Massage Techniques for Wellness

Here is a review of some of the massage variations that are being commonly offered today.  This list is just a brief overview.  For more information you can contact us, check online or go to your local library.



Can be incorporated in to many massage modalities.  The use of the essential oils of plants for healing is an ancient concept.  You and your therapist can discuss what your needs and goals will be and choose oils that can help accordingly.   Sometimes a therapist will burn oils in a diffuser or add to massage oil or lotion and apply it to your skin.  Only caution here is allergies and respiratory conditions.


Chair Massage

This style of massage is usually done on location and consists of a 10 or 20 minute massage.  The client is fully clothed and is seated in a special chair that is designed for this modality.  This is a great option for office visits, home parties, staff appreciation days, or the busy person who is working on their birthday.


Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage is designed to reach thicker deeper layer of muscle tissue.  It can un-stick muscle fibers and facilitate realignment of fibers to facilitate healing, also will release toxins and deeply held patterns of pain and tension from the musculature.  Compression, friction and facilitated stretching are used for this type of massage.


Hot Stone Massage

Hot Stone Massage is a unique modality in that special rocks, called basalt stones are used during the massage.  The warmth of the stones allow for deep penetrating heat to relax muscles, while the stones are thought to bring healing energy to a massage.  Providing a harmonizing and balancing effect, allowing a meditative state of quite and calm to evolve.

Indian Head Massage

Indian Head Massage is another ancient modality, originating from India with its roots as an Ayurvedic practice for wellness.  In India IHM is received weekly to promote health for everyone from infants to elders.  Oils are typically part of a session and are massaged in to the hair and scalp, for it soothing effect on the spirit and the nurturing effect on the hair and scalp.  This modality works on a subtle energy matrix of the body, balancing charkas, and maram points, in Ayurveda, the belief that we are first beings of energy and then human being and we must address the whole system for maximum wellness.  IH Massage helps to decrease the effects of stress, facilitates mental clarity, balances energy, improves blood circulation to the head and neck, improves lymphatic drainage, and relieves eye strain, headaches, sinusitis, congestion and insomnia.


Back Pain


Back pain can have a profound impact on your life, potentially affecting your mood, activities that you participate in on a daily basis, even your income. The good news is that understanding you back and what is happening and how to care for your back can reduce the impact of back pain. Remember you only get one back, if you take care of it, it will take care of you.


Basic structure of the back


The back is made up of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

The spine has 33 vertebras

• 7 in the neck or the cervical region, medically referred to as C1-C7
• 12 in the chest or the thoracic region (T1-T12)
• 5 in the low back or the Lumbar region (L1-L5)
• 4-5 in the sacrum, which is just above the crack of your back side (S1 – S4/5 each of us is a little different)
• There is also a coccyx, commonly known as the tail bone


Between the vertebra are the discs that provide cushioning to the bones, they absorb impact when we stand, walk, run, sit, or ride, be it a bike, care, truck or motorcycle, kind of like shock absorbers. (Can you see why so many people have disc problems??)

As the vertebrae fit together they are stacked vertebrae, disc, vertebrae, this stacking where the vertebra connect they create a space that blood vessels and nerves can pass through and provide our extremities with blood, and nerves send/receive information. (All this fits together nicely, however, if you have an injury and swelling is present, nerves and blood vessels get pinched and this is where we get pain and numbness…ouch)


Headaches and Massage Therapy


We have all had headaches, however chronic headaches can be a distressing way of life for many people.  Continually coping with pain can and will diminish the quality of life that a person experiences at work and at home.  Therapeutic massage can be a powerful ally against chronic headache pain.


Therapeutic Massage can reduce headache pain by:


Relieving muscle tension

Reducing stress

Promote healing of injuries


What type of Headache do you have?


Tension Headache – This is the most common type of headache and is often due to muscle tension of the head, neck and shoulders.  This headache is accompanied by pain or band like patterns of pressure around the head and neck.  They are often due to prolonged tight contracted muscles, creating trigger points in the muscles themselves.  The tightness is often due to postural problems or stress.


Migraine Headaches – Migraines are typically intense, one-sided pain in the head, face, jaw and neck.  They can last for hours to days, can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound.  Contributing factors can be stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, food allergies, not eating regularly, medications, loud noises and bright lights. 




If you suffer from the pain, discomfort, swelling or stiffness of arthritis, you are not alone. Many people suffer from this disease, which literally means “joint inflammation”. There is no know cure for arthritis, however, there are steps that can be taken to slow the progression and help you live more comfortably. Massage therapy is one of the ways to help.


