Massage Terms

A combination of massage, yoga, and acrobatics developed by Benjamin Marantz. The client is placed in an inverted pose atop the acrosager's feet, with the head hanging freely. With no pressure on the neck or spine, the client's upper body can be easily massaged.

An acupressurist stimulates same points used in acupuncture with finger pressure, rather than inserting fine needles. Using the power and sensitivity of the hand, acupressure is effective in the relief of stress-related ailments, in self-treatment, and in preventive health care.

Two or more fine needles are inserted through the skin and left in position briefly, sometimes with manual or electrical stimulation. This modifies the way pain signals are received by stimulating the nerves in skin and muscle, increasing the body's release of natural painkillers - endorphin and serotonin - in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and the brain.

Alexander Technique
A method that works to improve ease and freedom of movement, coordination, support and balance. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities.

Focuses on the application and inhalation of essential oils (distilled essences of plants obtained primarily through steam). These are combined with carrier oils (cold-pressed from fruit, nut or seed sources) before being applied to the skin.

Asian Bodywork
Monitoring the flow of the vital life energy (known as chi, ki, prana) is at the heart of Asian bodywork. Using physical pressure and manipulation, the healer evaluates and modulates this energy flow to attain a state of balance. Popular modalities include shiatsu, amma, Jin Shin Do, Thai massage, and tui na.

Balinese Massage
Positioned above the client, the Balinese massage therapist performs a combination of kneading strokes, skin rolling, and foot massage. Treatment is followed by an application of coconut oil infused with spices.

The therapist works over the body and locates areas of blocked or depleted energy, by applying her hands to the client’s body, and then corrects the imbalance.

Body Rolling
Practiced on a six to ten inch ball, and following specific routines that imitate the logic of the neuromuscular system, body rolling is a self-care practice that helps maintain the health of the neuromuscular and skeletal systems, and assists controlling and understanding the internal sensory experience.

Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or repatterning to affect structural changes to the body.

Chair Massage
A massage in a specially-designed chair, with or without oil, often on-site.

Chinese Massage - See Acupressure

Color Terapy
An ancient system using specific color rays to treat the body and mind, color therapy is based on the notion that organs and systems vibrate at certain frequencies. By applying a particular color ray on an area, the correct vibration - bringing with it health - will be restored.

An osteopathic technique for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause tissue, emotional and postural dysfunction. No oils are used.

Dance/Movement Therapies
Dance/movement therapies focus on personal expression to enhance emotional and psychological healing. Using expressive movement as a tool, this modality lends itself to treatment of the physically disabled, as well as clients with histories of abuse and addiction.

Deep Muscle Therapy
It works to stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems to promote cellular repair while removing the hazardous toxins. Aimed at correcting and preventing serious muscle conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, and Parkinson's.

Deep Tissue
A phrase which indicates client-directed area-specific massage, as opposed to relaxation massage. Little or no oils are used to promote access to the deeper muscular and fascial structures, below the surface.

Esalen Tissue Work
A combination of soft and deep tissue techniques, focusing on both the extremities and torso promoting total body awareness and relaxation.

Equine massage
A specialized area of soft-tissue manipulation massage therapy for horses.

Esoteric Healing
healing through the energy field, which flows through and around us. Each of the seven major centers vitalizes its related endocrine glands. It is possible to map and measure this field and to assist in the restoration of good health through working to rebalance the energy field. Therapists have learned to sensitize their hands and inner perception to examine the energy field in detail to find alterations in the flow of energy. The therapist does not touch the client, but works variable distances from the body.

StarFace Exerssage is a facial yoga, slow motion movement, and self-massage technique integrated with breathing to release jaw tension and other tensions from neuromuscular parts of the face, head, and neck. It is comprised of twenty-four cranial facial yoga postures and a series of rhythmic contouring and acupressure pulsing massage movements. Connections are made to the vital organs with sound and intention. It facilitates the release of jaw tension.

Geriatric Massage
Geriatric massage focuses on the elderly, addressing the psychological and physiological aspects of aging and its associated diseases. Bodywork, often limited to a shorter time span, is often performed in residential care facilities.

Guided Imagery
Also known as visualization, guided imagery is a relaxation system utilizing imagination and thoughts to improve one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Often involving a process of listening to music or a person’s voice, the participant can take hold of imagery, symbols, and deep feelings to stimulate the body’s immune system, fight disease, and improve overall health. Many seriously ill patients use this technique to imagine the destruction of their disease and/or disorder.

Healing Sounds
The use of sound to create balance and alignment in the physical body, the energy centers (chakras), and/or the etheric fields. It is a vibration applied by an instrument or the human voice and can be understood as a field of energy medicine.

