Archive for November, 2010

Swedish Massage – A Gentle Approach to Healing

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Most people who are not very familiar with massage therapy have at least heard the term Swedish Massage.  That is the universal name for the most basic type of massage.  Swedish massage is the most widely-used modality and is often incorporated into other massage protocols.  Swedish massage is very popular in Spas and Resorts around the world as well as for my clients right here in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I use Swedish massage strokes in every massage that I perform, but in conjunction with Deep Tissue Therapy, Injury Massage, Sports Therapy etc…

You are probably thinking that massage therapy was first used in Sweden considering that Swedish Massage is the general moniker.  However, the art of massage is found in writings dating back as early as 3000 B.C.  Massage has literally been around forever!  From China, it spread through the East and Europe.  The Greeks implemented massage into their fitness regimens and the Romans built public baths for people to perform massage on each other.

But Swedish Massage comes from Swedish Physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839).  Swedish massage is a system consisting of many organized techniques and this system was created by Ling.  Therefore, he became known as “the father of Swedish Massage.”  Ling developed Swedish massage to cure his own ailment.  He suffered from an extremely painful and debilitating joint disease and decided to travel the world to find his own approach to treatment.

Before we discuss this system of strokes that are included in Swedish massage, there are a few key elements that separate this type of massage from other modalities.  These massage strokes must be applied with gentle pressure. Swedish massage sedates our Circulatory System, and therefore, is used primarily for relaxation.  Also, by sedating our bodies’ systems, relief from pain is also a goal.  It makes sense that Per Henrik Ling developed this system to alleviate his illness.  Now let’s list the specific strokes:

  1. Effleurage: Using the entire surface of the hand, effleurage is used to skim or glide over the skin to create the sensation of length
  2. Petrissage: Meaning “to knead, Petrissage is used for just that.  This stroke essentially “milks” specific muscles to increase   circulation and should be used after superficial strokes.
  3. Friction: Friction strokes can be applied with fingers, thumbs, palms, and knuckles and are used at a fast pace to create heat and increase blood flow.
  4. Vibration: Used primarily with fingertips, Vibration is used by applying pressure in a vertical movement into the tissue without removing the fingertips from the skin.  This creates a numbing effect on the muscles.
  5. Tapotement (Percussion): Meaning “to pat, drum or pat”, palms, fingertips, cupped-hands or fists can be used in Tapotement.  Also, you can use a chopping motion with the Ulnar side of your hand.  This stroke is used to stimulate muscle tissue and increase blood flow.  I personally do not use Tapotement in Swedish body-work sessions.  I use these strokes only in Deep Tissue and Sports Therapies because it prepares the body for exertion and also aids in injury prevention.

One final aspect that is very important in Swedish massage along with all of the massage modalities, is direction of the stroke.  All strokes must travel towards the heart. Moving in this direction supports the movement of fluid back to the heart.

Now that you are aware of how the system works, let me describe the benefits of Swedish Massage besides relaxation and pain management:

  • Increases circulation to increase immune function
  • Increases joint flexibility and range of motion
  • Increases mental clarity and feelings of well-being
  • Reduces stress immensely
  • It Feels Awesome!

For my Salt Lake City, Utah clients that have never experienced a massage before, I highly recommend starting with a Swedish Massage.  The majority of my clientele receive Deep Tissue Massage and Sports Therapies due to injuries or over-worked muscles from physical activities.  But I do perform Swedish Massage Therapy and the results always amaze me.  Most massage therapists who perform Swedish Massage will report that clients come out of these sessions “glowing.”  This system of specific strokes has been proven to physiologically and mentally relax the receiver.  Clients who receive Swedish massage sessions from me often report feeling clear-minded and simply happy.  Swedish Massage also relieves stress and emotional anguish, and I hear many tearful thank-yous for easing this.  If Swedish Massage interests you please schedule with me today for your swedish massage in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Call (801) 349-3934 or you can use my online contact form.

