The Underdog of Massage?

August 22, 2017 Updated: October 8, 2018

Here we explore three major massage techniques, which are not your average deep tissue or therapeutic massage. 

1. Sports therapy (remedial/injury and rehabilitation)

Sports therapy is not always necessarily related to clients involved in sport activities as the name may suggest. Because of the technique’s objective, it is suited to individuals who are involved in both very labour-intense or passive working environments. The treatment aids in recovery from injury, prevents injuries from occurring, and increases physical performance, including at work. Muscles should be supple, full of blood, nutrients, and fully stretched to produce maximum performance. Specific stretching techniques and advised exercises are also involved with sports therapy that are not involved in other massage treatments. Techniques are applied to lengthen short, tense muscles used in a variety of ways depending on the issue; such as to decrease pain, ease joint pressure, and reduce and prevent injuries.

2. Manual lymphatic drainage

This was originally introduced by a medical doctor in the 1930s known as Dr Emil Vodder, who developed the method to deliver relief to chronic conditions such as poor immune and swollen lymph nodes. The technique involves gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move lymph, which lie under the skin, in the direction of the lymph flow towards the lymphatic nodes. This effectively: 

  • Eliminates excess fluids from body tissues that lead to swelling; 
  • Absorbs fatty acids and transports fat and chyle around the circulatory system; 
  • Produces immune cells. 

It is particularly suited to individuals who have undergone a surgical procedure, people who develop frequent fluid congestion, and to assist in the recovery of old and new wounds by encouraging the regeneration of new cells.

3. Tuina

The term tui na means “grasp and pull”, and refers to being a part of clinical modalities utilised in Chinese Medicine. The techniques applied involve exactly this, with a combination of rotating and rolling of the practitioner’s fists, forearms, thumbs, and fingers. 

Like the objective of acupuncture, tui na is applied to balance the homeostasis of the body (maintenance of a constant internal environment) by assisting the qi or energy along specific pathways or systems of the body. It addresses the main concerns of the body as a whole by altering the energy levels of the biological system and adjusting the bio-feedback of the body. Since it works with a whole system, the treatment often benefits physical, emotional, and mental well-being. 

Written by Ivan Mihov and Theresa Mihova. Ivan Mihov is a Senior Sports Therapist and specialist in pain and musculoskeletal conditions. Theresa Mihova is an acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine practitioner, and lecturer. Both are founders of Bodilosophy, which helps to educate and raise awareness on health issues and provides society with safer choices for their health.