practice dates back to the 1800s. It is the product of the work of Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) from Sweden and Dr. Johann Georg Mezger (1839-1901) from Holland. The terminology and systemization of the techniques owes much, if not all, to Dr. Mezger, not Ling. Mezger provides the French names describing the basic techniques of this and successive healing massage practices.
Swedish Massage Therapy
Swedish Massage Therapy occurs on a massage table. The body is nude. A towel or cloth covers all but the specific part requiring work. It is a full-body massage. Its intent is to relax and the help the body heal. To do so, the practitioner employs 5 basic hand techniques. These are Effleurage, Pétrissage, Frictions, Tapotement and Vibrations. Each method addresses a certain physical problem. All intend to heal the body by stimulating circulation, relaxing muscles and increasing the range of mobility.
Although Swedish Massage is typically a full body massage therapy, some types restrict their techniques to focus on one specific aspect or part of the body. In Sports Massage Therapy, the practitioner works on the specific muscles the athlete uses in his or her sport. In Rolfing, the healing techniques are all about realigning the fascia or connecting tissue. In both Rolfing and Sports Massage Therapy, the Healing Massage Techniques are almost identical to those employed in Swedish Massage.
Deep Tissue Massage Therapy also focuses on specific areas to help in the healing process. The technique in this form of healing massage therapy includes slow, strong strokes against or with the grain of the muscles, tendons or fascia.
Eastern forms of massage therapy approach the healing process in a different way, to many schools of traditional massage therapy, healing massage is all about balancing the energy, creating harmony among all the parts of the body. The healing process is not simply about a healthy body. It is also about a healthy mind and the emotional well-being of the individual. Spiritual Healing may also be an integral part of the process.
To accomplish this, the practitioner uses different techniques. They involve placing the hands on the body. It may be fully clothed, but there is direct contact between the practitioner and the client on the physical plane. The basic technique of Asian Healing Therapy is acupressure. This involves the use of fingers, knees, hands, elbows and even feet. A practitioner may use any body part to gently or firmly apply pressure to a specific body part. In Acupressure the technique requires the touching of one or more of some 365 acupoints. In Reflexology, acupressure restricts itself to the specific points of the map of the foot. In An-Mo The therapist taps, vibrates, rubs and kneads specific points. The same is true for Tui-Na.
There are also variations of pressure point work in Western Massage Therapy. In Bowen Therapy, the practitioner pulls away the skin on both the back and the neck away from the muscles. This technique allows the therapist to apply pressure gently to the tendon or muscle for several minutes.
In Non-touch Healing Massage Therapy, the technique rests as much on the mind as it does in the hands. Therapeutic Touch (TT) and Reiki rely on energy from the client and from the practitioner to help in the healing process. The techniques involve more than an awareness of the physical body. It requires the ability of the practitioner to focus and ground. In TT, the therapist must center themselves before attempting to mobilize the client’s own inner forces for healing. In both Reiki and TT, the practitioner is a vehicle for the healing process. For certain types of non-touching healing massage therapies, the therapist is themselves an integral part of both the technique and the cure.
My website contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase any products mentioned in my articles, I may receive a commission. If you do, thank you!