Manual Therapy

Within the physical therapy profession, manual therapy is defined as a clinical approach utilizing specific hands-on techniques, including but not limited to manipulation/mobilization, used by the physical therapist to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joint structures for the purpose of modulating pain.

Massage Therapy

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). 

Deep tissue massage is a focused, therapeutic massage that targets muscle knots (also known as "adhesions") and specific problem areas in the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Using deliberate, slow strokes or friction across the grain of the muscle, the therapist addresses chronic tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or injuries. 

This type of massage is particularly beneficial for people with chronic pain or lingering injuries that cause limited mobility. It's effective in treating repetitive stress injuries such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome and can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Learn more about deep tissue massage. 

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension. 

A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin-a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds and the flu. 

Prenatal Massage

Massage therapy during pregnancy is a wonderful complementary choice for prenatal care. It is a healthy way to reduce stress, promote overall wellness and is customized to an expectant mothers needs. Massage relieves many of the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches and edema (or swelling). Prenatal massage is a relatively safe, drug-free way to provide relief.  

In addition, massage for pregnant women reduces stress on weight-bearing joints, encourages blood and lymph circulation, helps to relax nervous tension -- which aids in better sleep -- and can help relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes. 

Massage therapists who have received specialized training and are certified in prenatal massage know how to position and support the woman's body during the massage, modify techniques, and avoid certain areas and techniques during pregnancy. Most will have a special table that allows the woman to rest comfortably and safely during the massage. 

Relief of Everyday Symptoms

Massage for pregnant women offers a number of benefits, and it's always a good idea to discuss with your therapist any everyday symptoms you'd like to see relieved. Those might include:

  • Headaches can be relieved by massage focusing on the head, neck and shoulders. In addition, maintaining optimal levels of stress relief through massage reduces the chances of migraines or tension headaches by relaxing trigger points and muscle spasms.
  • Muscle tension created by carrying the extra weight of a baby can be relieved by encouraging blood flow to the afflicted areas. This provides more nutrient-rich oxygen and also increases the flow of lymphatic fluid, which sweeps away toxins and metabolic waste.
  • Fatigue, backaches, leg cramps and swelling/edema can all be relieved through various types of massage for pregnant women.
  • The ordinary aches and pains of pregnancy are countered by the release of serotonin, your body's natural anti-pain chemical, which is stimulated by massage. 

Massage for Auto Accident Injuries

If you have been in an automobile accident, your doctor may prescribe massage as part of your treatment plan. Massage can address the stress that goes with a traumatic event like a car accident, and it can help address many of the sprains, strains, and other injuries common in a motor vehicle accident (or MVA, an acronym you may encounter on insurance and other forms). 

Common Injuries

The most common injuries due to auto accidents that I see in my practice are:

  • whiplash
  • low-back pain
  • myofascial pain
  • headaches
  • shoulder sprain/strain
  • cervical sprain/strain
  • thoracic sprain/strain
  • lumbar sprain/strain 

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Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release (MFR) therapy focuses on releasing muscular shortness and tightness. There are a number of conditions and symptoms that myofascial release therapy addresses. 

Many patients seek myofascial treatment after losing flexibility or function following an injury or if experiencing ongoing back, shoulder, hip, or virtually pain in any area containing soft tissue. 

Other conditions treated by myofascial release therapy include Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome, or possibly fibromyalgia or migraine headaches. Patient symptoms usually include:

  • Tightness of the tissues that restricts motion or pulls the body out of alignment, causing individuals to favor and overuse one hip or shoulder, for example
  • A sense of excessive pressure on muscles or joints that produces pain
  • Pain in any part or parts of the body, including headache or back pain. 

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point massage therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. In this type of massage for trigger point therapy, the recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identifying the exact location and intensity of the discomfort. 

The results and benefits of trigger point massage are releasing constricted areas in the muscles thus alleviating pain. You can experience a significant decrease in pain after just one treatment. Receiving massage with trigger point therapy on a regular basis can help naturally manage pain and stress from chronic injuries. 

Cranial Sacral Therapy

Cranial sacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive form of bodywork that addresses the bones of the head, spinal column and sacrum. The goal is to release compression in those areas which alleviates stress and pain. 

