History of Chair Massage

History of Chair Massage

Massages in chairs or in merely sitting positions have always had their place among most ancient and traditional massage techniques around the world but the contemporary Chair massage as we know it today and as we occasionally refer to as the On-Site or Seated massage is a trend that began as recently as 1982. The Chair massage was the brainchild of David Palmer, the director of the Amma Institute of Traditional Japanese Massage at that time who is considered to be the ‘father’ of Chair massage. At the time, Massage Therapy was not as highly valued in the health field as it is today. Table Massage was expensive and considered to be a ‘questionable’ profession.

Mr. Palmer’s entrepreneurial intuition and insightfulness led him to adopt a few existing old-time techniques and to renovate others to develop a modern massage technique which could be performed anywhere as it required only brief periods of time, no need for the removal of clothing and quite reasonably priced. Consequently, his Chair massages became convenient, affordable, and non-threatening.

The first clients to enjoy the newly developed Chair massages were the employees and customers of the Apple Computers outlets, where David Palmer and his graduates set up their makeshift workstations in 1984. That venture lasted only about twelve months and the demand at the time was not huge, but they did give up to 350 Chair massages each week, and it proved to be a step in the right direction and an excellent beginning. By 1986 a specially designed and structured chair to better accommodate Chair massages went into production and today, there are well over 100,000 such chairs in use within the United States as well as in many other nations around the world.

David Palmer realized that Chair massage will be truly successful only with further development of this particular niche, and he opened continuing education seminars for training graduates of other massage schools. During the twelve months of 1986, he taught 24 Chair massage seminars at 24 different locations in the United States as well as in Sweden and Norway. The concept of the Chair massage was embraced with open arms when presented to the American Massage Therapy Association, and as a consequence, by 1990, just about every massage school in the nation was teaching it.

The Chair massage is not officially categorized as a therapy or a treatment but rather as a minimal relaxation technique. Whether that was a deliberate marketing ploy and clever salesmanship or not, it worked to attract people who would otherwise shy away from other kinds of massage therapies and treatments. For the most part, those who took the first step and braved the process of the Chair massage would have become more open-minded about progressing and graduating into the “true” massage therapies.

Nowadays, chair massages are readily available in shopping malls, airport terminals, independent shops, franchises, hotel lounges, hospitals, gyms, spas, bus depots, train stations, supermarkets, community centers, eateries (particularly the new-age cafés), convention centers, beauty salons, barbershops, medical and dental offices, university campuses, corporate workplaces and even at street corners, public parks and city square throughout the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. The Chair massage is estimated to be the fastest-growing and most popular form of skilled touch, as professional massages are performed on the otherwise touch-deprived masses. It is David Palmer’s greatest dream to see young children performing shoulder rubs among family members and friends as part of their regular daily routine; and expressed in his own words, “When we reach that point I will know that we have arrived at our goal of a world where touch is recognized as essential to the development and maintenance of healthy human beings.”

History of Swedish Massage

History of Swedish Massage

THE SWEDISH MASSAGE

The Swedish Massage, which was conceived by Henri Peter Ling, a Swedish physiologist at the University of Stockholm, was publically introduced in 1812 as a means of improving blood circulation, of relieving muscle stress and pain, of increasing flexibility and of promoting total relaxation of the body and mind. The Swedish Massage was imported into the United States in the 1850s by Charles and George Taylor, two American brothers practicing medicine in New York who opened the first two Swedish clinics in the New World; the first in Boston, Massachusetts and the second in Washington, D. C.

