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Massage 101

Masseur - noun (ma-sûr', m?-) (masculine) One who provides massages professionally. Fr., from masser 'to massage'

   What is Massage?
Massage is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissue and joints of the body. The soft tissues include muscle, skin, tendons and ligaments and joint capsules. Massage has many diverse physiological effects, which are primarily due to the masseur's hands moving over the body. The different movements can physically stretch muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia, encourage the circulation through the tissue, inhibit muscular spasms and be either sedating or stimulating to the nervous system. The use of massage affects all the systems of the body - in particular, the muscular, circulatory, lymphatic (immune) and nervous systems.

   Basic Massage Modalities
Deep Tissue - Focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.
Energy Work - Manipulates the energy fields originating within the body, using a variety of techniques.
Massage - Pressure, friction & strain on the muscles & joints for beneficial physical responses.
Reflexology - Based around a system of points in the hands and feet thought to correspond, or "reflex," to all areas of the body.
Shiatsu - Asian-based system of finger pressure which moves along designated points in the body, as in acupuncture meridians.
Sports Massage - Focusing on muscles used by a particular sport.
Swedish - A technique characterized by stroking and kneading of the superficial muscle layers, sometimes with tapping, clapping, or similar percussive movements with the hands, and combined with active and passive movements of the joints.
Trigger Point - Applies concentrated finger pressure to "trigger points" (painful irritated areas in muscles). Also known as Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy.

Here is link to a fairly comprehensive Website chocked full of additional Massage Modalities.

   Benefits of Massage
Many of today's health problems can benefit from massage because the manipulation of soft tissues affects so many of our bodily systems. The benefits of massage are extensive. Massage treatments will have a therapeutic affect and improve health by acting directly on the muscular, nervous, circulatory and lymphatic (immune) systems.

   Massage Treatments Aim to:
Develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function Relieve or prevent physical dysfunction and pain Relax tight and tense muscles Improve circulation, recovery time and immune system function Reduce overall stress Massage is effective in the control of pain chronic or acute, in stress reduction, and in creating a sense of relaxation and well-being.

   Massage and Stress Reduction
Prolonged periods of stress can subconsciously affect many systems of the body. Stress has been shown to aggravate, or even cause, such problems as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss and decreased immune function. Massage is one of the best antidotes for stress. Massage boosts the body's immune system, which can become compromised from extended periods of stress. Tension can build up in the muscles, causing a decrease in circulation and nutrient delivery to tissues. Manipulation of the soft tissue decreases muscular tension, increases removal of metabolic waste and promotes nutrient delivery to healing tissue. With a massage, stress can be significantly reduced. This, in turn, will increase energy, improve your outlook on life, and in the process boost your immune system function.