Cranial sacral therapy seeks to restore the natural position of the bones and can decrease stress from chronic injuries as well as provide relief from migraine headaches, neck and back pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (the inflammation of the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull) and more. 

According to the National Headache Foundation, approximately 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Often, migraines are triggered or exacerbated by stress and poor sleep. In a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that participants who received bodywork like Cranial Sacral Therapy had better quality sleep and fewer migraines than participants who didn't. Effects even lasted up to three weeks after therapy ended.

Neuromuscualr Massage Therapy

Neuromuscular therapy is also called trigger point myotherapy. The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury (such as a muscle strain).

Neuromuscular therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. The massage therapy pressure is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbow. Once applied to a muscle spasm, the pressure should not vary for ten to thirty seconds.

Lymphatic Massage Therapy

Lymphatic massage, also called lymphatic drainage or manual lymph drainage, is a technique developed in Germany for treatment of lymphedema, an accumulation of fluid that can occur after lymph nodes are removed during surgery, most often a mastectomy for breast cancer. Lymphedema can also be present at birth or develop at puberty or during adulthood. This type, known as primary lymphedema, can affect as many as four limbs and/or other parts of the body. The cause is unknown. Lymphatic drainage massage for conditions other than lymphedema is not medically recommended, although it may be promoted by some therapists. 

Sports Massage

Designed to prevent and treat injuries, improve flexibility, and enhance athletic performance, sports massage can be used by athletes of all abilities to prepare for or recover from athletic or sports events. Even if you aren't an athlete, sports massage may help muscle pain or restricted range of motion.

The idea behind sports massage is to manipulate the body's soft tissues, and focus on certain muscle groups depending on which sport the athlete plays. This type of massage can help with increased blood flow, increased range of motion, and increased flexibility.

In sports massage, the strokes are generally faster than a typical Swedish massage. The therapist may also include compression, pressure point therapy, friction, and joint mobilization.

Sports massage therapy is geared toward athletes of every kind, from world-class professionals to weekend joggers. The particulars of the sports massage technique are specific to the athlete's sport of choice. Focusing on areas of the body that are overused and stressed from repetitive and often aggressive movements.

Aspects of sports massage therapy are gaining popularity as useful components in a balanced training regimen. Sports massage therapy can be used as a means to enhance pre-event preparation and reduce recovery time for maximum performance during training or after an event. Athletes have discovered that specially designed sports massage promotes flexibility, reduces fatigue, improves endurance, helps prevent injuries and prepares their body and mind for optimal performance.

One of the key benefits of Sports massage therapy compared to other modalities is its ability to target muscle-tendon junctions. A 2010 study in the journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that even a 30-second massage improved hip-flexor range of motion. Another study conducted by Margaret Jones, Ph.D. of the American College of Sports Medicine, demonstrated a notable trend toward decreased muscle soreness in the athletes who received massage either before or after exercise.

For anyone participating in regular physical activity, Sports massage therapy every week or two may be a great addition to your normal regimen. It's best to talk with one of our professional massage therapists to find a plan that will work best with your schedule, level of activity and budget.

Trager Technique 

Utilizing gentle, non-intrusive, natural movements, The Trager Approach helps release deep-seated physical and mental patterns and facilitates deep relaxation, increased physical mobility, and mental clarity. These patterns may have developed in response to accidents, illnesses, or any kind of physical or emotional trauma, including the stress of everyday life. 

A session usually lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. No oils or lotions are used and the client is dressed for their comfort, with a minimum of swimwear or briefs, and are additionally draped appropriately. 

During the table work session the client is passive and lying on a comfortably padded table. The practitioner moves the client in ways they naturally move, and with a quality of touch and movement such that the recipient experiences the feeling of moving that effortlessly and freely on his/her own. 

The movements are never forced so that there is no induced pain or discomfort to the client. 

This quality of effortless movement is maintained and reinforced by Mentastics. These are simple, active, self induced movements which you, the client, can do on your own, during your daily activities. They have the same intent as the table work in terms of releasing deep-seated patterns. 

For many people, Mentastics becomes a part of their life in taking care of themselves, and relieving themselves of stress and tension. 

Because many of the effects of The Trager Approach are cumulative, clients most often appreciate and will benefit most from a series of sessions.  

One of the most potent aspects of The Trager Approach is the ability to recall the feeling of deep relaxation, and how it feels to move freely and easily. 

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