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Deep Tissue Massage Therapy 101

Deep tissue massage can release toxins, relax the mind and release tension.

First Things First, Deep Tissue Massage Typically Focuses on Specific Problems, Such As:

  1. Muscle Tension or Muscle Spasms
  2. Chronic Pain
  3. Limited Mobility
  4. Postural Problems
  5. Ostearthritis Pain
  6. Fibromyalgia
  7. Recovery from Injuries (Whiplash, Falls, Sports Injuries)
  8. Repetitive Strain Injuries, Such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

In many ways, deep tissue massage techniques are comparable to those used during Swedish massage sessions but the deeper pressure is beneficial when it comes to relieving chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). It’s primarily used to treat chronically tight or painful muscles, postural problems, repetitive strain, or speed recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage. Studies have shown that people’s blood pressure fell after only 45 to minutes of deep tissue work. And further that massage modalities such as deep tissue can reduce stress hormone levels and heart rate while improving mood and easing relaxation by facilitating oxytocin and serotonin release.

Because it targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissues with slow strokes or friction across the grain of the muscles, deep tissue is ideally suited to range of therapeutic needs. For instance; since the application of deep-tissue techniques increases blood flow, it can be used to help reduce the inflammation that causes pain. Deep-tissue techniques can also be used to help alleviate muscle tension that is often a side effect of chronic pain by loosening the tight tissue clusters.  Deep-tissue techniques can also be used to help break up and over the long term eliminate scar tissue. And because it improves lymphatic drainage and circulation while improving flexibility and range of motion deep tissue is often recommended for patient’s recovering from surgery. Because it helps stretch tight or twisted muscle mass, speeds the movement of toxins from the muscles and relaxes muscles, deep-tissue massage techniques are frequently used to rehabilitate sports injuries.


There’s usually some stiffness or pain following a deep tissue massage session as if you had been through a workout, because deep tissue massage really makes the muscles work, but it typically subsides after a day or so.  In other words deep tissue massage isn’t exactly comfortable or relaxing experience initially, but it promotes comfort and restorative relaxation in the long run. The directed pressure therapists apply can be rather intense and some people can find it a bit too intense. So be warned

Massage and AromaTherapy

AromaTherapy Massage Therapy

For those who came in late, AromaTherapy has been around for at least 6,000 years and introduces essential oils to bodywork to bring their intrinsic therapeutic properties to the massage equation. Aromatherapy massage represents something of a more a holistic approach to massage therapy. During the massage, essential oils are mixed with a carrier oils such as apricot kernel, grapeseed or sweet almond oil. The massage therapist may blend as many as five essential oils and selects the oils based on a client’s specific needs. A restorative aromatherapy massage, for instance, might have bergamot or lavender, while a massage for sore muscles could include eucalyptus or peppermint oil.

Now, essential oils are highly concentrated extracts, derived from leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, roots and resins. And in addition to aromatherapy they’re used in hydrotherapy facials, baths and body treatments. They can also be used at home. But AromaTherapy shouldn’t be confused with perfume oils. Perfumes are typically made from chemicals, and lack the therapeutic properties of essential oils—in other words, simply lighting a few scented candles won’t make a massage aromatherapy.

Now, AromaTherapy Massage is more than just a relaxing, feel good, indulgence, it offers benefits that are both psychological and physiological.  You see, our nostrils are attached to a part of our brains called the limbic system and our limbic system essentially controls emotions and influences hormone production and our nervous systems. So whenever we’re inhaling essential oil molecules, they’re sending messages to our limbic system that affects everything from your blood pressure and stress level to your breathing and heart rate.

The Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage:

  1. It can be used to treat: Back pains, including Low Back Pain
  2. Migraines and Headaches
  3. Gastrointestinal Disorders
  4. Stress and Stress-Related Conditions Including Insomnia
  5. And research suggests that cancer patients especially those in palliative care settings can benefit from aromatherapy and massage.

Each essential oil has different healing properties. For example, some calm while others energize

Common Essential Oils and Their Uses in AromaTherapy:

  1. Sandalwood Oil: good for relaxation, digestive troubles and dry skin
  2. Lavender Oil: for relaxation
  3. Peppermint Oil: to boost energy levels
  4. Tea Tree Oil: a strong disinfectant, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal
  5. Geranium Oil: for menopausal problems & PMS Lemongrass; for sore or injured muscles


Learn How to Give a Prenatal Massage


Good demo video courtesy of licensed massage therapist Willow Hajicek of Prenatal Massage Therapy, (aka Pregnancy Massage), which is for those who came in late, bodywork specifically tailored for the needs of expectant mothers. Therapeutic massage can not only ease the physical discomforts, stress, and anxiety many women experience during pregnancy. Pregnancy massage can help reduce edema in the extremities, improve circulation and reduce spasms in tight overworked muscles, improve posture and promote restful sleep, increase relaxation, and help women feel nurtured. It’s especially beneficial during the second and third trimesters, when the extra weight begins strain expectant mother’s backs. Women who treat themselves to massage therapy during their pregnancies report that they leave far more aware of and in-tune with their own bodies and that they felt this increased awareness improved their experience of labor and improved their ability to positively participate in the delivery process.

