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 Introduction About Massage Therapy?
What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is recognized as one of the oldest methods of healing, with 
references in medical texts nearly 4,000 years old. In fact, Hippocrates, known as 
the "father of medicine," referenced massage when he wrote, in the 4th century B.C.: "
The physician must be acquainted with many things, and assuredly with rubbing."

Now days, in addition to "rubbing," massage therapy,
 often referred to as bodywork or somatic therapy, 
refers to the application of various techniques to the 
muscular structure and soft tissues of the body that 
include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, 
vibration, rocking, friction, kneading and compression 
using primarily the hands, although massage 
therapists do use other areas of the body, such as the 
forearms, elbows or feet. All of the techniques are used for the benefit of the 
musculoskeletal, circulatory-lymphatic, nervous, and other systems of the body. 
In fact, massage therapy positively influences the overall health and well-being 
of the client:


Physical and Mental Benefits

  • relaxes the whole body
  • loosens tight muscles
  • relieves tired and aching muscles
  • increases flexibility and range of motion
  • diminishes chronic pain
  • calms the nervous system
  • lowers blood pressure
  • lowers heart rate
  • enhances skin tone
  • assists in recovery from injuries and illness
  • strengthens the immune system
  • reduces tension headaches
  • reduces mental stress
  • improves concentration
  • promotes restful sleep
  • aids in mental relaxation

Currently, there are well over 100,000 massage therapists practicing in the 
United States alone. Training requirements vary from state to state, although an 
increasing number of schools and states recommend massage therapy programs 
of at least 500 hours training. As of March 2004, 33 states and the District of 
Columbia have official massage licensing regulations, and other states are pending.

Learn more about specific massage techniques and related terms by clicking on 
the links below (Note: New techniques and terms are added on a continuing basis.):

Acupressure Acupuncture
Alexander
Technique
Animal Massage
Aromatherapy
Ashiatsu Oriental Bar
Therapy
Asian Bodywork Ayurvedic Massage
Color Therapy Connective Tissue
Massage
CranioSacral Therapy Chair Massage
Cupping Deep Tissue
Massage
Equine Massage Five-Element Shiatsu
Geriatric Massage Hellerwork
Hydrotherapy
Infant Massage
Iridology Lypossage Massotherapy Medical Massage
Myofascial Release Neuromuscular
Therapy
Orthopedic Massage Polarity Therapy
      Prenatal Massage
Reflexology Reiki Rolfing (Structural Integration)
Rosen Method Shiatsu Soft Tissue Massage Spa Treatments
Sports Massage Swedish Thai Massage Thalassotherapy
Therapeutic Touch Traditonal Chinese Medicine Trager Approach Trigger Point Therapy
Tuina Visceral Manipulation Watsu Zero Balancing

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Acupressure - Acupressure is an ancient form of healing believed by some 
to be even older than acupuncture. It involves the use of the fingers (and in some 
cases, the toes) to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body's 
natural ability to heal itself. Pressing on these points relieves muscle tension, which 
promotes the circulation of blood and qi (pronounced "chee") -- the vital energy or "
life force" -- to aid in the healing process.

Acupressure and acupuncture are somewhat similar. Acupressure is sometimes 
referred to as "needleless acupuncture," because both forms of healing use the 
same points to achieve the desired results. The main difference is that an 
acupuncturist stimulates points by inserting needles, whereas an acupressurist 
stimulates the same points using finger pressure.

Stimulating specific points on the body can trigger the release of endorphins 
(chemicals produced by the body that relieve pain). When endorphins are 
released, pain is blocked, and the flow of blood and oxygen to the affected area 
is increased. This causes the muscles to relax and promotes healing. In 
acupressure, as with most traditional Chinese medicine concepts, local symptoms 
are considered an expression of the whole body’s condition.

When performed correctly, acupressure increases circulation, reduces tension and 
enables the body to relax. Reducing tension, in turn, strengthens the immune 
system and promotes wellness. However, applying acupressure too abruptly, or 
using too much force during treatment, can lead to bruising and discomfort. Great 
care should be used when applying pressure to points on or near the abdomen, 
groin, armpits or throat. Special care should be when treating pegnant women or 
those with recently-formed scars, burns, infections or skin lesions.

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Acupuncture - Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used 
systems of healing in the world. Originating in China some 
3,500 years ago, only in the last three decades has it become 
popular in the United States.