Healing Touch
An energy exchange therapy during which the practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate the healing process and to induce deep relaxation.

The use of hypnosis, trance states, suggestion, or altered states of consciousness to facilitate therapeutic goals, including learning and practicing new skills for alleviating symptoms or changing behavior.

Integrative Manual Therapy
Practitioners use advanced and gentle palpation techniques to "listen" with their hands to locate and address specific issues in muscles, joint biomechanics, bones, organs, circulatory, lymphatics, immune, connective tissue, nervous systems, and the bio-energy field.

Iridology is a diagnostic science in which the study of markings in specific areas of the iris are used to indicate dysfunction in corresponding organs of the body. Used by physicians, naturopaths, chiropractors, and other healers, iridology is a noninvasive technique that supplies information not clearly delineated by other means regarding the condition of the body.

Joint Mobilization
Mobilization involves moving the joints in a way that you cannot move it yourself. It involves small movements of the actual bone surfaces on each other. There are many different movements of mobilization, some that help to decrease pain and others that help to increase the movement range of the joint. Typically, in physical therapy mobilization is understood as a repetitive passive movement of varying amplitudes of low velocity applied at different parts of the range of motion depending on the effect desired.

Joint Play
The practitioner moves the joints to achieve full, pain-free range of motion with a special stretching technique. This technique is derived from the osteopathic system.

A diagnostic tool that uses the neuromuscular system and other measurable parameters to aid in evaluating what is wrong, and what to do for a patient.

Lomi Lomi
Ancient Hawaiian healing art utilizing finger, palm and elbow strokes. Kukui nut, macadamia nut and coconut oils are used as lubricants and nutritional moisturizers during the massage.

Lymph Drainage Therapy
A hands-on method for lymphatic drainage involving flat hands, utilising all of the fingers to simulate wave-like movements. This enables the practioner to feel the rhythm of the body fluids to determine the exact pressure, direction and rhythm needed.

Labour Support Provider
It provides support through the different stages of labour, emphasizing non-pharmacologic methods of pain relief.

Muscle Energy Techniques
Treatments in which a patient, on request, actively uses his muscles from a controlled position in a specific direction against a counter force. These techniques are used to strengthen weak muscles, stretch tight muscles and fascia, mobilise joints in which movement is restricted, and to improve local circulation.

Medical Exercise Therapy
A branch of exercise therapy where the patient performs exercises using specially designed apparatus, without assistance but under the constant supervision of the physiotherapist.

Medical Massage
Performing medical massage requires a firm background in pathology and utilizes specific treatments appropriate to working with disease, pain, and recovery from injury. The therapist may work from a physician’s prescription or as an adjunct healer within a hospital or physical therapy setting.

Manual Lymph Drainage
A method for lymphatic drainage involving flat hands, using all of the fingers to simulate wave-like movements. The results include reduction of certain types edema (those resulting from trauma and/or scarring).

Myofascial Release
Stretching of the fascia. The therapist is trained to distinguish how much force to use, the direction of the stretch and how long to stretch, via the feedback given by the patient's body.

Neuromuscular Integration and Structural Alignment (NISA)
NISA works to stretch, free and soften the body's fascia in order to restore function to muscle and joints as the layers of fascia regain their elasticity.

Neuromuscular Therapy
Assessment and treatment of Postural Distortions, Biomechanical Dysfunction, and the Soft Tissue causes of these conditions.

Ohashiatsu is a method of bodywork offering both giver and receiver a complete experience of self-development and healing. Combining Eastern healing philosophy and techniques with psychological and spiritual components, Ohashiatsu expands awareness of self and others through movement, meditation, and touch. Ohashiatsu emphasizes working with the overall energy flow throughout the body to create balance and relieve aches, tension, stress, and fatigue.

Ortho Bionomy
A non-invasive, osteopathically-based form of body therapy where the practitioner uses gentle movements and positions of the body to facilitate the change of stress and pain patterns. A strong focus is placed on the comfort of the individual, no forceful manipulations are used. The practitioner also suggests home exercises that individuals can do to further facilitate the neuromuscular re-education process begun in the session.

Foot and posture-related corrective therapy.

A relatively new profession, focusing on pain relief, relaxation and regaining flexibility. It seeks to align and straighten the body using gentle massage techniques and stretching exercises.

Pilates Exercise
Low impact body maintenance program designed to stretch and strengthen muscles, open joints and release tension, resulting in improved posture and ease of movement during daily activities, recreation and sports.

