Sarah M. McDonald #15272
Massage, Bodywork, and Therapeutic Services

Massage Techniques and Types of Massage

Massage Techniques

As a quality massage therapist, I have knowledge and hands-on experience of a variety of massage tools and techniques to assist you during your massage. These massage techniques can include but aren't limited to the following:

  • Effleurage (gliding): gliding movements that follows the contour of the body
  • Petrssage (kneading): to knead the muscles of the body
  • Friction: moving one surface over another
  • Compression: non-gliding techniques that sustains pressure or a sequence of rhythmic alternating pressures
  • Tapotement: tapping, cupping, clapping
  • Vibration: rocking movements

Types of Massage

Aromatherapy:  The purpose of an aromatherapy massage is not so much to physically work out all the kinks and sore spots in your body, but to use the restorative properties of essential oils from flowers, herbs, and plants to relax and heal your body and mind.


Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Massage: Ashi-What! Ashi (foot) -atsu (pressure) is a deep, painless form of barefoot massage that most people love (health tissue doesn't hurt when being compressed).The therapist holds onto bars in the ceiling and provides most massage strokes with the feet. The massage therapist's body weight is used to apply pressure and relax the muscles. This technique can be an extremely relaxing treatment.  Ashiatsu is deeper then Deep Tissue. The compression movements help relieve muscle pain and spasm while elongating the spine. A dramatic increase in circulation brings freshly oxygenated blood to the areas being treated. AOBT stimulates lymphatic system by pushing toxins out at a very high rate. The continuous deep tissue pressure that is delivered with the feet covers much larger areas at once than your hands. The foot is broad and relaxed. This makes the compression smooth yet sumptuous and not bony or prodding like using an elbow, thumb or massage tool commonly used in Deep Tissue. After only a few treatments, clients have had improved posture, increased range of motion, improvement in bodily functions, and feel a sense of well being.


Cold Stone (marble stones): Cold stones are critical in stone massage work as they decrease soreness when working on deeper muscles, draw heat away from the body, and help to strengthen on a cellular level. Marble stones is used for cold stone massage because it’s less dense than basalt stones and can easily remove heat from the body. One of the benefits of cold stone massage is that it can provide a deep state of relaxation, a release of tension, as well as, a reduction of swelling and inflammation due to scar tissue, trauma or injuries to muscles. It also helps with PMS, anxiety, migraines, sinusitis, and fatigue. Cold Stones are hot stones counterpart and are just as effective. When cold stones are placed on your skin, it triggers vasoconstriction -- the narrowing of blood vessels. After the cold stones are removed, the blood vessels dilate again, supplying the affected areas with fresh blood and oxygen. This process increases circulation.

Comfort Touch

Comfort Touch is a style of massage that gives special consideration to the physical and emotional needs of the elderly and/or ill client. Its primary intention is to provide comfort through techniques that promote deep relaxation and relief from pain.Comfort Touch is practiced by certified massage therapists and other health care professionals, as well as lay people interested in offering the gift of touch to a friend or family member.Comfort Touch is a valuable aspect of complementary health care that can be used safely and effectively in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, hospices, home care and long-term care facilities. While it can be used to ease the physical and emotional pains of the elderly and those in medical settings, it can also enhance the quality of life for anyone in need of a caring touch.Comfort Touch can be given to anyone in any setting. A massage table or other special equipment is not required. It can be performed with the client in a wheelchair, in a hospital bed, a regular bed, in a recliner or in a chair.


Deep TissueDeep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles. It is used for chronic aches and pain and contracted areas such as a stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders. Some of the strokes are the same as those used in classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain in order to reach the sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). With chronic muscle tension or injury, there may be adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can disrupt circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist uses massage oil and often uses direct deep pressure. Muscles must be relaxed in order for the therapist to reach the deeper musculature.

Hot Stone (basalt stone): Hot stone massage is a specialty massage where the therapist uses smooth, heated stones as an extension of their own hands, or by placing them on the body. The heat can be both deeply relaxing and help warm up tight muscles so the therapist can work more deeply, more quickly. Basalt stones are heated in sanitizing water before use. The high iron content in basalt helps the stones retain heat during the massage. Hot stone massages are beneficial on both physical and psychological levels. Hot Stones massage can help with back pain and aches, poor circulation, Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Stress, anxiety and tension, Insomnia, Depression, and more.


Prenatal: Prenatal massage is modified to accommodate the changes that takes place with the mother’s body. Both the mother’s and baby’s safety is taken into consideration when providing this service. Massage is the manual and scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of establishing and maintain health and promoting wellness. During a massage, our clients can lay on their back or stomach to receive the various forms of touch therapies. However, our mothers will never be place on their stomach to receive a massage. Prenatal massage helps hormone regulation and improves nerve pain.  better sleep and circulation. It also reduces edema, back pain, headaches, stress, and anxiety.


Relaxation: Relaxation massage is a gentle Swedish massage that uses smooth, gliding strokes to help you relax.  The massage therapist will move at a slower pace and use lighter pressure. There is less emphasis on working out serious adhesions or "knots" in the muscle tissue, which can be uncomfortable and cause some people tense up against the pressure. In a relaxation massage, the therapist won't push your pain limits in order to get the muscle to release. You might even fall asleep! It's a good choice for someone who is getting a massage for the first time, or someone who just wants to bring their stress level down. Relaxation massage is also good for someone who get massage as a special treat once a year.  It's not realistic to expect that you can get rid of all your knots in one massage.  But to drift into a deeply relaxed state in sixty minutes -- that's doable!


Swedish: Swedish Massage is one of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques. Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The disrobed client is covered by a sheet, with only the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.

Don't forget to ask your massage therapist about how massage could benefit you at your consultation. We also work with a variety of medical providers.

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
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