GEORGE TAYLOR

GEORGE H. TAYLOR WAS BORN in Williston, Vermont, on January 4, 1821. Largely self-educated, before he was eighteen he began teaching in the common schools of Williston; and soon he was selected to be the town’s first Superintendent of Schools. Before he had turned twenty-one, though, George Taylor was suffering from various chronic, difficult-to-understand, and evidently impossible-to-treat health problems. So, he began researching the matter for himself. This led to studies at the Medical Department of Harvard and at the New York Medical College, where he graduated in 1852.
Dr. Taylor started his professional career at the New York City Water Cure, 184 12th Street, at the corner of University Place – a hydrotherapy institution. He established his own practice, in or soon after February, 1853; and a few years later, he was joined by his younger brother, Dr. Charles Fayette Taylor.
Early in his career, George H. Taylor encountered a curious belief among people in general, as well as among physicians, that women’s bodies were particularly susceptible to disease. He found no evidence to support this notion; and much of his work was devoted to promoting the health of women, particularly through exercise.
Taylor developed a system of exercise therapy, and later he learned of institutions in Stockholm that used similar methods. This is probably why his brother Charles, very soon after being awarded a degree in medicine in 1856, sailed to England to learn Per Henrik Ling’s system of Swedish movements from Dr. Mathias Roth, the author of the first English book about Swedish massage. In 1858, George traveled to Sweden to observe the Swedish movements firsthand. Once back in New York, he founded the Remedial Hygienic Institute.
Prescribed exercises and massage were at the heart of what became known as the Swedish movement cure. Dr. Taylor invented a mechanical massage device which he introduced in 1864. Later, his clinic at 67 West 38th Street became known as the Improved Movement Cure Institute. We know that, in addition to exercise and massage, it incorporated certain elements of hydrotherapy (water cure). Patients of the Institute were taught about the nature of their illnesses and about their treatment regimen, as well as about the importance of good nutrition.
Dr. Taylor, in addition to his mechanical massage device, invented various types of exercise equipment used to treat specific medical problems.

Since its inception in the early part of the 19th century, the Swedish Massage had become one of the most widely used massage techniques in the Western world and it is the basis for a number of other Western massage therapies which include the Sports Massage, the Deep Tissue Massage and the Aromatherapy. To attain its objectives, the Swedish Massage utilizes seven basic therapeutic movements:

• Effleurage. These are long gliding and soothing strokes which are aimed toward the heart while tracing the natural curves of the body. Massage oils are often used to facilitate smooth movement and to warm the muscles.

• Petrissage. These are movements which use strokes that lift, roll or knead soft body tissues. This process draws blood into the area and helps relax tense muscles and fascia as well as the rest of the body.

• Pinpoint Pressure. These movements are directed toward points that are knotted or hardened and painful to the touch. Pressure is directed to these points in order to break them down and release the muscle.

• Deep Friction. These are very small circular movements which press slightly below the surface of the skin and onto the muscle beneath it. These strokes relax muscles which contracted and tensed due to overuse or as a result of emotional stress at their deeper levels.

• Skin Rolling. This movement involves pinching a fold of skin and moving it forward in a rolling motion. This process lifts skin off its connective tissues to promote better blood circulation for the improvement of skin tone.

• Tapotement. This movement requires rhythmical tapping with cupped hands or with hands set in the karate-chop position. This practice awakens the body into vitality and the tingling sensation of energy and health.

• Finger Brushing. This movement is usually performed at the closing of the Swedish Massage treatment session as fingertips are lightly brushing against the surface of the skin to relax the stimulated muscles while calming the nervous system.

The most outstanding health benefits of the Swedish massage are in:

• Relaxing of tired, tense or overused muscles.
• Improving blood circulation without overburdening the heart.
• Increasing flexibility and widening the range of motion by stretching the body’s soft tissues: muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints and connective tissues.
• Stimulating the nervous system while simultaneously relaxing the nerve endings.

Purpose of Deep Tissue Massage

Purpose of Deep Tissue Massage

The deep tissue massage is a kind of massage therapy that centers its attention primarily on the ailing, the sore, the painful, and the distressed deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues.

The purpose of Deep Tissue Massage is particularly beneficial for chronically tight and constricted areas such as in cases of stiff necks, tightness of lower backs and aching shoulders. The strokes of the Deep Tissue massage are not very different from those of any other types of massage therapies, but they are slower and with more pressure applied to reach deeper while focusing on troubled areas.

