Massage – What to Expect

First Visit

massage photo

An assessment will identify factors that may have caused or contributed to a condition or injury. This diagram shows the main areas that will be examined when assessing a client. The assessment is carried out during the first appointment and repeated when necessary during a course of treatment.

The examination of these important areas will contribute to a picture of any stress patterns and dysfunction within the various structures of the body. Where there has been a prolonged problem in one area of the body, other areas may also be affected as a result.

From this assessment, strategies for effective treatment can be considered and discussed.

The Treatment

Massage is an enormous challenge.  A successful threapist is a creative one.  Being able to build up a picture of what lies beneath the skin, almost using the hands as eyes.

In this way therapists can devise strategies which can solve problems and restore correct muscular and joint function.

There are many techniques that can be used:

  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, a gentle form of stretching used to restore correct ranges of movement
  • Trigger point therapy, a way of releasing a muscle that is being held in a state of tension or spasm
  • Deep tissue massage, used to gently sink through the surface muscles to reach and work on the muscles that lie beneath
  • Myofascial release, a way of working on muscular membranes that may have become stiff and unresponsive through prolonged muscular  tension.
  • Effleurage and petrissage, the classic strokes of massage used to relax and cleanse the tissue.

Types of Massage

There are many types and styles of massage. Below is a list of the types of massage that I offer, along with a definition of what they entail.

Swedish Massage: This is probably the most common type massage in the Western world. It is usually applied to the whole body and involves long flowing strokes; although, percussive or tappotment techniques can be used. Oil is used as a lubricant to prevent irritation to the skin. If you are new to massage then this type massage is a good starting point as it doesn’t involve the discomfort that one might feel with the other techniques. Swedish Massage is aimed more at achieving relaxation and the feeling of general well-being. If you are feeling stressed, lethargic; have general aches and pains then Swedish massage might be worth considering.

Sports Massage: Was originally intended for use with sportspeople either prior to training and events or as a post event treatment to prepare the athlete for the strenuous workload or to help the athlete recover from it. Sports Massage is more vigourous than Swedish Massage and can involve a degree of discomfort; but, the pressure and depth of the strokes is decided by you. Some people believe that the greater the pain, the greater the benefits; this is not necessarily true. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits that Sports Massage has to offer. This type of treatment can be useful for people recovering from injury or operations, are aching from overexertion or just want to release any tension within their body.

Remedial Massage: Incorporates many of the techniques of sports massage; along with other techniques such as trigger point therapy, myofascial release PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), myofascial release and joint mobilisation. In contrast to the above two techniques Remedial Massage is usually confined to the areas that are either directly or indirectly linked to the injury or dysfunction that we are dealing with. This type of treatment is generally used for injuries or muscular dysfunction, whether they be sport or nonsport related and again anybody can from it.

Myofascial Release: Is a method of soft tissue release. As its name suggests it is a way of releasing soft tissue that has become dysfunctional or adhered to other tissue or structures. When tissue gets stuck down like this, these are called holding patterns and generally affect posture and quality of movement. Instead of sliding over tissue with the use of oil, as in the previous two techniques; with Myofascial Release, we grip the tissue and move it away from the site of adhesion in order that it may return to its natural state. By doing this we allow the muscles to act upon their joints in an efficient manner free of the imbalances associated with muscular dysfunction. Myofascial Release is aimed at addressing specific problems, dysfunction or injury and is also excellent for breaking down post operative scar tissue.