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Shop by Massage Modalities
COVID LONG-HAULERS - A NEW TYPE OF MASSAGE CLIENT
What is Long-Haul Covid?
While most people who had the misfortune of contracting Covid-19 will recover with little to no lingering symptoms, a significant population will continue to suffer from what is commonly referred to as Long COVID Syndrome. These patients, called long-haulers, may suffer from many symptoms ranging in severity from mild to debilitating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common symptoms include persistent coughing, breathing problems, fatigue, brain fog, headaches, palpitations, muscle aches, joint pain, sleeplessness, and dizziness. Although massage therapy may not resolve the root cause of these symptoms, specific modalities can provide much-needed relief improving quality of life.
How Long will the Symptoms Last?
Because COVID is relatively new and variants are emerging regularly, the duration of symptoms in long-haulers is inconsistent at best. Some people experience after effects for as long as 9 months. Professional studies are ongoing.
How Can Massage Help Covid Long-Haulers?
In an extensive article explaining the benefits of massage therapy to manage Covid symptoms, massage expert, David Weintraub, explains the difference between functional and structural causes of symptoms. Long-haul Covid symptoms can be a result of physical damage to the body (structural) or could be in response to managing pain and stress associated with being ill (functional). While massage therapy cannot repair damaged tissue, it can be effective in relieving discomfort associated with structural causes and even more effective in reducing the effects of a misfiring nervous system like headaches and joint pain. Please note: In some instances, massage therapy may be initially contraindicated requiring other forms of therapy before beginning a massage protocol.
Examples of functional symptom causes often related to COVID-related stress:
- Overworked breathing muscles
- PTSD responses to stress like joint, muscle, and headache pain
- Compromised range of motion due to fatigue or long periods of bed rest
- Coughing due to tight cervical muscles, especially the SCM muscles
- A nervous system stuck in fight or flight mode
* For more detailed information visit on functional vs. structural COVID symptoms and other valuable information on this subject, visit David Weintraub's article here.
Massage Modalities by Symptom
Headaches, Brain Fog & Anxiety
Neurological symptoms such as brain fog and headaches are often associated with COVID-19 and should always be checked out by a medical professional; however, these symptoms are also commonly related to tension and stress.
- Cranial Sacral Therapy
- Self-Massage Techniques
- Cupping Massage
Joint Pain & Body Aches
Joint pain and muscle aches can be the result of long-term inactivity or bed rest, overcompensation of muscles to offset breathing challenges, and even the body's overall natural response to fighting off the disease.
Sleeplessness & Fatigue
Insomnia is a common symptom of any long-term illness and can lead to chronic fatigue. While most massage modalities can relax the body sufficiently to improve sleep, the addition of ancient Eastern techniques help to intensify the effect.
Shortness of Breath
The goal of massage therapy in managing shortness of breath is to relax the muscles compromised during the illness due to compensation and tension. Seek the advice of an LMT or physician experienced in these techniques before treatment.
- Respiratory Massage
- Tapotement, a method used in the Swedish Massage technique
- Myofascial Release of the diaphragm
Massage therapy is a proven solution to manage the effects of PTSD and severe stress. Oftentimes, COVID patients experience very similar symptoms like headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, and insomnia related to having the long-term illness. Clearly, no massage modality will repair damaged tissue, but a well-designed therapy plan can help to reduce the associated effects and even speed up healing time.
The best massage modality for a specific symptom can vary from person to person as it is a matter of both personal preference and tolerance for various treatment types. For optimal success, choose the combination of modalities that make your clients the most comfortable.
Swedish massage, perfect for beginners, is a simple modality that requires basic massage supplies and equipment.
Deep Tissue Massage
In addition to basic massage supplies, deep tissue and myofascial release tools can help intensify the treatment.
- Massage Table
- Massage Table Linens
- Massage Gels, Lotions, or Creams
- Myofascial Release Tools
Sports massage is similar to deep tissue massage but usually with a specific root cause or body part in mind.
- Massage Table or Chair
- Topical Analgesic or Massage Cream
- Percussion Massager or other Tools
Another type of deep tissue massage, cupping is an ancient technique that utilizes suction to relieve pain.
- Massage Table
- Massage Linens
- Cupping Therapy Set
- Optional: Light Massage Oil
Hot Stone Massage
Warm stones are applied on strategic parts of the body or used for traditional massage stroking in place of the hands.
