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Dr Katie Willy - Osteopath

There’s massage, and then there’s massage. 

What is the difference between all the types of massage and the therapies that provide this type of treatment.  It is certainly a topic of confusion for consumers trying to find the most suitable type of massage for their particular need.
deep tissue massage
Trigger point massage

Trigger points are small tight bands within a muscle length that often refer pain to adjacent regions or down limbs.  These tight bands are quite predictable in their location from person-to-person.  Think of them as the lumps you feel in a muscle.  Trigger point massage is often the key to relaxing a big muscle without treating the entire structure.  The massage technique used tends to be direct pressure or squeezing massage on the particular point, where the practitioner finds the trigger point will somewhat “melt” away under their fingers.  Trigger points cause very painful symptoms, but fortunately respond very well to massage.

Acupressure massage

This type of massage is similar to trigger point massage in its application.  However, the points that are chose are selected from the Acupuncture meridians that help to promote energy movement, blood circulation and tension release.  Acupressure massage belongs to the art of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Lymphatic drainage massage

The lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and tissue such as tonsils, spleen, and thymus. The lymphatic system is our defence mechanism against infection and disease and aids in removing excess water from between the tissues. Whilst our circulatory system has the heart as a pump, the lymphatic system has no such mechanism and so this part of the body relies on gravity, body motion and natural flow to circulate within the body.
There are several methods to lymphatic drainage massage ultimately promoting and encouraging the flow of lymph towards the heart with rhythmical controlled strokes. This technique helps to remove inflammatory toxins, and also improves the efficiency of the immune system.

Deep tissue massage

As the name describes , deep tissue massage is a firmer technique to get into the belly of the muscle.  This is often used in sports therapy.  It is not relaxing in nature, however deep tissue massage has great benefits when resolving painful complaints or chronic tightness in the body.  Deep slow strokes using the hands, palms, fingers and elbow can cause some tenderness and soreness the day following a deep tissue massage.

Myofascial release massage

“Myo” meaning muscle, and “fascial” meaning the connective tissue layer that divides the highly organized muscular compartments of the body.
With that out of the way, what is myofascial massage?  It is a method of direct pressure along with pushing and pulling the myofascia into different positions to intiate their release.  This therapy is used to treat trauma, motion restriction, inflamed tissues, and that general feeling many people get of stiffness or chronic tension in their muscles.  It is often useful when treating back pain, fibromyalgia, jaw pain, restricted motion, spasm and much more.

Osteopathic massage

This where an Osteopath is unique in their massage application.  Osteopaths use a combination of many different types of massage to tailor to the needs of the client and their particular condition.  This enables us to treat a wide variety of problems in both a gentle or firm manner, with direct pressure or more of a releasing & stretching type of technique.  So whether you think you need deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy or more of a myofascial releasing massage, Osteopaths will be able to cater to your therapeutic requirements.

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