Category Archives: Life Symmetry

Life Symmetry Chiropractic Guide to Massage Styles & Benefits

ChiroDid you know that there are over 80 styles of massage in the world today, and that the art of massage has been practiced for thousands of years? Modern techniques can be traced back to the development of the Swedish massage in the 1700s, which was the first method that was based on a person’s physiology. The benefits of massage therapy have been recorded for a very long time and proven over and over again. What are the most popular methods and what are their benefits? Read on to find out! You can also find out more information by visiting processional chiropractor in Colorado Springs

Hot Stone Massage

You’re probably familiar with this from pictures in spa ads, where someone is lying face-down with river stones lined up along their back. This is a real, and effective, means of relaxing the muscles with a combination of heat and pressure, and it’s a technique that’s been used as far back as 1500 B.C.E., when First Nations and ancient Europeans made use of it. The basic idea is that the heat helps loosen the muscles enough that pressure can get to the deeper ones.



Warming the body’s tendons, muscles, and ligaments can promote relaxation, as well as having a positive impact on pain reduction and stress. Hot stone massage can be used to treat fibromyalgia – a chronic pain condition – as well as several other muscle pain, both chronic and not, and it can help make your joints more flexible. This is great for arthritis sufferers.



Another benefit of hot stones is that the heat increases blood flow by expanding the blood vessels. This helps wake up the immune and digestive systems.

The key to this sort of treatment is that the stones absolutely must be hot – but not to the point of burning the patient. Remember that if you’re uncomfortable, if something’s hurting, you can and should speak up!

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage, meaning, literally, “finger pressure”, that developed in the 1860s. Practitioners of traditional massage had to come up with new practices for their therapies as their ways were coming under fire from critics. As the twentieth century dawned, shiatsu was further distinguished from the rest of Japan’s massage methods by combining them with Western anatomical knowledge, acupressure, specialized breathing, and Buddhist philosophy.

Japanese acupressure – including Shiatsu – is based a concept called ki, which is life energy, and shares similarities with the Chinese chi. There are pathways in the body that ki follows, and disease sets in when those flows are obstructed or disrupted. The causes of these disruptions can vary from the environment around the person to emotions, trauma, and even stress. Shiatsu’s goal is to return the flow of the body’s ki to normal by applying pressure to those paths and various acupoints of the body.

It’s important to note that a French experiment confirmed that these energy pathways, meridians, may actually follow nerve transmission lines. Neat stuff.

Shiatsu therapy doesn’t require disrobing, for the most part, and the practitioner applies pressure using their fingers, thumbs, elbows, knuckles, palms … even their knees! It’s not unheard of for some to use their feet! Pressure lasts for up to ten seconds at a time, and includes stretching.

This method of massage is generally considered to be beneficial for anyone suffering from a chronic pain condition, musculoskeletal problems, and stress.

Swedish Massage

Developed, naturally, in Sweden, Swedish massage works to relax the body by using differing hand techniques like gliding, cross-fiber friction, and kneading to eliminate muscle knots. It’s based more on Western ideas of physiology and anatomy instead of being energy work, and it’s not always gentle. If you’re not in an English-speaking country, or you’re in Sweden, this form of massage is called “classic massage”.

In Swedish massage, there are several common ‘moves’ that the practitioner will use for different purposes: a gliding stroke that relaxes soft tissue, followed by kneading; deep, circular motions are employed that make tissue layers rub against each other, which helps improve blood flow; finally, short taps with the edge of the hand, fingers, or cupped hands are also used.

The benefits of Swedish massage are quite similar to other forms: it reduces stress, loosens the muscles, and helps promote relaxation. It’s also a wonderful way to help with chronic pain conditions, joint stiffness, and even arthritis. This form of massage is often used to aid the healing of an injury.

Deep Tissue Massage

Commonly used on problem areas, such as chronic tension spots, deep tissue massage is more a thorough working of the muscle layers. This form of massage is often slower than others, requiring the practitioner to work at a different pace than what you may be used to: the therapist assesses your problem area(s) as they work, which helps them decide how to tackle them on the fly.

A deep tissue massage loosens stiff muscles with prolonged pressure. This stiffness is caused by several factors that create pockets of scar tissue and shortened muscle fibres. To make things even worse, those muscle fibres cause reduced blood flow to the affected area and the waste produced doesn’t get removed, so these tissues harden up and form adhesions. By working on these areas, the therapist helps those tissues separate and encourages circulation to return, which relieves those issues.

As for the benefits of deep tissue massage, there are many, mainly centering on pain relief and getting rid of scar tissue. It also improves flexibility and helps patients recover from injuries and surgeries.

Get Help!

If you’re experiencing chronic pain, muscle stiffness, stress, or just want to see what the fuss is all about, give us a call and book an examination today. We can help you find the right massage method for your unique needs.

Massage is, overall, highly beneficial for everyone, no matter your age or activity level. It’s been proven to reduce stress, eliminate tension, and help those with chronic pain issues get some relief. Give a massage a try today. You’ve earned it, and you’ve earned the break!

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