Health system involving energy-based bodywork, diet, exercise and self- awareness. It works with the Human Energy Field, electro- magnetic patterns expressed in mental, emotional and physical experience.

PUSH Therapy
PUSH Therapy was specifically designed to eliminate pain originating from chronic tension. Therapists learn Soft Pressure Stimulation to treat tissue on a layer-by-layer basis. Techniques are administered with the therapist’s body in a completely relaxed state - no muscular force is required - and without using the hands.

It is intended to help people who would like to improve their ability to cope with difficulties and problems in their lives

Personal Trainer
A person who creates custom individualized diet and exercise portfolios for the client.

Prostate Massage
Prostate massage describes the massage or stimulation of the prostate gland in men. The purpose is to relieve the symptoms of chronic prostatitis.

Quantum Touch
This hands-on healing method offers spontaneous adjusting of proper alignment of the body. Principles behind Quantum Touch involve resonance, intention, attention, breath, and innate body intelligence. Using various breathing techniques and meditations, a light touch is applied to activate the body’s own healing process.

Reflexology is the practice of stimulating the hands and the feet as a form of therapy. observed that congestion or tension in any part of the foot mirrors congestion or tension in a corresponding part of the body. Thus, when you treat the big toes there is a related effect in the head, and treating the whole foot can have a relaxing and healing effect on the whole body.

A method of natural healing based on the application of Universal Life Force Energy. The practitioner issues high frequency energy out the hands into another person to corect any imabalnces in the receiver.

Also known as Structural Integration. A system of hands-on connective tissue manipulation and movement education aimed at releasing stress patterns, and helping the client move and function with greater freedom, and effortlessly maintain a more upright posture

Rhythmic Mobilization
The therapist performs a series of movements (rocking and shaking) that are gradually increased and maintained to effect a stretching of tissues, which increases mobilization, and relaxation that prepares the client for massage.

Strain/Counter Strain Therapy
An osteopathic technique which changes the interaction between dysfunctional vertebrae and reduces fascial tension and restores joint mobility.

An Asian massage therapy of physical and energy rebalance. Pressure with thumbs, fingers and palms applied to determined areas and points of the human body, without the use of any mechanical or of another type instrument, correcting internal dysfunctions, promoting and keeping the health and treating specific illnesses.

Spa Therapies
A variety of body treatments administered in spas. Herbal wraps, loofah body scrubs, parafango, salt scrubs, seaweed body wraps, hydrotherapy treatments, etc.

Sports Massage
Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment.

Structural Integration A system of hands-on connective tissue manipulation and movement education aimed at releasing stress patterns, and helping the client move and function with greater freedom, and effortlessly maintain a more upright posture

Swedish Massage
Manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, including skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Most often performed with oil. Techniques include stroking, vibrations, shaking, effleurage (light long strokes), petrissage (circular manipulation), tapotement (percussive techniqes) and rocking.

Thai Massage
A combination of Yoga stretches, stimulation of the meridians – Acupressure points, muscle massage and Joint manipulation/stimulation.

Trager Therapy
It helps release deep-seated physical and mental patterns and facilitates deep relaxation, increased physical mobility, and mental clarity using gentle, non-intrusive, natural movements.

Trauma Touch Therapy
Trauma touch therapy was developed to address the needs of clients affected by trauma and abuse, including sexual and emotional abuse, battering, the trauma of war, surgery, or criminal violence. Focused on empowering the client, this technique combines therapeutic movement and breathwork with psychotherapeutic elements to bring body and mind together in holistic healing.

Trigger Points
Hyper-irritable areas occurring as small knots in the muscles throughout the body. They can also be felt as painful lumps of hardened fascia/connective tissue, and are painful when pressed. They can transfer pain and tenderness (known as "referral patterns") into the joints and muscles. In some cases, the referred pain (from an active trigger point) can mimic other ailments, like heart attacks or tendonitis.

Therapeutic Touch
An energy exchange therapy during which the practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate the healing process and to induce deep relaxation.

Visceral Manipulation
A gentle hands-on osteopathic technique that works on the fascia of the abdominal organs, to alleviate points of tension throughout the body. No oils are used.

This is a massage modality that enhances the free and natural movements of the body through gentle, sustained stretching and applied pressure. Gentle vibration and energy work with the chakras is integrated into a gracefully flowing sequence.

Zen Shiatsu
This style was developed by Shizuto Masanuga, who proposed the treatment of meridian extensions beyond those recognized in the classical Chinese view. He also developed the widely-accepted two-hand style, where one hand moves, applying pressure, while the other provides stationary support.

Zero Balancing
A hands-on bodywork system designed to align your energy body with your physical structure.