SwedishThis is the modality that typically comes to me when people think of "massage." The techniques range from broad gliding strokes to tapotament (vigorous striking on the body). These strokes can go a long way towards disengaging the go-go-go-go! sympathetic state and restoring the slow moving healing rhythms of the parasympathetic aspect of the autonomic nervous system.
Myofascial Release/Connective Tissue TherapyThe difference between Connective Tissue Therapy and Swedish is like describing the differences in the race strategies between the Tortoise and the Hare. The Hare (Swedish) will get you there faster, but it is the Tortoise (Connective Tissue Therapy) that knows every little rock, pebble, and grain of sand in the road along the way. The slow, deep strokes of Connective Tissue Therapy produce a deeply felt experience of connectivity within your body, your energy, and your self as a whole. Our connective tissues interconnect throughout our entire bodies and are an amazing semiconductor lattice of both bioelectric information and sensation. Because of this, the experience can be deeply felt, both systemic as well as locally in the tissues being treated.
Medical/Therapeutic MassageTennis Elbow? Painted one too many walls or installed one to many windows? Had surgery and the muscles have not been quite right since? Medical, or clinical massage, techniques focus on soft tissue problems--usually some type of muscular injury. This may result from a sudden injury such as a sprain or strain, or a slow degrading breakdown of muscle tissue due to repetitive motions (ex - neck problems from computer work). Cross-fiber friction, compression, flushing, and other techniques are used to facilitate the healing process by helping in the release of endorphins to metabolic waste removal to minimizing scar formation.
Please note that this type of massage is contraindicated if you are within 24-48 hours of the injury. After that initial time frame is the period where your body is mobilizing its healing response through inflammation--the rallying of white blood cells, macrophages (the "waste cleanup" cells), and other fluids to clean out the damaged cells and begin reparations. It is at this beginning reparation stage that a massage therapist can step in to help, especially as the soft tissue begins to lay down a matrix of scar tissue. Massage will help minimize scaring and encourage the wounded area to heal with more resilient, normal skin tissue.
Systemic maladies such as fibromyalgia , non-muscular in origin, will also benefit from massage by engaging your own healing processes (the parasympathetic aspect of your nervous system) during the session.
Neuromuscular Therapy/Trigger Point
Neuromuscular therapy is a deep tissue modality that is sometimes referred to as "trigger point" therapy. Trigger points are areas of muscle that are spasmodically contracted and stuck in the pain-spasm-pain feedback loop of the central nervous system. They can be as small as a dime or larger than half-dollar and, if left unchecked, can result in the entire muscle becoming chronically tightened and shortened. It is as this point that most of us become aware of the issue because of the tightness and soreness of the muscle. These problems tend to be stress related in nature but can be due to muscular irritation, such as when we develop a knot (another word to refer to a trigger point) due to a sudden strain on a muscle or because of a neural misfire. Yes, even our bodies have bugs in the system - the equivalent of a software "oops" when the word processor that should have saved your document instead ate half of the files on your hard drive and sent them to the Black Hole of Computer Never-Never Land. :-)
CranioSacral therapy is the gentle manipulation of the cerebrospinal fluids which pulsate and bathe the spinal conduit of your central nervous system. This conduit begins within the top of your head and extends all the way down your back to your sacrum, or "tail bone." This therapy is typically done while gently cradling your head and accentuating this pulsating slow moving rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid. It works directly with the autonomic nervous system - unwinding deep tensions of the spinal conduit, engaging the parasympathetic (relaxation) state and disengaging the sympathetic (tension) state. The experience is deeply balancing, sedating, and "meditative."
Heartworks brings the use of sound and healing into the 21st century. Sound recordings that encourage the parasympathetic (relaxation state) of your autonomic nervous system vibrate directly through the table and, consequently, throughout your entire body. The results are profound states of peace, release and relaxation.