Traditional Chinese medicine asserts that there are as many 
as 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, which are 
connected by 20 pathways (12 main, 8 secondary) called 
meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or qi (pronounced "
chee"), between the surface of the body and its internal organs.
 Each point has a different effect on the qi that passes through it. Qi is believed to 
help regulate balance in the body. It is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and
yang, which represent positive and negative energy and forces in the universe and 
human body. Acupuncture is believed to keep the balance between yin and yang, 
thus allowing for the normal flow of qi throughout the body and restoring health to the
mind and body.

Several theories have been presented as to exactly how acupuncture works. One 
theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or 
brain at various "gates" to these areas. Since a majority of acupuncture points are 
either connected to (or are located near) neural structures, this suggests that 
acupuncture stimulates the nervous system. Another theory suggests that 
acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic-like substances called 
endorphins, which reduce pain. Other studies have found that other pain-relieving 
substances called opiods may be released into the body during acupuncture 
treatment.

Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are solid and hair-thin, and they 
are not designed to cut the skin. They are also inserted to much more shallow levels
than hypodermic needles, generally no more than a half-inch to an inch depending 
on the type of treatment being delivered. While each person experiences 
acupuncture differently, most people feel only a minimal amount of pain as the 
needles are inserted. Some people reportedly feel a sensation of excitement, while 
others feel relaxed. If you experience significant pain from the needles, it may be a 
sign that the procedure is being done improperly.

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Alexander Technique - According to Alexander Technique International, the 
Alexander Technique "is a means of consciously attending to how one performs 
any given activity, consciously inhibiting one's habitual way of doing that activity, 
and then consciously directing oneself in a more coordinated way."*

Developed by Austrailian performer F.M. Alexander in the early 19th Century, the 
Alexander Technique is unlike massage or bodywork that is used to treat specific 
conditions, illnesses or ailments; rather, it is a form of education designed to improve 
one's self-observation in relation to movement.

Instructors of the Alexander Technique, use noninvasive hands-on methods to 
assess movement, then educate students on how to become more aware of their 
movement and enact specific changes in order to reduce physical stress on the 
body and/or improve performance.

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Animal Massage - Like humans, animals are 
susceptible to injury, debilitating disease and stress, and 
can benefit from massage. Massage therapists have built 
entire practices around horses (Equine massage), dogs 
and cats; some practitioners even work with birds and 
domesticated reptiles.

In addition to making house calls, therapists that work with 
animals work in veterinary offices, and with police departments, animal shelters and
 breeders. Working animals -- such as horses, and police and show dogs -- can 
benefit from massage on a regular basis; however, massage is also beneficial for 
house pets, and can ease arthritis and muscle pain, and increase flexibility and 
range of motion. Other benefits include detoxification, increased mobility, improved 
performance and decreased anxiety.

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Aromatherapy - Many essential oils that are derived from plants, herbs, 
flowers, and roots have beneficial therapeutic qualities. 
Aromatherapy involves the "burning" of essential oils to 
elicit a desired effect; for example, lavendar is known to 
induce calmness and relaxation. When combined with 
bodywork, aromatherapy can enrich the massage 
experience immensely. A few drops of essential oil can 
be added to massage cream or oil and applied to the 
skin. Professionally trained aromatherapists also blend 
oils to treat specific conditions. Only experienced 
professionals and/or those knowledable in the properties 
of aromatherapy should attempt to blend oils or utilize them in practice, as some oil 
combinations can be toxic, while others can burn the skin.

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Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy™ - Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy was 
developed in 1995 by massage therapist Ruthie Hardee. Ashiatsu comes from the 
Japanese words ashi (foot) and atsu (pressure), and is an ancient form of bodywork 
associated with traditional shiatsu and some dynamics of traditional Chinese medicine 
(TCM).

There are distinct differences between Ashiatsu and Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. 
Clients lie on massage tables, while practitioners perform Swedish massage with 
their feet by utilizing two overhead stationary bars to maintain balance and control.

Because therapists can also perform deep-tissue work using Ashiatsu Oriental Bar 
Therapy, this technique can help extend a therapist's career by alleviating hand 
and extremity pain associated with performing more demanding forms of bodywork.

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Asian Bodywork - Asian bodywork is a general term that describes multiple 
forms of bodywork that originated from Asian countries and/or cultures, including 
acupressure
, chi nei tsang, Five-Element Shiatsu, integrative eclectic shiatsu, 
Japanese shiatsu, medical qigong, shiatsu, Thai massage, tuina, zen shiatsu and 
others.

