DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.
Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain.
When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.
According to the August 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs.
Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.
Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet. Reflexology is generally relaxing and may be an effective way to alleviate stress.
The theory behind reflexology is that these areas correspond to organs and systems of the body. Proponents believe that pressure applied to these areas affects the organs and benefits the person’s health.
Reflexologists use foot charts to guide them as they apply pressure to specific areas. Sometimes these practitioners use items, such as rubber balls, rubber bands and sticks of wood, to assist in their work. Practitioners of reflexology include chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists, among others.
Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep. Studies also show that reflexology may have benefits in palliative care of people with cancer.
Reflexologists claim that reflexology also can treat a wide variety of medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and cancer. However, scientific evidence is lacking to support these claims.
Reflexology is generally considered safe, although very vigorous pressure may cause discomfort for some people.