Why Massage?


Massage therapy can help manage the discomfort of arthritis in multiple ways.


• Helps reduce swelling
• Improves joint health
• Reduces pain
• Help maintain mobility
• Helps to maintain exercise routines 
• Decreases the emotional stress that can increase sensitivity to pain of arthritis.


Precautions for therapeutic massage


Pressure of massage should always be within your comfort level. 

Let your therapist know if you have taken pain medicine.

Let you therapist know if you are having a flare-up (swelling, redness, and increased pain)


Your massage therapist can draw on a variety of massage modalities including hands-on techniques, energy work, gentle stretching and hydrotherapy. Communicate, ask questions and your massage therapist will be happy to explain their approach for your session.


Infant Massage


Massage is a great way to begin cultivating a lifelong relationship.


Why Infant Massage


Massaging your baby is a preventative guide that provides a warm tender touch from the beginning of life. Knowing the benefits of providing warm touch early in life can enhance the quality of parenting and provide many health benefits to your baby.

Benefits of Infant Massage

  • Enhances bonding and attachment
  • Fosters communication between child and parent
  • Promotes social, emotional and cognitive development
  • Promotes relaxation and decreases tension of daily stimulus
  • Reduces irritability and crying
  • Reduces gas, colic and intestinal distress
  • Promotes sleep
  • Strengthens organ systems such as circulatory, nervous, musculature, digestive, respiratory and endocrine

Premature Baby Benefits

  • Improves weight gain
  • Reduces stress
  • Decrease pain
  • Develops motor behavior
  • Improves better clinical and developmental scores
  • Can reduce hospital stay
  • Provides an opportunity for parent involvement

Pregnancy Massage


For the Health and Well-being for you and your baby.


Pregnancy is a time of many amazing changes that your body will go through.  Your body is adapting and accommodating the new growing life within you.  You need to find ways to care and support yourself body, mind and spirit, since two people are dependant on your health and vitality.


Massage can help with many of the aches and pains that are experienced while your body and life is changing.  Here are some of the ways that massage can help:

  • Reduces muscle cramping and tender trigger points from tight muscles.
  • Reduces pain in the muscles and joints shoulders, back, hips and legs.
  • Improves flexibility, enhancing your body’s ability to adapt to the changes that are occurring.
  • Help you experience the changes that are occurring to you body in a positive and accepting way.
  • Ease the stress of the social adjustments that must be made at home, work and with family and friends.
  • Eases constipation, gas and heartburn.
  • Decrease fluid retention.
  • Relieves headaches.
  • Inhibits the progressions of varicose veins and stretch marks.

Learn self care techniques for sleeping positions, stretches, breathing techniques to manage the discomfort of labor.


Healthy Aging - Vitality at any age.


Therapeutic massage can help you feel great at any age.  A natural part of the aging process is a decrease in muscle strength, bone mass, reduced energy levels, slower reaction time, less tissue elasticity, thin, dry skin, decrease in the senses and immune system.  Did you know that chronic stress and inactivity accelerates the aging process?

The challenge of vital longevity is to continue to lead a healthy, active, quality life, while doing what we can to limit the negative effects of the aging process. 


How Therapeutic Massage can Benefit You


Enhances your general health


Massage as a part of a wellness plan to keep the mind and body functioning well will:

  • Stimulates well nourished healthy skin
  • Improves circulation of blood and lymph
  • Facilitates immune system function
  • Improves overall energy

Decreases the effects of stress 


Stress has many negative effects on the body.  It is a key factor of the top diseases in the US (heart disease, stroke and cancer).  Limiting stress is effective with therapeutic massage.  Massage can:

  • Decrease muscle tension due to discomfort or pain
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Enhance the feeling of wellness


How Massage Enhances Your Fitness Potential


Did you know that most professional athletes use therapeutic massage to enhance their performance potential?  


Whether you are a professional athlete, a sport and fitness enthusiast, or a weekend warrior including regular therapeutic massage as part of your fitness plan is an intelligent decision.  A complete wellness plan includes not only an exercise and dietary plan, but caring for the wear-and-tear and minor injuries that naturally occur with movement is necessary.  Therapeutic Massage is the ideal compliment to a total fitness plan. 


Athletic performance can be enhanced with therapeutic massage.  There are a variety of techniques that a therapist can use that can improve flexibility, decrease muscle soreness, improve recovery time, limit injuries, and information can be gathered during a massage that can help an athlete with performance techniques. 


Contact The Bodyworks Wellness Center at:

17 Computer Drive East

Albany, New York 12205

(518) 459-HEAL

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