 

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Ayurvedic Massage - Ayurveda is a practice that originated in India several 
thousand years ago. The practice involves balancing the three life energy forces: 
vata
, pitta, and kapha. Vata is the energy of movement; pitta, the energy of digestion; 
and kapha is the energy of structure. These energy forms are made up of the 
componenets and combinations of the five great elements: Space, Fire, Water, Air 
and Earth.

Ayurvedic massage incorporates the knowledge of 
ayurveda and uses warm oils and herbs along the specific 
energy points to help restore balance to the body. Massage 
strokes, oils and herbs are selected based on a client's 
specific needs; hence, each treatment is highly customized. 
Benefits of ayurvedic massage include vitality, stress reduction, 
and relaxation. Proponents of ayurveda also report a renewed sense of spiritual 
connection and inner peace.

 

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Chair Massage - Chair massage, also known as seated massage, is fast 
becoming one of the most popular ways in which to practice. Generally, chair 
massage is administered onsite at various locations, including health fairs, airports,
shopping malls and in corporate settings. Clients remain fully clothed and treatments
generally last from 15-30 minutes. Chair massage is usually limited to the back, 
neck and arms.

 

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Color Therapy - Color therapy is a form of energy 
work based on the theory that light deprivation leads to 
dysfunction in the body. Since each color has its own 
frequency and vibration, specific colors are used to treat 
designated parts of the body. The body, in turn, responds to the vibrational pattern 
of the color and works to correct the dysfunction.
For more information on this technique, check 

 

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Connective Tissue Massage - Connective tissue massage is similar to 
myofascial release
in that it involves working with the body's fascia, or soft tissue, 
to relieve pain, tightness, and discomfort. The idea behind connective tissue 
massage is that restriction in one area of the body negatively affects other areas 
of the body. Practitioners of this technique "hook" their fingers into the connective 
tissue and utilize pulling strokes to lengthen the area. Benefits include pain 
reduction, tension relief, improved mobility and stress reduction. 
See also Soft-tissue massage.

 

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CranioSacral Therapy (CST) - CranioSacral Therapy was developed over 
20 years ago by Dr. John Upledger, while he served as a researcher and 
professor at Michigan State University. This gentle, hands-on technique involves 
the craniosacral system -- a system of the body composed of membranes and 
cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Practitioners utilize 
CST to loosen and release restrictions or "blockages" in the body that can 
contribute to pain and dysfunction; removing such blockages improves the 
functioning of the central nervous system and body as a whole.

CST is effective at treating a number of problems, including pain, headaches, 
central nervous system disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress, tension and 
more. Proponents of CST also claim that it aids in improving mental clarity and 
emotional well-being.

 

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Cupping - Massage cupping has been used in traditional Chinese medicine 
practices for several thousand years. Practitioners
 light an alcohol-soaked cotton ball with a match 
and insert the lit portion into a bulb-like glass "cup" 
in order to create a vacuum. The cup is then 
placed in a stationary position upon the body or 
moved using gliding strokes, depending on the 
client's needs. Massage cupping is ideal for 
performing deep-tissue massage and helps to 
drain toxins, loosen adhesions, facilitate blood flow,
 and stimulate the body.

For more information on massage cupping, read Anita Shannon's article, Massage
Cupping for Health Care Professionals," in the February 2004 issue of Massage 
Today
at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/02/04.html.

 

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Deep-Tissue Massage - Deep-tissue massage utilizes slow strokes, direct 
pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles with the fingers, thumbs 
or elbows. Deep-tissue massage works deeply into the muscles and connective 
tissue to release chronic aches and pains; its purpose is to reach the fascia beneath 
the surface muscles.

Practitioners must have a thorough understanding of the human body and have 
been trained to administer deep-tissue massage, as injury can occur if the technique 
is not performed properly. This technique is useful in treating chronic pain, 
inflammation and injury.

 

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Equine Massage - This term refers to the practice of massage therapy on 
horses. Benefits include increased flexibility, injury prevention, pain relief, and 
improved performance, among others. (See animal massage).

