Not all bodywork is "massage" ...and not all massage is bodywork.
Therapeutic Bodywork is the general term that encompasses all bodywork styles from Massage Therapy to Reiki, and includes over 200 modalities. At The Highland Backrub, we are committed to your best health outcomes through Bodywork.
What type of bodywork do YOU need? You can make that determination yourself by trying different modalities to see what "fits" for you. We recommend that you spend
some time looking over the modality descriptions below, then check our therapist bios before you schedule a session so that you know what type of bodywork you will experience.
While not all therapists are the same, finding a MODALITY that fits your body type, personality, pressure needs, and health outcomes can help you to always get the modality you need regardless of whether your favorite therapist is available.
Massage Therapy uses the palms of the hands, fingers, forearms and elbows to gently or deeply massage muscles and fascia.
If you are in extreme pain, it may take up to 3 or 4 sessions to get you to pain-free if you haven’t ever had a massage OR if you have just waited too long to get the care you need. Keep in mind that it can take just as long to heal from pain as it does to develop it. Expecting one massage to cure you is like expecting a dollar to cover your phone bill.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may require more than one session each month to keep you out of pain so that you can truly enjoy your life.
Thai Massage Therapy is very deep and expands on massage therapy through active stretching, compression and holding techniques that give the body time to release complex contraction patterns. Thai is especially useful for chronic conditions that you are ready to move on from. One Thai Massage session can move you to the next level so that other, more gentle modalities can have a greater effect.
Deep Tissue Therapy can be gentle, but people typically experience pain when receiving it. Allowing yourself longer sessions of Deep Tissue Therapy will reduce the pain you experience by giving the therapist time to slowly go deeper into chronic or locked muscle systems. It is common for people to assume that a short, painful session is best for them, but most Deep Tissue therapists will disagree. Having the time to slowly penetrate locked or stubborn muscle contractions is generally best for both you and the therapist you will be working with.
Shiatsu is a therapeutic form of massage that originated in Japan and traditional Chinese medicine, and has been widely practiced around the world since the 1970s. Shiatsu means “finger pressure,” which describes the technique. In Shiatsu, pressure with thumbs, hands, elbows, knees or feet is applied to pressure points on the body. This form of massage also focuses on rotating and stretching limbs, joints, and pressure points, or meridians, as they’re called in traditional Chinese medicine.
One of the fundamental concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine is Qi.
Qi is vital energy in our body that underlies all functioning. Health is present when there is abundant Qi in the meridians and the flow is unobstructed. When Qi becomes out of balance, deficient, or obstructed, symptoms arise. As minor symptoms emerge, such as weekly or daily headaches, digestive difficulties, body aches..., this indicates the imbalance of Qi.
Unaddressed, minor symptoms can progress into a multitude of symptoms as the result of the body developing combined patterns of imbalance (tendonitis, headaches, muscle spasms, poor sleep, mood swings etc.). Shiatsu therapists are trained to recognize these patterns of disharmony and restore the flow of Qi throughout the body, leaving your body more balanced and feeling rejuvenated.
Shiatsu can be used to resolve a wide range of internal, musculoskeletal, and emotional issues. When using a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach, Shiatsu can address these imbalances within our bodies that bring on the many symptoms of discomfort that we may experience. Starting the session with an assessment of the client’s overall health experiences helps locate the root cause or the root imbalance, making it easier to restore harmony to the body.
Japanese Head Massage was brought over from Japan, and developed as a complimentary therapy with Shiatsu by Ayako Nakadakari, ShT
Japanese Head Massage uses palms of the hands and fingers (no oils) to gently stimulate the head, face, neck, and shoulders to assist the body’s secretion of dopamine. You may experience a reduction of weariness of the brain, stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms, as well as a reduction of pain or tightness in muscles of the scalp, face, neck, and shoulders.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was developed by Dr . John Upledger, D.O., O.M.M.
CST evaluates the body's movement in response to the Primary Respiratory Mechanism -- often referred to as the Craniosacral Rhythm-- which cycles the body through phases of extension and flexion, or expansion and contraction. The Quality, Symmetry, Amplitude, and Rate of movement of all parts of the body in response to the PRM can highlight the areas of the body which lie at the root of dysfunction.
CST practitioners use gentle touch, often less than the weight of a nickel, to induce "still points" to allow the body a moment of reprieve in the face of the dysfunction. We then invite the body to make corrections at the compromised site. This process is repeated until the body can maintain the changes.
Myofascial Release (MFR) Myofascial Release was developed by John Barnes, PT, LMT,
MFR uses extended holds to encourage change in the body. These holds are often not painful and feel like "a good stretch." MFR practitioners hold this good stretch at each resistance barrier, allowing for the tissue to melt and change, and repeating until the targeted area releases.
The time component is what makes Myofascial Release so special. Muscle only takes 20-35s to release; it takes a full 90-120s to extend to the collagenous barrier which gives the structure form; at this barrier, the gentle forces bring more energy to the area allowing it to change phase like ice melting into water, this process takes a minimum of 3-5 minutes; at the 7-8 minute mark, the body reaches resonance with the previously distressed tissue. From here, the body releases it's own anti-inflammatory interleukins which finish the healing process.
Myofascial restrictions and adhesions can hold a tensile strength of over 2,000 pounds per sure inch. These restrictions can lead to pain, dysfunction, and a lack of coordination in the body-- melting them has shown to be beneficial for myriad disorders.
Reiki is a Japanese word, meaning universal life force energy. Reiki is an unlimited healing energy that is available in the universe. During a session, the Reiki practitioner simply channels the Reiki healing energy from the universe by placing his/her hands lightly or a few inches above the client’s body (the client does not absorb the practitioner’s energy).
Prenatal Massage Because a woman’s pelvic bones become soft during pregnancy, hip, low-back and mid-back pain are common symptoms that are routinely addressed with massage therapy.
Through the gentle attention to muscles, fascia and lymph by palpating, kneading and the application of smooth strokes over areas of pain or discomfort, prenatal massage can provide a heightened level of increased well-being, flexibility and pain relief. Prenatal massage is safe, effective and necessary for any woman determined to have the best outcome for the birth of her baby.
We hope this primer has been worth reading! Bodywork can be a fundamental health tool when used regularly. We recommend at least one bodywork session a month if you are young, and weekly to bi-weekly sessions once you reach the age of 50 to keep you fit, circulating and off of the operating table.