The Deep Tissue massage is so important in certain painful contractions and spasms due to stress, strain or injury because that is the only way to get to the root of the problem as it is embedded deep under the surface where adhesions which are the causes of the pain and rigidity in muscles, tendons, and ligaments are located. Adhesions obstruct circulation in the affected areas to limit the blood flow, which leads to the pain, the restricted movement, and, ultimately, to the inflammation. By applying firm pressure and direct friction across the grain and fabric of the muscles, the Deep Tissue massage aims to break down those troublesome adhesions to restore proper blood circulation, reinstate full movement and heal the inflamed tissues. The therapists performing the Deep Tissue massage may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the therapy session and alternate them during the various stages. Clients are frequently asked to take deep breaths as the therapists dig deeply into a particularly tense area.

Because the Deep Tissue massage is somewhat intense, it should not be applied under the following conditions:

Infectious skin disease, rashes, bruises, inflamed skin, tumors, or open and unhealed wounds.
Immediately, or soon after, surgery or recent fractures.
Immediately. or soon after, chemotherapy or radiation treatments, unless approved by the client’s physician.
Osteoporosis patients, unless approved by the treating doctor.
Clients prone to blood clots.
Heart disease patients, unless recommended by their cardiologists.
Pregnant women should get their massage treatments from professionals who are certified in pregnancy massage.
Abdominal hernia.

The good news is that Deep Tissue massage really works, and it usually works very fast. Often, clients will walk into a session with excruciating pain and walk out a couple of hours later with smiles of relief on their faces. The bad news is that, depending on their tolerance level to pain, most clients experience it to one degree or another at a certain point during the session. Also, there is usually some measure of soreness immediately after the treatment, which can last up to an entire day. However, the pain of the Deep Tissue massage therapy and the lingering soreness afterward is nothing compared to the pain before the treatment, and it comes with the knowledge that it will all be over very shortly. The massage therapist may suggest applying an icepack to the sore area, but it is rarely severe enough to warrant it.

When most massage therapies are aimed at relaxation of the body and mind and the massage is generally applied to the entire body, the Deep Tissue massage sets its sights on precise problematic areas such as those afflicted with:

Chronic or acute pains
Diminished mobility or limited range of motion.
Healing areas after traumas or injuries caused by falls, sports injuries, whiplashes from car accidents, and so on.
Strains from repetitive motion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Pains due to incorrect posturing of the body.
Pains from osteoarthritis. According to a study conducted and reported by the Consumer Reports magazine, over 34,000 people classified Deep Tissue massage therapy as being more effective in alleviating osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescribed, or over-the-counter drugs, glucosamine, diets, acupuncture or chiropractic treatments.
Fibromyalgia. Statistics have shown that Deep Tissue massage is more successful in easing symptoms of Fibromyalgia than any other available curative remedy.
Muscle tension, contractions, or spasms.

To flush out metabolic waste from the massaged tissues, clients should drink plenty of water after the Deep Tissue massage.

THE HOT STONE MASSAGE

THE HOT STONE MASSAGE

Hot Stone Massage is a therapeutic massage technique in which the massage therapist holds a heated stone and applies various massage strokes.

Because they tend to absorb heat and retain it for extended periods, the stones which are used are smooth, basalt rocks of various sizes and shapes. These stones then are heated in water to 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Native Americans are also known to have used hot stones for medicinal purposes, but those are heated by direct fire. This technique of fire-heated stones was restored by Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona, and she trademarked it as LaStone Therapy.

Primarily due to the effects of the heat from the stones, the Hot Stone massage is profoundly calming and delightfully relaxing as it rapidly releases the tension out of every soft tissue, be it muscle, tendon or ligament, which is included in this treatment while gentle and comforting peace washes over the client almost immediately. The hot stones are used throughout the entire session to massage, to stroke, to press, to manipulate, and to knead the client’s soft tissues. On occasion, heated stones are laid out at strategic spots along the spine, as well as in the palms of the client’s hands, and between the toes. This maneuver promotes the optimal flow of energy throughout the entire body. As soon as the stones cool down, the massage therapist will replace them with newly heated ones, but areas that are inflamed, injured or swollen, will often be treated with cold stones instead of the hot ones.

