Massage Modalities

These are the modalities that influence the work in the Integrative Massage. Each session will include techniques from a wide variety modalities, rather than one school of bodywork. After your consultation and assessment, your therapist will determine with you which modalities to incorporate in your session according to your specific goals and needs.

Aromatherapy (or essential oils therapy):  The use of essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods and roots in treating physiological, psychological and emotional ailments. Therapeutic uses of essential oils has a long history, as seen in the healing practices of Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for thousands of years. When combined with massage, essential oils can aid in relaxation, improve circulation, decrease stress, aid in treatment of depression and anxiety, treat body aches, and increase energy.

Breath Therapy:  Use of simple respiratory exercises which remind us “how to breathe.”  When we are distracted, busy, tired, depressed or in chronic pain, we tend to take quick, irregular, and shallow breaths.  ‘Bad’ breathing can unwittingly effect our ‘fight or flight’ responses in the body, increasing our adrenaline, cortisol, and stress chemicals.  Breath therapy helps open lung passages, oxygenate the blood, balance PH, and cleanse the body of gaseous toxins, all of which will reduce stress and alleviate anxiety.  Your therapist can teach you various breath techniques which can be used daily basis, and will guide your breath during stretching, deep tissue, and energy work throughout your massage session.

Chair Massage: Also known as seated massage or on-site massage.  In this treatment the client remains clothed and receives the massage while seated on a specially designed massage chair.  Modern chair massage was popularized by David Palmer in the mid 1980s, but it is a centuries old technique that can be seen depicted on Japanese block prints. Various massage modalities can be used during chair massage, including Swedish, Shiatsu, and Thai stretching.  Chair massage sessions are usually short ranging anywhere from 5- 20 minutes.  Since sessions are short and the client remains dressed, chair massages can be performed anywhere and are good way to introduce people to massage.  It is often used in a businesses, spa parties, shopping centers, airports and street fairs.

Cold Stone Massage: a specialized massage in which the therapist uses smooth, chilled, marble stones as an extension of their own hands and/or by placing them on the face and/or body while massaging other parts of your body. When used on the head and face, cold stones can reduce inflammation, soothe sinus issues and seasonal allergies, and alleviate headaches and migraines. Cold stone massage on the body promotes relaxation, alleviates anxiety, can aid in sports injuries, ease menstrual symptoms, lower blood pressure, and boost energy levels.

Connective Tissue Massage: Connective Tissue Massage is a deep tissue form of intense massage that aims to release myofascial (connective tissue) restrictions in the body. It has also been known to help relieve chronic tension, to increase the body’s range of motion, to improve posture and to enhance the natural harmony of the entire body and mind. Deep connective tissue massage is also said to restore the length and flexibility to the fascia (the fiberous tissue that surrounds the muscles and organs), by normalizing the tissue and by improving the strength and overall health of the entire fascial system (connective tissues throughout the entire body). The process is not intended to cure symptoms but to create a more resilient, higher energy system, free of inhibitions of past trauma. Types of connective tissue bodywork include Rolfing, Structural Integration, and Myofascial Release.

Craniosacral therapy: Gentle holds and manipulations that works with the spine, sacrum, and the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. In this way, the restrictions of nerve passages are said to be eased, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is said to be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their proper position.

Deep Tissue Massage: This is an umbrella term for various massage and bodywork modalities that are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia in order to address chronic pain, postural dysfunction, injury rehabilitation, and reduction of inflammation caused by tendonitis and arthritis.  Commonly used deep tissue techniques include Structural Integration, Myofascial Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy, and Resistance and Release.  These techniques require advance training and a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology.  Deep tissue is often confused with ‘deep pressure’ or ‘firm pressure’.  Deep/Firm pressure can be used in any type of massage including Swedish Massage, and refers to the strength of the pressure of touch.  Deep Tissue techniques can use a ‘deep/firm pressure’ but also lighter and more precise touch can affect the deeper tissues.

Esalen Massage (EM): Esalen Massage was developed in 1960s at the Esalan Institute in California, and is known for its healing and nurturing touch. It began as a variant of Swedish Massage that uses a sensory awareness and the slow, flowing t’ai chi.  Today the signature Esalan technique combines long, slow strokes, deep tissue work, gentle rocking, stretching, joint mobilization, and energy work.  Esalen technique strives to go beyond the physical by focusing on energy exchange and psychological well-being. Its ultimate aim is to harmonize mind and body to create serenity and peace.