Traditional Ashiatsu Massage Therapy

Deep Tissue Massage- Back Walking Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage

Benefits of Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage:

  1. Relieves tight muscles
  2. Reduces stress
  3. Deepens relaxation
  4. Stimulates your body’s own self-healing capabilities

Ok so what is Ashiatsu barefoot massage? Well, Ashiatsu is a unique bodywork style during which a therapist ‘walks’ on the client’s back, using overhead bars and gravity for balance and their bare feet instead of their hands to apply therapeutic pressure. The modality was born in Asia, but these days, several variations of Ashiatsu massage are common. The word “Ashiatsu” literally translated means foot “ashi”, pressure “atsu” in Japanese, some Ashiatsu therapists use their hands or their upper bodies when appropriate. Ashiatsu is often referred to as “barefoot Shiatsu” as Shiatsu means finger “shi”, pressure “atsu” in Japanese, although Ashiatsu isn’t as structured as Shiatsu, because of its informal origins. Foot pressure is applied in long compression strokes or to specific trigger points, depending on the client’s needs. It’s worth remembering that Ashiatsu barefoot massage requires a certain amount of advanced training, because if improperly applied the technique could cause damage to the client’s back.

Traditional Ashiatsu massage therapy is based in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is practiced in both China and Japan by practitioner’s with a deep understanding of the body’s meridians (energy channels) who have been trained to take a whole-body approach to wellness. In addition to offering massage to their clients, these practitioners may also assess diet, prescribe herbs, and use other treatment modalities to address the client’s health problems.In traditional Ashiatsu massage, a client lies on the floor or on a shiatsu clip cable equipped massage table. in loose, comfortable clothes while the Ashiatsu practitioner walks across their back, using the feet to target specific pressure points with soothing strokes and deep pressure to milk the muscles and release toxins to induce deep relaxation.


It’s perfect for lovers of deep tissue work or can’t seem to find a therapist to do deep enough work for them.  It is also useful as a sports preparation or athletic maintenance, as the elements of stretching and engaging the large muscle groups are incorporated. It is also a great way to quickly warm up the large muscles for more detailed therapy, especially on people who are very muscular, although there are no restrictions on body types who can receive Ashiatsu, due to the therapist having control of weight distribution. It feels like a “good workout” to some, leaving them refreshed and relaxed rather than tired.

Tui Na Massage 101


For those who came in late, Tui Na Massage might be the oldest known system of physical therapy in the world and the Asian bodywork form that most closely resembles popular western massage modalities. It can trace its origins as far back as 225 B.C., as far back in fact as The Yellow Emperor’s  classic treatise on Chinese Internal Medicine–wherein Tui Na a was described as one of the five major therapies. Sometimes referred to as Chinese Meridian, Qigong Massage or Tui Na An Mo which literally translates as: “Push Grasp Press Rub.” It’s aimed squarely at addressing the ways muscles and ligaments relate to the skeletal bone structure. In other words, our muscles and ligaments pull on our bones; if our muscles are tight, they pull our bones of our skeletons, slightly maligning their structures.

If you’ve experienced both acupressure and Shiatsu, a Tui Na session will probably seem like a cross between the two. Like Shiatsu, Tui Na relies on rhythmic compression along your body’s energy channels, as well as a variety of techniques that will manipulate and lubricate your joints. A just as with acupressure, Tui Na directly influences your energy flow via holds and pressure applied at acupressure points.  And many of the techniques are similar—gliding (known as Tui or effleurage), kneading (Nie or petrissage), percussion (Da or tapotement), friction, pulling, rotation, rocking, vibration, and shaking. But despite their similarities, the intent of Tui Na means it’s more therapeutic than the restorative relaxation of a Swedish Massage. Tui Na Therapy helps establish a more harmonious energy flow thru your channels and collaterals, allowing your body to heal itself naturally.

What Is Tui Na Massage?Every Tui Na massage session is condition specific and incorporates breathing, range of motion, meridian stretches and acupressure points but generally speaking Tui Na Sessions include hand and arm techniques to massage your soft tissues (muscles and tendons) and manipulation techniques to realign your musculo-skeletal and ligamentous relationships (bone setting). External herbal poultices, compresses, salves and liniments are occasionally used to enhance Tui Na’s other therapeutic methods.