For clients to get the most out of the Hot Stone Massage Therapy, clients are encouraged to:

· Indicate any discomfort such as those which might be created by stones which are too hot, by the massage therapist applying pressure with too much force, by the background music which may be too loud, by the room temperature which could be too hot or too cold and so on.

Refrain from consuming a heavy meal, and abstain from ingesting any amount of alcohol shortly before the session.

Arrive in plenty of time to check-in and to relax before the treatment.

Take a sauna, a steam bath, or a hot tub before the session as it will relax and soften the muscles for better results from the entire treatment. If the hot tub was treated with chlorine, the clients are asked to take hot showers to rinse off the chemical.

Remove all their clothing and be assured that they will remain completely covered with a towel. This will give the massage therapist better access and direct contact with the skin.

Take slow, deep breaths throughout the session as it helps to relax the body and release more toxins.

To banish irrelevant thoughts from racing through their heads by concentrating on the feel of the therapist’s movements over their bare skins.

Get off the massage table after the session very slowly as dizziness may set in otherwise.

Absorb the full results of the massage treatment by allowing some quiet time in a peaceful place.

Drink extra water after the massage to flush out and wash away the toxins released during the treatment.

The Hot Stone massage is beneficial in many ways as it promotes deep muscle and soft tissue relaxation, eases stress, releases toxins, alleviates pain, improves circulation, and calms the mind. Quite appropriately, therefore, there is an impressive list of ailments which are treated with Hot Stone massages, and they are:

Muscle aches and pains due to overuse, injury, or stress.
Back pain caused by injury, poor posture, or misuse.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Arthritis.
Fibromyalgia.
Stress, anxiety, nervousness and depression.
Insomnia.
Any number of circulatory problems.

The Hot Stone massage requires specialized training. It involves more preparation time for disinfecting and heating the stones, the session is often somewhat longer than usual, and more time is spent cleaning up.

As a consequence, the Hot Stone massage tends to be more costly than any other conventional and essential Swedish massage. But it is worth it, and you are worthy of it!

Purpose of Deep Tissue Massage

Clinical Massage

Occasionally referred to as an orthopedic massage, Clinical massage is an entire array of manipulation techniques designed to assess and then to minister to soft tissue injuries, and these may include but are not limited to:


massage therapy
trigger point therapy
myofascial release
muscle-energy techniques
craniosacral therapy
deep tissue massage

Clinical massage therapy is usually based on a physician’s prescription and directives as a series of treatment sessions to be performed over a set period and at a specified frequency as related only to a specific need. In that regard, this therapy is most often performed with a particular and purposeful outcome in mind. First and foremost, objectives are to relieve pain, to increase the range of motion, and to help repair and restore soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments to their normal and healthy functions. The first of the doctor-prescribed set of sessions is predominantly devoted to assessment or diagnostics of the client’s exact condition, and with all the data collected an action plan can be formulated:
By using various levels of palpation or touching of the ailing body part, the massage therapist will pinpoint the exact location as well as determine the levels of pain.
The range of motion and the strength of the muscles are tested through a sequence of movements such as a passive movement which involves the massage therapist moving the relevant muscle groups while the client is inert; and active movements which consist of the client’s own motion of the muscles in questions; and the resisted movement, which involves the clients’ actions against a resisting force.
If clinical data related to previous soft tissue injuries and massage therapy is available, it will be reviewed for comparison to the current situation, and the phase of healing will be determined. The findings are carefully reviewed along with the doctor’s orders, and customized Clinical massage therapy is drawn up.

DYSFUNCTIONS RESPONDING TO CLINICAL MASSAGE

Myofascial Pain
Pain and physiological dysfunctions are known to begin at specific points within muscles and their connective tissues, which is also known as fascia. These are appropriately referred to as trigger points because they tend to set off or trigger reactions at remote locations.