 

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Five-Element Shiatsu - In traditional shiatsu, practitioners apply pressure to
 specific points on the body to help release energy imbalances. Five-element shiatsu incorporates the five-element theory of 
traditional Chinese medicine
in which the meridians on the 
body correspond to specific elements -- Wood, Earth, Fire, 
Water, and Metal -- and are the foundation for the balance of 
ying and yang. When one or more of these elements is out of 
balance, sickness and/or emotional imbalance can occur. Practitioners of 
five-element shiatsu apply pressure along the meridians in order to release energy 
blockages and help restore balance to the body and enhance the body's ability to 
heal itself.

 

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Geriatric Massage - Geriatric massage involves treating the elderly, often in 
resident-care facilities, and addressing their needs related to aging, depression 
and illness. Geriatric massage is usually shorter in duration, and involves the 
application of gentle techniques to facilitate pain relief, relaxation, and an overall 
feeling of wellness.

 

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Hellerwork - Hellerwork is concerned with emphasizing the body's structural 
balance and realignment through deep-tissue work and movement therapy 
techniques. Hellerwork is administered over the course of 11 sessions, each lasting
90 minutes. Practitioners spend one hour massaging clients and 30 minutes in 
movement education. During the treatment, practitioners help clients reach an 
elevated state of self-awareness by using verbal communication. Hellerwork is 
useful in treating chronic stress and tension, as well as aiding in relaxation and 
extended range of motion.

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Hydrotherapy - Hydrotherapy involves the use of water in all its forms (internally 
and externally) to assist in the healing process. These water therapies can include 
the use of a whirlpool, the application of ice or heat packs, colonic irrigation, 
steambaths, body wraps and more. Hydrotherapy is commonly practiced in 
conjunction with other spa treatments.

 

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Infant Massage - Infant massage has proved
beneficial for both infants and their families on a number 
of levels. It is used regularly in hospital neonatal units 
and has been linked with helping premature infants 
gain weight. Infant massage has been shown to help 
relieve colic, induce sleep, promote relaxation,
 improve sensory integration, and enhance neurological 
development, among other things; moreover, the practice 
of massage helps build the bond between babies and 
their parents.

 

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Iridology - Iridology is the study and analysis of the iris, or the colored part of 
the eye, which practitioners believe can reveal information about a person's overall
 health and/or tendencies toward disease. Iridology is not used to diagnose; 
however, practitioners utilize the technique to better determine a client's health, 
lifestyle and nutritional needs. Iridology is used to complement other natural 
therapies, including massage, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine
homeopathy, naturopathy, and energy work, to name a few.

 


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Lypossage - Lypossage combines several massage modalities for the purpose 
of enhancing skin tone and firmness, and to combat the effects of cellulite. 
Lypossage is often the preferred method of treating cellulite, since it provides a 
noninvasive alternative to expensive cosmetic surgery. Practitioners of lypossage
 usually emphasize the importance of diet and exercise, as well.

 

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Massotherapy - Massotherapy involves working primarily with the muscles. 
Practitioners of massotherapy have a background in science, but often incorporate 
other modalities into their treatments when working with the muscle groups. Benefits 
of massotherapy include improved circulation and blood flow, as well as pain 
management.

 

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Medical Massage - Practitioners of medical massage have a strong 
background in pathology, disease, illness and injury, and the contraindications 
of specific massage techniques related to various medical conditions. Medical 
massage therapists frequently work under the direction of or at the request of 
physicians.

 

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Myofascial Release (MFR)- Myofascial release deals with the fascia, or 
connective tissue, of the body. The fascia is interconnected to 
every other part of the body, and actually helps to support the 
body's very structure, including the musculoskeletal system. 
When injury, inflammation, or physical or emotional trauma occurs,
 the fascia can become tight and cause pain and/or restricted 
range of motion. Myfascial release -- as its name suggests -- 
aims to release the fascia and return it to a state of normalcy by 
applying gentle pressure to the restricted areas. MFR can help 
with a number of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, 
and stress-related illnesses. See also Soft-tissue massage, connective tissue massage.

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Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) - NMT is massage applied to specific 
muscles, often used to increase blood flow, release knots of muscle tension, or 
release pain/pressure on nerves. This therapy is also known as trigger-point therapy
 in that concentrated finger pressure is applied to "trigger points" to alleviate 
muscular pain.

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Orthopedic Massage - Orthopedic massage combines several massage 
and medical massage techniques to treat pain and soft-tissue injury. It focuses 
heavily on injury assessment and rehabilitation, emphasizing the importance of 
selecting the appropriate modality to treat the injury. Orthopedic massage is often 
used in conjuction with sports massage protocols.