Trigger Point Therapy – Muscle Relief Through Trigger Point Massage

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

What exactly is a Trigger Point or, more technically called, Myofascial Trigger Points (TrP)?  They are simply a firm, tangible, tender spot found in any given muscles with symptoms including deep, aching pain, numbness, inflammation and a loss of range of motion.  Many people would equate these spots to knots.  In my practice, I see these occur predominantly in the back/neck and Gluteal Muscles, but they can be found on any muscle in the body.  These “knots” are also usually accompanied by referred pain.  Referral Pain is pain that is felt elsewhere from where the source is.  For example, if I was applying pressure to a tender Trigger Point in the Lower Back of a client, they may also feel that tender pain dwelling in their Hamstring.

Trigger Point Therapy has become very popular since it was first used in 1843.  Dr. F. Froriep, a German Physician, found tender spots, which he named “muscle callouses” in the muscles of his patients.  He discovered that treating these specific spots brought great relief.  There has been a lot of research since, but the most recent and well-respected is from Janet G. Travell M.D. and David G. Simons M.D.  Dr. Travell worked with terminally ill patients.  She came to find that her patients complained more of and had more concerns with the pain instead of the serious illness that was being treated.  She dedicated her practice to pain syndromes and alleviating patients’ specific pain.

Of course, there are several causes for these painful spots including:

Trigger Point Therapy Salt Lake City Utah

  • Over-training and/or improper form
  • Muscle weakness
  • Car Accidents
  • Poor Diet
  • Starting a new exercise program
  • Trauma emotional and/or physical
  • Lack of sleep/sleep disorders

Trigger Point Therapy is a very common request from my clients in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Trigger Point session’s have considerable benefit for those experiencing muscle pain, there are several things you can expect from your session.  First I always make sure to locate the exact area of the Trigger Point and then lengthen the muscle.  Then I apply a tolerable amount of pressure and hold it until I feel the spot release.  Next, I use a strumming motion to “strip-out” the knot, making sure to move in the direction of the fiber orientation.  This elongates the muscle that has been shortened by the Trigger Point. I then strip the muscle going each direction towards its attachment sites.  Once I am working on the attachment sites, I use fast-moving friction with my finger tips to break up the knotted area.  It’s always a good idea to end a Trigger Point session with stretching the areas that were bound up.  When it comes to pain felt in these bodywork sessions, I work with a 5-7 scale.  On a scale of 1-10, if my client feels that their pain has reached an 8, I will pull back into a more comfortable 5-7 range.  Of course, there will be some pain involved due to the fact that Trigger Points are very tender and irritable.

From my experience working at chiropractic offices in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I have found that a combination of Deep Tissue and Trigger Point bodywork are most effective in releasing tight muscles.  I work on a lot of auto-accident victims and high-performance athletes.  These 2 cases seem to have the highest concentration of trigger points, but anyone can get them, and they can get them anywhere.  If you have had deep tissue sessions that have not given you results, then you may want to try Trigger Point Therapy.  Many of my clients love it and request it for every session.  If you’re looking for trigger point therapy in Salt Lake City, Utah call me today at (801) 349-3934 and see if Trigger Point may be just what you need to relieve your fatigued muscles.

Holiday Special – Salt Lake City Massage – Buy 1 Massage, Get the 2nd half off!

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I can’t believe the Holidays are already here and the year is coming to a close!  To show my appreciation to my wonderful clients and to bring in some new-comers, I am offering a great deal this Season.  If you buy 2 massages together, I will give you the 2nd one for 50% off!  That’s 2 one-hour massages for $75. You really can’t beat that price!  Also, if you are thinking of gift-giving ideas, I have gift cards this year which are pictured below.

Massages are a great gift for family, friends or any loved-one.  The Holiday Season will book up fast so buy them today!  You don’t want this great deal to pass you by.  Call me to schedule your appointment 801.349.3934.  I’m located near 300 E. 800 S in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.  I specialize in Deep Tissue but offer many types of massage including Swedish, Russian Sports Therapy, Injury, Reflexology and Craniosacral.  Happy Holidays Everyone!

This Holiday discount is open to all of my Salt Lake City, Utah massage clients.  Call today!