Saturday, October 15, 2011

Techniques for Swedish and Sports Massage Therapy

By Howie Fisher

Techniques used for Swedish massage were originally adapted by Per Henrik Ling . He was a physiologyist and fencing master, who honed the methods for massage in China and changed them to present them as Swedish Massage via the Swedish Central Institute of Gymnastics. The premise for the majority of massage practice, be it Sports massage, physiotherapy, relaxtion therapy or stress management, is Swedish massage.

Sports massage has developed from Swedish massage and is a type of massage that moves soft tissue to help people performing daily or weekly physical activity to make better their abilities by improving rates of recovery and so make possible better performance and lessen prevalence of injury. Connective fibres that have not hardened into bone and cartilage are named 'soft tissue'. Examples are, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. Trauma or imbalances in soft tissue can be rectified using Sports Massage. Such traumas can occur at any time,for example, through continuous and strenuous activities. Massage is a relaxing head to toe experience where the client is immersed into a state of peace or a intense practice targeting a specific injury.

Different skills are utilized in Swedish massage and they include:

Effleurage movements are superficial manoeuvres transversely over the skin, performed with the whole hand or forearm. They are utilized to rest and measure the client.

Petrissage is a more physical technique than effleurage because it combines squeezing and kneading the soft tissue in preparation for deeper methods. It is not a focused manoeuvre.

Frictions are shallow or deep movments in order to warm up focused parts of soft tissue. They are carried out with the fingertips, part of the hand or elbow.

Tapotement is a mixture percussion techniques using part or whole of the hand. The strokes combine hacking and cupping. It invigorates an area of soft tissue.

Vibrations invigorate and relax soft tissue particularly at the back of the neck.

Above the techniques used by Swedish massage, Sports massage utilizes directed methods to aim at areas more specifically.

Examples of Sports massage techniques comprise:

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) - This method involves applying quasi-static pressure to the skin with the aim of stimulating specific parts of skeletal muscle, often myofascial trigger points.

Muscular Energy Technique (MET) - This is where muscles are actively used on request from a precisely controlled place, in a specific direction and against a distinctly executed, therapist led counter-force.

PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) is a variety of passive stretching and isometric contractions.

Such is the flexibility of the techniques, a mixture of Swedish and Sports Massage can be merged into a training set up, or part of a rehabilitation plan for athletes.

Qualities that benefit the body, delivered by Sports and Swedish massage, are:

Rebalancing the body's structure, by identifying and relieving tensions and adhesions before they become bad for the body.

Diminish headaches (including migraines) which become fewer, shorter and less intense, through dealing with the underlying causes via easy easing of taut areas of muscle and tissue.

Massage encourages faster convalescence time from injury by using the body's own healing processes.

The stimulation of blood flow and lymph fluid in the body helps to get rid of toxins from the body.

Massage strokes help to realign fibres into their natural site, therefore reducing scar tissue at injury sites.

Muscle flexibility is increased and so injury can be prevented and performance improved.

Maintenance of the muscle tone and strength.

The problems come from 'bad' posture and can affect the body in an adverse way. They can be irritating and restrict movement . Massage can deal with these situations.

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