Types of Treatments
There are two basic kinds of massage used at Harvard Therapeutic Massage: relaxation, and pain relief. All of our therapists work "with" the client instead of "on" the client. Each session is created for the individual client and can include facets of both kinds of treatment depending on the client's needs.
RELAXATION: Traditional massage therapy is the systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. Using oils or lotion, the therapist combines the techniques of gliding, kneading, compression, stretching, and rocking to design an individualized massage. We call this a relaxation treatment because it creates a state of general well-being and physical ease.
PAIN RELIEF THERAPY: Muscles that are chronically contracted create areas of tenderness that are sometimes called "trigger points." The muscle, because it is contracted, is shut down. The fresh blood can't get in and the waste can't get out. This irritates the surrounding nerves and causes pain and tenderness. Pain relief therapy focuses on these tender areas to soften the muscle, restore normal circulation and flush the waste out.
All of our therapists provide the above two treatments. Listed below are specific treatments that individual therapists have training in. One can refer to individual Therapist's description for their expertise.
CLINICAL MASSAGE combines a number of modalities to isolate, treat and restore proper movement to injured limbs. Myofacial Release, active resisted stretching, trigger point therapy, cross fiber friction, and PNF stretching are all used to zero in on the specific points of distress, relieve the restriction and restore full movement. This powerful coordinated approach looks for the structural causes of pain, not just where it has appeared. This method has been developed and promoted by Stuart Taws and Aaron Mattes among others, from work with Olympic and professional athletes around the world. They have taken sports massage to the next level!
CROSS FIBER FRICTIONING focuses on treatment of soft tissue sprains and strains. When a muscle, tendon or ligament is overused or injured it can fray like a rope. The body sends mending fiber to the area which fills and glues the fray. Unfortunately the fiber is indiscriminant and adheres to other surfaces which can restrict movement. Cross fiber frictioning aligns the fiber with that of the mending soft tissue and releases the unwanted adhesions.
MYOFASCIAL RELEASE interacts with the fascial wrappings of the body. Fascia covers every muscle group, lines body cavities, and wraps the body just under the skin, somewhat like a mummy. Tight fascia can restrict or skew muscle movement and cause diffuse areas of discomfort or pain. Myofascial Release works to free up tight fascia so that muscles have all their freedom of movement available. It includes skin rolling, fascial teasing, and other noninvasive techniques. While not a deep tissue approach, its effects can be quite substantial.
NEUROMUSCULAR/TRIGGER POINT RELEASE consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. The pressure is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbow. Once applied to a muscle spasm, the pressure should not vary for ten to thirty seconds. Neuromuscular therapy will feel painful at first, but the pressure should alleviate the muscle spasm. At this point, it is extremely important to communicate with the massage therapist regarding the pressure---whether the pressure is too much, too little, getting better, getting worse. The therapist should listen and respond accordingly. The pressure should never be overly painful. In fact, most people describe the pressure as “good pain.”
ON-SITE MASSAGE is given with the client fully clothed and does not require the use of oils. The average session lasts fifteen minutes and is given either in a chair especially designed for this purpose or on a massage table. This work is beneficial for people who perform repetitive tasks at their jobs, and is intended to be done at the work site.
PRE-NATAL MASSAGE is focused on the specific muscular needs of pregnancy caused by the change in posture, length of ligaments, tension, and weight. The massage can include myofascial techniques, circulatory work, acupressure, reflexology, and other techniques. Pre-natal massage decreases neck, back and joint pain; relieves muscle spasms and cramps, and sooths nerves. Special attention is paid to body support and draping.
REIKI (pronounced “ray-key”) means universal (rei) life force (ki). It is a form of vibrational healing developed in early twentieth-century Japan, involving light laying on of hands. Reiki is a simple practice that works with the energetic and vibrational fields flowing within and around every one of us. Healing energy flows through the practitioner’s hands and into the cells of the person receiving the treatment.
The least intrusive and most relaxing of the complementary healing practices, Reiki balances and nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Because it gently encourages a person’s system toward its own unique balance, Reiki can literally benefit anyone in any situation. Reiki is noninvasive, gentle and safe. Reiki is one of the most rapidly growing healing therapies today, inviting wellness into every level of our being---physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
SPORTS MASSAGE is for the athlete who wants to stay as finely trained as possible without going over the edge. The massage includes assisted/resisted stretching and is focused on the muscles of the specific sport. The results are less soreness after a workout or event, and thereby a faster recovery time; an avoidance of injury due to more supple muscles; a better performance due to increased range of motion such as a longer stride; and faster injury recovery. Both the competition athlete and the "week-end warrior" can appreciate these benefits.