 

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Polarity Therapy - According to the American Polarity Therapy Association, 
"Polarity therapy is a comprehensive health system involving energy-based 
bodywork, diet, exercise and self-awareness. It works with the Human Energy Field, electromagnetic patterns expressed in mental, emotional and physical experience. 
In Polarity Therapy, health is viewed as a reflection of the conditiion of the energy 
field, and therapeutic methods are designed to balance the field for health benefit."* 
The technique's pioneer, Dr. Randolph Stone, a strong proponent of the healing 
powers of energy, utilized polarity therapy in his pratice until retiring at the age 
of 84 in 1974.

 

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Prenatal Massage - Prenatal, or pregnancy, massage uses gentle techniques 
to help alleviate some of the ailments associated with pregancy, including lower 
back, neck and shoulder pain; fatigue; joint tenderness; and stretch marks. Prenatal 
massage can help improve circulation, promote stress reduction and relaxation, 
and much more. Practitioners should be well-trained in prenatal massage in order 
to deliver safe and effective care, and patients should check with their doctors prior 
to receiving treatment.

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Qi (Pronounced "Chee") - Also chi, ka and ji. The basis of traditional Chinese
 medicine
revolves around qi, which is considered a vital force or energy 
responsible for controlling the workings of the human mind and body. Qi flows 
through the body via channels, or pathways, which are called meridians. There are 
a total of 20 meridians: 12 primary meridians, which correspond to specific organs, 
organ systems or functions, and eight secondary meridians. Imbalances in the flow 
of qi cause illness and correction of this flow restores the body to balance.

 

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Reflexology - This technique is based on a system of points on the hands, 
feet and ears that correspond, or "reflex," to other areas of the 
body. Similar in theory to acupressure, reflexologists believe 
that applying appropriate pressure to these points stimulates 
the flow of energy, thus helping to relieve pain or blockages 
throughout the entire body. A very pleasurable form of bodywork, reflexology is also used to ease stress and promote relaxation.

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Reiki - While not strictly under the auspices of massage, Reiki (pronounced 
"ray-key") is often practiced in conjunction with bodywork. The word Reiki comes 
from two Japanese words - rei, meaning higher power or universal force, and ki
meaning life energy. Loosely translated, Reiki means universal or spiritually-
guided life-force energy.

Practiced for thousands of years throughout Japan, China, Tibet and other Asian 
nations, Reiki was "rediscovered" in the late 19th century by Dr. Mikao Usui, a 
Buddhist monk and educator, who used the therapy to heal the sick. Today, Reiki 
is used as a method of healing illness and reducing stress through light touch or,
 more commonly, by placing the hands near or above the body in specific positions 
or patterns. Through these positions, a Reiki practitioner can correct energetic 
imbalances in the body by removing toxic energy, improving health and restoring 
a person's energy levels.

 

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Rolfing® (Structural Integration) - Developed by Ida P. Rolf in the 1940s, 
Structural Integration, or Rolfing, works to correct imbalances in body caused by 
natural gravitational forces. This technique utilizes deep pressure to help lengthen 
and relieve built up tension in the body's connective tissues. Benefits of this technique 
include improved balance, posture, and range of motion; increased energy; stress 
reduction; and alleviation of pain and discomfort.


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Rosen Method - This technique utilizes a combination of light touch, breathing 
exercises, relaxation techniques and verbal communication to work in helping 
clients to connect to themselves emotionally in order to reduce tension and stress 
throughout the body.

 

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Shiatsu - Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage therapy similar to 
acupressure
; in fact, the word shiatsu literally means "finger pressure." As with 
acupressure, the concepts of shiatsu hold that it can promote health and facilitate 
healing by correcting energy imbalances in the body. These imbalances are 
corrected by applying pressure to specific points along channels in the body 
known as meridians. While there is no exact date as to when shiatsu originated, 
the technique is believed to be hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

Shiatsu is usually delivered with the thumbs. However, 
some practitioners will use their fingers, palms, elbows --
 and even feet -- to achieve the desired effect. Typically, 
a shiatsu practitioner will apply pressure not just to a few 
points on the body. The goal here is twofold: to release 
energy (qi in Chinese, ki in Japanese - pronounced 
"chee") in areas where it may be blocked or stagnating, 
and to bring energy back to areas that are depleted.

