Massage therapy, remedial massage therapy, therapeutic massage and bodywork and somatic therapies are defined as the application of various touch techniques to the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons, skin fascia) of the body. The Massage Therapist can apply a range of techniques using their hands, forearms, elbows, arms, knees of feet
Before any massage begins a thorough client consultations and assessment are needed to ascertain the client’s current health status. Once this is done and the client is assessed as being acceptable for massage, the therapist can then apply a wide variety of movements such as petrissage, effleurage, percussion, kneading, vibration and friction in a flowing and rhythmical way.
It is important for the massage therapist to understand that each client needs to be treated individually; therefore particular massage techniques need to be selected and applied in a way that suits that particular client.
Definitions of different levels of massage therapy are:
Massage: The application of soft tissue massage techniques to the body, generally to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation. There are many variations of massage, accounting for the development of several different techniques.
Body therapy/bodywork or Remedial massage: Various forms of touch therapies that may use soft tissue manipulation, movement, and/or repatterning to effect structural changes to the body. This is used to counter many minor physiological disorders, such as:
• poor circulation
• muscle cramps
• sore, stiff or swollen joints
• sprains or strains
• loss of muscle tone
• frozen shoulder
• wry neck (torticollis)
Somatic: Meaning “of the body.” Many times this term is used to denote a body/mind/spiritual or whole-body approach, as distinguished from a physiology-only or environmental perspective.
There are many, many forms of massage, body therapy, bodywork and somatic therapies and many practitioners utilize multiple techniques.
The application of these techniques may include, but is not limited to the following, with the intent to affect the muscular structure or other soft tissues of the human body:
• friction and pressure
This may also include non-forceful passive or active movement and/or application of techniques intended to affect the energetic systems of the body.