Massage is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. The goal of massage therapy is to improve function, assist in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being. The word comes from the French massage “friction of kneading”.
Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure, tension (stretch), motion, or vibration, and is performed done manually or with mechanical aids. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet. In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor. The client may be fully clothed or unclothed to their level of comfort. The parts of the body that are not being massaged are covered with a sheet.
In Canada only three provinces regulate massage therapy: British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian Massage Therapists Alliance (CMTA) has set a level of 2200 practice hours in both Ontario. Massage Therapists in Ontario must be registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO).
Swedish massage is also known as “classic massage”. The five basic strokes used during a Swedish massage treatment are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction and reflex (vibration/shaking). Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis. It has also been shown to be helpful in individuals with poor circulation.
Trigger point therapy involves deactivating trigger points that may cause local pain or refer pain and other sensations, such as headaches, in other parts of the body. Manual pressure, vibration, injection, or other treatment is applied to these points to relieve myofascial pain. Trigger points were first discovered and mapped by Janet G. Travell (president Kennedy’s physician) and David Simons. Trigger points have been photomicrographed and measured electrically. In 2007 a paper was presented showing images of Trigger Points using MRI. These points relate to dysfunction in the myoneural junction, also called neuromuscular junction (NMJ), in muscle, and therefore this modality is different from reflexology, acupressure and pressure point massage.
Lymphatic drainage massage is a massage technique used to gently work and stimulate the lymphatic system, to assist in reduction of localised swelling
Remedial massage techniques such as sports massage, trigger point therapy and PNF stretching are used improve circulation and promote healing to injured tissues and can help to reduce formation of scar tissue or adhesions.
Beneficial effects of massage include pain relief, reduced anxiety/depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure. Theories behind what massage might do include blocking pain receptors and activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which may stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, prevent formation of fibrosis or scar tissue, increase the flow of lymph, and improve sleep. Massage therapy benefits people of all ages. While it benefits the injured, the ill and the stressed, the strength of massage therapy in preventing illness and conditions before they develop cannot be overlooked. Massage therapy can be used in the treatment of both acute and chronic stages of conditions.
- Reducing or eliminating pain
- Improving joint mobility
- Improving circulation
- Improving immune system functioning
- Increasing lymphatic drainage
- Reducing depression and anxiety
- Reducing tension within muscles
- Increasing body awareness
The following is a list of conditions for which massage therapy, when provided by a Registered Massage Therapist, can prove beneficial:
|Anxiety and depression||Asthma and Emphysema|
|Back, leg, and neck pain||Cancer|
|Carpal tunnel syndrome (repetitive strain)||Chronic Fatigue syndrome|
|Fractures and edema||Gastrointestinal disorders|
|Headaches||Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and bursitis|
|Insomnia||Kyphosis and Scoliosis|
|Multiple sclerosis||Parkinson’s disease|
|Muscle tension and spasm||Palliative care|
|Post-surgical rehabilitation||Pregnancy and labour support|
|Sports injuries||Strains and sprains|
|Stress and stress related conditions||Stroke|
Sheila Graham is a Registered Massage Therapist and Certified Equine Massage Therapist located in Stouffville. Registered as a massage therapist since 1994, Sheila has almost 20 years of experience providing prenatal care, pain relief for back and neck pain and treatment for sports injuries. Massage therapy is useful in managing chronic back and neck conditions, arthritis, repetitive strain injury, tendonitis and post surgical scars. Working with equestrians is what lead to gaining a certificate in equine massage therapy as Sheila noticed the relationship between the restrictions of the rider and the performance of the horse.
The location of her current office is office is at 6139 Main Street in Stouffville which is west of the GO Station and east of Victoria Street on the south side of Main.Until July, 2012, Sheila Graham, RMT worked out of the Stouffville Therapeutic Centre
Sheila provides “barn calls” for the equine athlete.