Modalities: Types of Massage

Swedish / Relaxation

Swedish massage was first developed in the 1820s by a Swedish physician, Dr. Per Henrik Ling, based on physiology, gymnastics, and techniques from China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  Modern Swedish massage includes gliding strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, and shaking motions. 

Massaging the skin, the body's largest organ, sets up a chain reaction improving all the body's systems. This increases circulation, supports immunity, and melts away tension -- which promotes more restful sleep, increased energy, and improved flexibility. 

Swedish or relaxation massage is the ideal therapy to relieve daily stress, tight muscles and minor aches and pains.
And it just feels great! 

Medical Massage

Medical or clinical massage therapy is specifically directed at treating and resolving conditions that have been diagnosed by a physician or specialist.  

Treatment usually requires a prescription or formal referral for insurance coverage, and may involve pre- and post-treatment notes on symptoms and functioning. 

The therapist may use a variety of modalities or procedures during the treatment, but will focus that treatment only on the areas of the body related to the diagnosis and prescription. 

Medical massage therapy services are generally billed in 15-minute segments using current procedural terminology in order to facilitate insurance payment or reimbursement.

Injury Treatment

Injury treatment work is not a particular type of massage, but rather a way of organizing a session or series of sessions aimed at healing an acute or chronic injury. Treatment will often involve diagnostic tests and sessions that are more focused on the area being treated.

Research supports massage therapy as beneficial for recovery and regaining function after an accident or injury.

A treatment session will usually combine elements of Swedish, deep tissue, and neuromuscular techniques, and may include the use of heat or ice packs, as well as passive and active stretching. Sessions can include pre- and post-assessment and treatment notes on symptoms and functioning, as well as recommended home exercises. 

Pre-natal and Post-partum Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy places strong demands on a woman's body and is a time to be nurtured and pampered.  During each stage of pregnancy, moms-to-be experience unique discomfort due to physical changes, weight gain, and the resulting shift in the body's center of gravity.

In pre-natal massage, supportive positioning and specific techniques are applied to benefit mother and baby and to maintain absolute safety and comfort. 

Regular massage during pregnancy helps maintain skin elasticity to relieve tightness and reduce stretch marks. Massage also reduces swelling, eases tension and stress, and helps improve sleep and overall health. 

Massage has also been shown in some research to reduce the need for pain relievers during labor and delivery. 

After the baby is born, massage therapy helps the body to recover and more quickly return to its pre-pregnancy state. 

Myofascial Release

All muscles, arteries, bones, organs, etc. are held together by a plastic-wrap kind of tissue called fascia. Because the fascia is body-wide, a tension or trauma in one part of the body can affect another part. 

Developed in the late 1960's by John Barnes, Myofascial Release works by the manipulating the fascia that connects and surrounds muscles. This form of bodywork is manipulative in nature and seeks to re-balance the body by releasing tension in the fascia. 

Long, stretching strokes are utilized to release muscular tension.  During a treatment session, the fascia responds to trained touch to release the adverse effects of inflammation, tensions and trauma.   

Myofascial release can be particularly helpful in recovering after surgery.  Surgery in one site can affect the whole body through the fascia. This treatment can support your entire body's recovery, as well as reduce scar tissue formation.

Deep Tissue

Deep Tissue Massage is designed to reach the deep portions of thick muscles, specifically the individual muscle fibers. 

Using deep muscle compression and friction along the grain of the muscle, massage helps "un-stick" the fibers of the muscles and release both toxins and deeply held patterns of tension. 

Deep Tissue Massage releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia.  


Please note that deep tissue massage is not appropriate for some medical illnesses or conditions, so be sure to share your medical history and current health status before your session. 

Specialized Treatments

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphatic massage, or Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), is a technique to treat edema or swelling of tissues related to illness, injury or cancer treatment.  It helps reduce fluid buildup, remove toxins, and strengthen the immune system. The beauty of this technique is that it uses a lighter touch and is slow, rhythmic, and gentle, so relaxation is assured.  

Your body's lymphatic system is responsible for carrying away toxins and bacteria and bringing in white blood cells that act as our immune system. Consisting of lymph nodes and channels, it acts as a sanitation system, filtering and transporting the dirty cells to the kidneys and liver for elimination. 

It takes approximately 24 hours for the body to process about three quarts of lymphatic fluid. The only other means of circulating the fluid is through body movement or muscle contractions. MLD massage treatment supports this process.

Lymphatic Massage and Cancer

Karim has worked with several clients before, during,
and after their cancer treatment and recovery.  
(References are available upon request.) 

Many people have lymph nodes removed as part of their cancer treatment. Where lymph nodes are removed, the flow of fluid is hindered, and this results in swelling or edema. 

Lymphedema is the chronic swelling of tissues due to blockages and lack of flow within the lymphatic system. With lymphatic massage (MLD), the lymphatic system can be enhanced by manually assisting the flow, pushing the toxins and waste products through the body for elimination. 

In addition to cancer, MLD can be helpful with fibromyalgia, post-surgical rehabilitation, recovery after liposuction or cosmetic surgeries, and reducting the appearance of varicose and spider veins, rosacea, acne, and wrinkles. 

Acupressure and Energy Work

Dating back 5000 years, acupressure is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is often described as "acupuncture without the needles."   People who hesitate to get massage can feel more comfortable with this "clothes on" treatment. 

Acupressure uses deep finger pressure applied at certain points located along an invisible system of energy channels within the body called meridians. 

Because these points directly relate to organs and glands of the body, constrictions in the flow of energy at these points causes disease and discomfort. Acupressure stimulates these points to remove blockages, to increase the energy flow, to reduce stress, and to promote health and harmony in the body. 

Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure®

Jin Shin Do® combines gentle yet deep finger pressure on specific points with simple body focusing techniques, to help release physical and emotional tension.  This promotes a pleasurable trance state, helping you get in touch with the body and access feelings or emotions related to physical condition. 

Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure® was developed by psychotherapist Iona Marsaa Teeguarden, based on a unique synthesis of traditional Japanese technique, classic Chinese theory, Taoist yogic philosophy, breathing methods and Reichian segmental theory.  It is recognized as a major form of Asian Bodywork Therapy (by AOBTA®, NCCAOM®, NCBTMB, and the U.S. Department of Education, among others).