Scientists and researchers have successful recorded comprehensive map systems of myofascial trigger points, and they have been able to identify dozens of dysfunctions relating to them. The most common of these are:

carpal tunnel syndrome
TMJ dysfunction
PMS
headache
diarrhea
dizziness
indigestion
tennis elbow
urinary frequency
sinusitis

Fascial Plane Dysfunction.
Fascia covers nearly the entire body in large endlessly connected sheets, which can be distorted and bound to themselves and nearby tissues when inflicted with injury, misalignment, or a chemical imbalance. To promote optimal health, the fascial sheets and the blood vessels and nerves which follow them must be in good condition.

Neuromuscular Dysfunction.
The simplest and tiniest movements of the body require armies of nerve impulses to be sent to the muscle, which is directly involved, as well as to the adjoining and opposing muscles. And it must all be accomplished with a precision of timing and proportions. When the mechanics of any part of these functions break down, muscle fibers or entire muscles lock.

Tonus System Dysfunction.
Overused muscles become hypertonic or lose their ability to relax. Consequently, they tighten and cause stress on opposing muscles and on the joints they cross.

Dermatomal Dysfunction.
When nerves are pinched anywhere along their path, the pain will be delivered to the area they serve.

Spondylogenic Dysfunction.
When joints of the spine are impaired or compressed, the pain will occur in that specific area.

Stated more simply, people suffering from:

muscle or joint pains
tightness, muscle fatigue or tension
shooting or spreading pain
allergies or asthma
anxiety or depression
irregularity of the digestive system
arthritis or circulatory problems
sleep disorders
headaches
immune function disorders
stress

can be helped as their symptoms can be relieved through Clinical Massage.

Common Injuries Suffered by Massage Therapists

Common Injuries Suffered by Massage Therapists

This is Part One of the Common Injuries Suffered by Massage Therapists!

Massage Therapy unquestionably incorporates whole-body strength and movement, but the hands and wrists are perhaps the stars of the show. So preventing injury is crucial to career longevity—your ability to do your job effectively for as long as you choose.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

CTS has become a catch-all term that is too often applied to any pain syndrome anywhere in the wrist area. Many other injuries can cause symptoms at the wrist.

CTS, however, has quite a specific definition: it is impingement of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel.

When there is ongoing pressure on the median nerve within the rigid, fixed space of the carpal tunnel, located between the carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament of the wrist. This pressure, which can have several causes, cuts down on the volume of nerve impulses
traveling through the nerve to and from the hand. Mechanical stress on the nerve can damage the nerve tissue and can be a result of keeping the wrist in flexion for a sustained time or placing the wrist against an object like a desk for sustained periods.

Symptoms of CTS:
Pain felt in the palmar aspect of the wrist radiating into the hand, particularly the palm, the thumb, index finger, third finger, and adjoining half of the ring finger paresthesias can be experienced along the same nerve path.

CTS tends to come on slowly and can be triggered by a sudden increase in workload or decrease in the time allowed between massages.

Treatment:
physiotherapy
splints
anti-inflammatory medication
surgery

Saddle Joint Injury

The thumb’s basal, or CMC, the joint is saddle-shaped, formed by the trapezium in the wrist and the metacarpal in the thumb.

This distinctive shape enables the thumb to rotate up, down and across the palm, and to pinch.

Saddle joint injury can present with throbbing pain or a dull ache.

Treatment:
Rest.
Anti-inflammatory medications, both topically and orally.
Splinting may also be recommended.

These injuries are most often caused by overuse. Thus, prevention is a crucial factor in career longevity.

Prevention
Proper alignment of the wrists (120 degrees)
Hands and thumbs. When possible, use forearms, and elbows
Table Height (this is why I LOVE my Hydraulic/ Electric Table)!
Engage core
Warm-up before sessions
Rest between sessions
Stretch and strengthen throughout the day
Self-care (get a Massage, see a Chiropractor, Physiotherapy, Yoga).

What are your best recovery, or prevention, strategies?
Let us know in the comment section below!

Have an Awesome Day!
Shaunna

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