Swedish massage consists of light to moderately pressured long strokes, kneading, circular movements, vibration, and tapping.
The purpose of this technique is to help relax the body, and generally focuses on large areas.
Dermoneuromodulation (DNM), which focuses on the skin (dermo) and nervous system (neuro). Skin is gently moved to either create tautness or slackness within the nerve, resulting in a less “grumpy” nerve, which helps decrease the pain sensation.
The purpose of this technique is to help the nervous system correct itself by allowing the brain to realize that there is no danger, thereby allowing the nerves to reduce their “high alert” activity, to “calm down”. This reduces the pain being experienced.
This technique generally focuses on the problem area, specific to where the pain is felt.
Joint mobilization, which involves the therapist moving the joint through a range of motion.
The purpose of this technique is to improve a joint’s movement, relieve pain, help decrease muscle spasms or muscle guarding.
This technique generally focuses on individual joints.
Kinesio taping (k-tape) is not a massage therapy technique per se, but it can be used as an adjunct. This technique involves the application of a cotton with an acrylic adhesive, to skin to help reduce bruising, swelling, and/or pain, and to help the body feel more supported.
For bruising and swelling, the tape works by lifting certain areas of the skin, creating areas of high and low pressure which are constantly moving and changing with the patient’s own movements.
These areas of differing pressure encourage the fluid under the skin (lymph, blood, cellular fluid, etc.) to move from an area of high concentration to low concentration, and be reabsorbed or broken down as need be.
For pain or feelings of instability, the tape is stretched and then applied to the skin, helping to stimulate the skin and the soft tissue below, which may help the nervous system feel that the area is more supported and so in less ‘danger’.
K-tape may be applied to single or multiple areas, large or small.
Therapeutic Ultrasound is also not a massage therapy technique, but it may be used during a massage therapy treatment to help reduce pain, reduce non-functional scar tissue, and possibly help decrease healing time.
This technique involves the application of ultrasound gel to the area being treated, and the ultrasound head is pressed into the gel and moved in circular motions around the target area.
This is generally used for superficial issues usually less than 5 cm or 2 inches below the skin.
Typical treatment times are 5-10 minutes.
Not all techniques will be used during a massage therapy appointment, as each has its own risks and benefits, and so may not be appropriate for a given individual’s circumstances.
All techniques, as with all types of therapy, require honest and open communication between the patient and therapist. If you are not comfortable, please let your therapist know!