- Set of Hot Stones
- Hot Stone Warmer
- Hot Stone Massage Oil
- Massage Table & Linens
Shiatsu is a Japanese technique that relies on manual manipulation, stretching, holding, and applying body weight.
- Floor Mat or Adjustable-Height Massage Table
- Washable or Disposable Table Linens and Face Rest Covers
- Optional: Aromatherapy Products
- Therapist Stool or Chair
An ancient practice, often referred to as Thai Yoga, occurring on a floor mat and includes gentle pressure and stretching.
Reflexology is the art of applying pressure to points on the feet or hands believed to be associated with other body parts.
POPULAR MASSAGE SUPPLIES BY MODALITY
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the main modalities in massage therapy?
Swedish Massage — Varies from light to vigorous. It uses five styles of strokes: effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration (or shaking). Also referred to as classic massage.
Deep Tissue Massage — Focuses on deeper layers of muscle tissue. It uses slow strokes and deep finger and palm pressure.
Thai Massage — Incorporates Asian principles of yoga, mediation, reflexology, and acupressure. It involves stretching and deep massage.
Sports Massage — Draws upon Swedish massage and is usually delivered before or after athletic workouts. When done 15-45 minutes before a sports event, it is a brief, stimulating massage aimed at the parts that will be exerted the most. When done 1-2 hours after a sports event, it is meant to normalize the body's tissues.
Shiatsu — Besides massage strokes, it also involves deep breathing, as well as stretching and rotating joints.
Reflexology — Involves applying pressure on reflex zones on the feet. It can also be applied to hands and ears, depending on the part of the body that needs stimulation.
Cupping Therapy — Used to stimulate the peripheral nervous system, improve blood flow to certain muscles and skin regions, as well as drain excess fluids and toxins.
These are the seven main modalities in massage therapy, but bodywork and massage professionals practice over 350 modalities. Other notable massage modalities are aromatherapy, acupressure, and hot stone massage.
Which massage modality is right for you as a client?
Swedish massage is good if you are new to massage and simply want to release muscle knots and tension. Deep tissue massage uses more pressure and is recommended for sore or injured muscles, imbalance, and chronic muscle pain. If you frequently play sports, you are likely to get repetitive use injury to some muscles. This calls for sports massage, as it will increase flexibility and improve your athletic performance. Reflexology is recommended for reducing fatigue, anxiety, and pain. It can also improve your mood and sleep quality. Opt for Shiatsu massage if you want to relieve headaches and lower back pain. Thai massage is best known for improving circulation, energy levels, and flexibility. Dry and wet cupping therapy can help with inflammation, blood flow, and cell repair. It can also increase pain thresholds, which is why many athletes incorporate it into their routine.
Do I need a variety of tools and massage therapy supplies for each modality?
Most massage modalities require a massage table, lubricants, sheets, and towels. Besides oils, creams, and lotions, each massage modality has its particularities and can require specific massage products. Deep tissue massage can employ wooden massage rollers, while sports massage would be better with a portable massage chair designed for touring athletes. Other modalities are more demanding. Thai massage, for instance, employs herbal balls, positioning pillows, kneeling pads, massage bolsters, and a folding mattress. Cupping therapy needs special cupping sets made of rubber, glass, or silicone. Traditionally, cups were made of bamboo.
Can I use the same massage lubricants for different modalities?
While massage creams are ideal for most modalities, Swedish massage pairs best with massage oils for maximum glide. Deep tissue massage is enhanced with massage lotions and gels that create more friction and penetrating heat. Many massage gels are also effective for sports massage where the therapist must target specific muscle groups.
Are deep tissue massage and sports massage the same?
While both massage modalities use comparable strokes, they are not the same thing. Deep tissue massage is usually performed as a full-body massage, whereas sports massage tends to focus on a particular region that needs rehabilitation or comfort.
Is cupping therapy considered a form of massage?
Yes, cupping therapy is a massage therapy modality. It is related to deep-tissue massage and employs suction cups to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to targeted areas of the body. When combined with acupuncture, it is termed wet cupping.
Do I have to be certified in different massage therapy techniques to use them in my practice?
Each state has its own rules for licensing and certifying massage therapists. Even though certification may not be required for a particular massage therapy modality, it is always a good idea to have it as a testament to your mastery of the subject.
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