Hot Stone Massage: a specialized massage in which the therapist uses smooth, heated, basalt stones as an extension of their own hands and/or by placing them on the body while massaging other parts of your body.  The stones are usually heated to 130 to 140 but can be cooled to the client’s ideal comfort.  The heat promotes relaxation, encourages the exchange of blood and lymph for detoxification, and warms up tight muscles which facilitates deep tissue work.

Joint Mobilization: Movement of joints and limbs to advance improved mobility and circulation.

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT): NMT balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system through a comprehensive program of soft tissue manipulation. Based on neurological laws that explain how the nervous system initiates and maintains pain, the goal is to relieve pain and dysfunction by understanding and alleviating the underlying cause.  It is useful in locating and alleviating spasms or hypercontraction in the tissue, eliminating trigger points which cause referred pain, and restore postural alignment and flexibility.

Prenatal/Pregnancy Massage: Many methods of massage and bodywork are safe and beneficial during all phases of pregnancy: pre-natal, during labor and postpartum.  The therapist must have advanced training in the subjects of: anatomy, physiology, precautions, complications and contraindications.  If there are any complications during the pregnancy, a referral from your doctor is necessary.  Pre-natal massage can help alleviate discomforts during pregnancy, facilitate relaxation and restful sleep, and enhance emotional well-being of mother and fetus. Skilled touch can shorten labor times and relieve pain and discomfort. During the postpartum period, particular techniques can aid in the rebalancing in structure, physiology, and emotions of the mother and help her to bond with her infant.

Reflexology or Zone Therapy: Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, Reflexology involves an acupressure technique in specific reflex areas in feet, hands and ears that correspond to other parts of the body in order to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion.  Crystalline deposits and/or tenderness indicate dysfunction, and pressure is applied to clear congestion and restore normal function. Reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. It is particularly useful in emotional disorders, stress related illness, and in cases where certain parts of the body are unable to be massaged due to trauma or disease.

Resistance and Release: Developed by Deane Juhan, author of Job’s Body, based in large measure upon the rehabilitative techniques of Dr. Milton Trager.  It is rooted in the belief that functionally, we are really one muscle that is divided up by the connective tissue structures into different compartments in order to provide specific vectors of motion and coordinated groups of motor units. According to Juhan, “We are not robots with hinges, cables and pulleys, but shape-changers, and any gesture involves the participation of wide-spread muscular supports and motivators.” Beyond relaxation and stress relief this work addresses muscular habitation, posture, and compensations due to injury. It is a deep tissue work without necessarily using deep pressure.  It uses rocking, jostling, passive and active, resistance stretching to re-coordinate our musculature as a whole and to train more effective use of muscular contractions and lengthenings involved in any position “from feet to head and from sleeve to core”.

Swedish Massage: is also known as Western or classic style of massage.  It is the systematic and scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of rehabilitation, relaxation and overall health.  This type of massage consists of 5 basic strokes: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, and vibration. Pressure can range to very light to very firm depending on the client’s preferences; and overall Swedish Massage is characterize by long, slow, flowing strokes. To further assist the client restore mobility and reduce pain, the practitioner may employ Swedish Gymnastics, a series of passive and active stretching and joint mobilization conducted during the massage.  Swedish Massage & Swedish Gymnastics were developed by Pehr Henrick Ling (1776-1839), a Swedish physiologist and gymnastics instructor. He became known as the father of both Swedish Massage and physical therapy.

Thai Yoga Massage (Nuad Borarn): Evolved in Thailand over 2,000 years ago, Thai Yoga massage is an energy-based healing system that combines acupressure, reflexology, and assisted yoga postures.  In this treatment no oils or lotions are used, the client remains fully clothed on a comfortable, padded floor mat.  The practitioner uses thumbs, palms, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to create a dance of movement on the body of the recipient. In this process, joints are opened, muscles and tendons are stretched, internal organs are toned, and energy is balanced. The identifying features of traditional Thai massage are integrated yoga postures which are performed on the recipient. Through assisted yoga, the body is stretched in ways that are difficult to attain through individual exercise and yoga practice. Treatment effects are enhanced when the patient is fully relaxed and breathing deeply. It designed to promote the client’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Elements of this massage can be integrated throughout classic soft tissue, table massage session.