Tui Na Massage is ideal for treating specific musculoskeletal disorders and chronic stress-related respiratory disorders, making it a good alternative or complement to traditional Swedish massage. However, Tui Na techniques aren’t especially useful for those seeking a mild relaxing bodywork experience,  as it tends to be more task focused than other forms of touch-focused physical therapy.

Here, Have 10 Physical Therapy Facts

Facts About Being a Physical TherapistHere’s a handy infographic illustrating ten points that you should know but may not know about physical therapy and physical therapists. If you’re already physiotherapists then you already have most of this info at your fingertips but if you’re just learning about the field, it could definitely be informative. I could also be reasonable useful if you’re just starting to considering a career as a Physical Rehabilitation Therapist or a PT.


Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction Guide

Certified Massage Therapist's Guide to (Front Body) Myofascial Trigger PointsCertified Massage Therapist's Guide to (Back Body) Myofascial Trigger Points

For anyone who missed our last foray into the subject of trigger point massage therapy, Myofascial Trigger Points are hyper sensitive and hyper contracted muscle areas, which, when irritated, result in a predictable pattern of pain referral. The main advantage of knowing the aforementioned patterns is that pain in a particular area that stems from a myofascial trigger point, can help determine which muscles to work to help alleviate that pain or discomfort. This is pretty important because the pain can be as distant form the originating muscle as the length of an arm. As well as resulting in referred pain, myofascial trigger points may cause decreased range of movement or stiffness and can trigger autonomic symptoms ranging from sweating and lacrimation to dizziness or tinnitus proprioceptive disturbances. Trigger Point Massage Therapy involves applying ischaemtic pressure (pushing blood and fluids out of inflamed areas) for 10-15 seconds. This can be applied whenever you run across unexpectedly sensitive muscle areas as well as those you’re looking for.

Conditions suited to trigger point techniques include chronic or acute head, back and other body aches and pains and repetitive motion traumas including cramps, stiffness or immobility. Trigger point massage can also be applied to fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder of pain and tenderness in your joints and muscles. Though trigger point massage can help with this condition, because of the intense pain associated with fibromyalgia, it’s usually not an effective treatment on its own. Rather, depending on the person, a combination of trigger point massage and complementary myofascial therapy usually works best.

We Gave Away This Massage Chair!

Twitter Chair Massage Chair WinnerRemember that Apollo Professional Massage Chair we announced we were giving away to one lucky new Twitter follower slash ReTweeter? Well, it’s time to do the giving away and the Twitter Account we’ve just drawn out of our office hat belongs to Richmond, Virginia based Acupuncture + Oriental Medicine Practitioner Diane Lowry (aka @DianeLowry_LAc)! So give Diane a big round of congratulatory applause (seriously, our Apollo Portable Massage Chair is Awesome), be sure to follow Diane on Twitter (she is also awesome … we just checked) and don’t forget to Stay Tuned for Our Next Big Giveaway!

Trigger Point Massage Therapy 101

What Are Trigger Points? - Trigger Point Performance TherapyFour Things You Need to Know About Trigger Point Massage

  1. It’s used to treat painful muscular trigger points that cause referred pain.
  2. The session will probably be uncomfortable.
  3. The muscle took time to get in that condition, it’ll take more than one massage session to fix it.
  4. These points are often areas of chronic “holding” and you need to learn how to move in different ways to keep them from recurring.

Trigger points are tight areas within muscle tissues commonly known as muscle knots that cause pain in other parts of our bodies. A trigger point in the back, for example, may reduce referral pain in the neck. The neck, now acting as a satellite trigger point, may then cause pain in the head. The pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache. Trigger points are located in a taut band of muscles fibers. The trigger point is the tenderest point in the band. The therapist will locate and deactivate them using finger pressure. One technique is to pick up the muscle fibers in a pincer grip. But a trigger point is more than a tender nodule. It affects not only the muscle where the trigger point is located, but also results in “referred pain” in the tissues supplied by nerves. But you should know these aren’t the same points used in acupressure.

Trigger Point Therapy is a massage modality (related to acupressure and to a lesser extent shiatsu)  that’s designed to alleviate pain via the application of cycles of isolated pressure and release during which Manual pressure is applied to the points to relieve myofascial pain. During trigger point massage sessions, clients actively participate in the therapy through deep breathing as well as by their therapists identify the precise locations and varying intensities of their muscular discomfort. The benefits of trigger point therapy involve releasing constricted areas in the muscles thereby alleviating pain. Patients often experience a significant decrease in pain after only one treatment. Getting regular trigger point massages can be truly helpful when it comes to managing chronic injury pain.


The most obvious and instantaneous benefit of trigger point therapy is pain relief, but there are many more benefits that can be achieved over time with trigger point therapy, including increased range of motion, increased flexibility, improved circulation and reduced stiffness. But those benefits take time and several treatments because multiple treatments help teach muscles to move without causing pain.