In addition to applying pressure, shiatsu practitioners may manipulate the soft tissue
 over and around meridians, and perform passive and active stretching exercises 
as part of treatment. Scientifically speaking, shiatsu is an excellent form of pain 
relief. Research has shown that applying extensive pressure initiates the release of
 endorphins, natural pain-killing substances produced by the body. Shiatsu may 
also lower the levels of adrenaline and other stress hormones, producing a 
relaxing effect.

 

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Soft-Tissue Massage - Soft-tissue massage is a generic term for any 
modality that is used to treat the soft tissues in the body, including muscle, fascia, 
and scar tissue. Common modalities used include Swedish, myofascial release
deep-tissue massage
, trigger point therapy ,connective tissue massage.

 

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Spa Treatments - This term refers to several types of treatments generally 
performed in resort and day spas. Some of these include manicures and pedicures,
 mud wraps, body scrubs, sea salt scrubs, parrafin treatments, hydrotherapy 
treatments, scalp treatments, facials, and herbal and seaweed body wraps.

 

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Sports Massage - Sports massage therapies are both preventative and 
therapeutic, and used for athletes during warm ups, training and competition to 
treat and/or aid in the prevention of injuries; help improve flexibility, range of motion,
 and performance; and aid in mental clarity. Virtually every professional sports 
team employs professional sports massage therapists, and are often privately 
employed by professional athletes.

 

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Swedish Massage - Generally regarded as the most common form of 
massage, Swedish massage involves a combination of five basic strokes and 
concentrates on the muscles and connective tissues of the body for improved 
circulation, relaxation, pain relief, and overall health maintenance and well-being. 
Swedish massage is also one of the less demanding techniques for massage 
therapists to practice as it usually does not involve deep-tissue work.

 

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Thai Massage - Practiced in Thailand for over 2,000 years, Thai massage -- 
also known as yoga massage, Thai yoga massage and ancient massage -- works
 to clear energy blockages and restore balance and harmony to the body. 
The practice combines typical Westernized massage therapy practices, including
 myofascial release and trigger point therapy, with light stretching similar to that of 
yoga. It has even earned the name "lazy man's yoga." Like yoga, Thai massage 
helps to strengthen the body and increase flexibility, while allowing the client to 
benefit from the relaxation and healing properties of massage.

Rather than using a massage table, Thai massage is 
administered to fully clothed clients on floor mats. Practitioners 
use their own body weight to position clients into yoga-like forms 
while instructing clients on proper breathing for maximum results.

 

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Thalassotherapy - This hydrotherapy treatment is often used in day spas and 
wellness clinics. It utilizes seawater and sea water products for their minerals and 
healing properties. Thalassotherapy treatments can involve body wraps, or, more 
commonly, heated seawater baths. Benefits include relaxation, increased circulation,
 and treatment of pain and injury.

 

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Therapeutic Touch (TT)- Therapeutic Touch is a form of bodywork practiced
 primarily in the nursing profession. Using light touch, practitioners work with a clients
 energy to help restore balance, emotional clarity, and promote relaxation and 
healing.

 

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - Traditional Chinese medicine is one
 of the oldest continuous systems of medicine in history, with recorded instances 
dating as far back as two thousand years before the birth of Christ. This is in sharp 
contrast to American or Western forms of health care, which have been in existence 
for a much shorter time span.

Traditional Chinese medicine is based, at least in part, on
 the Daoist belief that we live in a universe in which everything 
is interconnected. What happens to one part of the body 
affects every other part of the body. The mind and body are 
not viewed separately, but as part of an energetic system. 
Similarly, organs and organ systems are viewed as 
interconnected structures that work together to keep the body 
functioning.

Many of the concepts emphasized in traditional Chinese 
medicine have no true counterpart in Western medicine. One of these concepts is 
qi
(pronounced "chee"), which is considered a vital force or energy responsible for 
controlling the workings of the human mind and body. Qi flows through the body via 
channels, or pathways, which are called meridians. There are a total of 20 meridians
 12 primary meridians, which correspond to specific organs, organ systems or 
functions, and eight secondary meridians. Imbalances in the flow of qi cause illness;
correction of this flow restores the body to balance.

Traditional Chinese medicine encompasses several methods designed to help 
patients achieve and maintain health. Along with acupuncture, TCM incorporates 
adjunctive techniques such as acupressure, tuina, herbal medicine, diet and lifestyle, 
meditation, and other practices.


