Massage (or bodywork) is a manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques to: enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being, and create a pleasurable recreational activity.
Massage involves acting upon the body either manually or with mechanical aids to create: pressure (structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving); tension; motion; or, vibration. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints and other connective tissue, lymphatic vessels or organs of the gastrointestinal system. It is usually passive and relaxes the client. All you have to do is lie on a professional massage table or sometimes sit in a massage chair. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, or feet. You might be draped by towels or a sheet. Usually oil or lotion is used to lubricate the skin.
At Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center, we offer several types of massage services (please see the list below) in order to address both your therapeutic needs as well as the relaxation of your mind & body. Before the massage therapy begins, our licensed massage therapist will conduct an interview with you in order to understand your health condition and personal preferences. They can discuss with you which type of massage service would be the most appropriate one for your needs. Sometimes a massage therapy regimen using more than one massage service can be custom-designed to meet your goals for the session.
Brief introductions to our various massage services are offered in our center now. If there is any type of massage service you prefer and it is not listed below, please feel free to either mention it to our front desk personnel or talk to our massage therapists directly.
Deep tissue massage
Deep Tissue Massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep Tissue Massage is often recommended for clients who experience consistent pain, who are involved in heavy physical activity (such as athletes), or who have sustained physical injury. Deep Tissue Massage is often used to treat particular muscular-skeletal disorders or complaints and employs a dedicated set of techniques and strokes to achieve a measure of relief. Deep tissue Massage is applied to both the superficial and deep layers of muscles, fascia, and other structures. The sessions are often quite intense as a result of the deliberate, focused work. It is not uncommon for receivers of deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two. Generally this massage is done with oil.
Swedish massage therapy is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage. As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. But Swedish massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.
Reflexology, or zone therapy, focuses on points on the feet, hands and sometimes the ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques designed to improve health. It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas which are thought to reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands. The premise is that such work effects a physical change to the body. Generally no oil is used.
Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to Acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through "meridians" in the body to affect health. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to both Acupuncture points and “trigger points” with the aim of clearing blockages as well as balancing energy in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by elbow, or with various devices. It can be done with or without oil or lotion. Some medical studies have suggested that acupressure may be effective at helping manage nausea and vomiting, and for helping lower back pain.
Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage. In Japanese it means "finger pressure". It is a type of alternative medicine consisting of finger and palm pressure, stretches, and other massage techniques. Usually Shiatsu is very good in helping people relax and cope with issues such as stress, muscle pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression. Generally it can be done without any oil.
Tuina is an acient Chinese style of bodywork that goes back thousands of years. This form of massage is governed by Oriental medicine and follows many of the same guidelines as Acupuncture. Tuina can be used to treat a variety of musculo-skeletal issues. It's a powerful (and relaxing) form of healing. Tuina usually uses more finger pressure and stretching techniques and is done with oil.
Hot stone massage
Hot stone massage is a natural therapy in which warmed stones are positioned on parts of the client's body of to maximize the therapeutic benefit. The use of hot stones for healing dates can back to ancient times. The stones used are typically river rocks or other very smooth-surfaced stones made of basalt. These stones are heated in sanitizing water before use. The high iron content in basalt helps the stones retain heat during the massage. Hot stone massages are beneficial on both physical and psychological levels.
Hot stone massage is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It's also suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure.
People also get hot stone massage for a variety of health conditions:
- Back pain and aches
- Poor circulation
- Stress, anxiety and tension
Aromatherapy massage is massage therapy but with highly concentrated plant oils, called essential oils, added to the massage oil or lotion.
The nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones.
When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system.
Essential oils are also believed to be absorbed through the skin.
Each essential oil has different healing properties. For example, some calm while others energize. Here are some widely used essential oils and their purported properties:
- Stress: lavender, clary sage, lemon
- Inflammation: German chamomile, helichrysum
- Insomnia: Roman chamomile, clary sage, marjoram, patchouli
- Lack of energy: eucalyptus, grapefruit, lemongrass, rosemary
- Depression: nutmeg, lemon, bergamot, anise
If you have more questions about Massage, Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page.