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Trager Approach® - The Trager Approach relies on gentle, rhythmic rocking 
and stretching techniques to promote easy and free movement and sensation 
throughout the body. Clients wear loose-fitting clothing and lay on a table in a warm 
treatment room. Sessions can last from either one hour to an hour and a half.

Following the session, practitioners provide clients with information on "Mentastics," 
or mental gymnastics, and "recall". Mentastics and recall help the client recreate the experiences they felt during the actual Trager session to help induce the positive 
feelings and states of relaxation associated with the session. The effects of the 
Trager Approach are cumulative and improve over time; hence, clients are 
encouraged to engage in several sessions to reap its full benefits.

 

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Trigger Point Therapy - Trigger points are areas of soft tissue in the body 
characterized by local pain, tightness, and tenderness. Often trigger points develop
because of referred pain, or pain from another source that has manifested itself in a 
trigger point. Trigger points rarely refer pain to other areas.

Trigger point therapy seeks first to identify trigger points, then apply steady, 
appropriate pressure to the point to "release" it. This is usually followed by 
massage to the surrounding area to help treat the cause of the trigger point. Clients 
are encouraged to drink a lot of water following a trigger point therapy session to 
flush out any toxins released when the trigger point is released.

 

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Tuina - Tuina (pronounced "twee nah") is a form of Asian bodywork that has 
been used in China for centuries. A combination of massage, acupressure and 
other forms of body manipulation, tuina works by applying pressure to acupoints, 
meridians and groups of muscles or nerves to remove blockages that prevent the 
free flow of qi (pronounced "chee"). Removing these blockages restores the 
balance of qi in the body, leading to improved health and vitality.

Tuina is best suited for alleviating chronic pain, 
musculoskeletal conditions and stress-related disorders t
hat affect the digestive and/or respiratory systems. 
Among the ailments tuina treats best are neck pain, 
shoulder pain, back pain, sciatica and tennis elbow. 
However, because tuina is designed to improve and 
restore the flow of qi, treatment often ends up causing 
improvements to the whole body, not just a specific area.

There is anecdotal evidence that headaches, constipation, premenstrual symptoms 
and some emotional problems may also be effectively treated through tuina. 
Because it tends to be more specific and intense than other types of bodywork, 
tuina may not necessarily be used to sedate or relax a patient. The type of massage 
delivered by a tuina practitioner can be quite vigorous; in fact, some people may 
feel sore after their first session. Some patients may also experience feelings of 
sleepiness or euphoria. As with all forms of care, there are certain instances in which
 tuina should not be performed. Patients with osteoporosis or conditions involving 
fractures, for instance, should not receive tuina. Neither should patients with 
infectious diseases, skin problems or open wounds.

 

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Visceral Manipulation - Visceral Manipulation seeks to correct pain and 
dysfunction caused by imbalance between the organs and structures of the body.

According to the Upledger Institute, "Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a gentle hands-
on therapy that works through the body’s visceral system (the heart, liver, intestines 
and other internal organs) to locate and alleviate abnormal points of tension 
throughout the body. VM employs specifically placed manual forces that work to 
encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connective 
tissues. Trained practitioners use the rhythmic motions of the visceral system to 
evaluate how abnormal forces interplay, overlap and affect the normal body forces 
at work. These gentle manipulations can potentially improve the functioning of 
individual organs, the systems the organs function within, and the structural integrity 
of the entire body." *

 

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Watsu - Watsu is a hydrotherapy treatment 
quickly gaining popularity all over the world. 
Watsu, which combines the words water and 
shiatsu, is literally shiatsu performed on clients 
who float in warm water. The practitioner carefully 
holds the client and applies gentle stretching and shiatsu-like massage techniques 
along the back, neck, shoulders, and limbs. This therapy is useful for a number of 
reasons: The warm water soothes muscles and promotes relaxation; the feeling of
weightlessness promotes free movement; and benefits include pain relief, stress 
reduction and deep relaxation. Watsu also promotes self-reflection, connection 
and trust.

 

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Zero Balancing (ZB) - Zero Balancing is concerned with "bone energy," or 
the energy of the skeletal system. The practice seeks to work with both the body's 
energy and physcial structure to correct imbalance, restore vitality, and aid in stress
relief and pain reduction. ZB work is performed on fully-clothed clients, and sessions
usually last about 30-45 minutes.

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