Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

Glossary of Massage Techniques

Source: Sherman KJ, Dixon MW, Thompson D, Cherkin DC.  (2006). Development of a taxonomy to describe massage treatments for musculoskeletal pain.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6:24. Retrieved May 7, 2007 from  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/6/24.

Application of cold
Style: Relaxation,Clinical
Local application of cold/ice (e.g. compress, ice pack, stone) over protected body part, often for 15 minutes or less. Includes ice massage.

Application of heat
Style: Relaxation,Clinical
Local application of heat (e.g. compress, poultice, stone) over protected body part, often for 5 minutes or less.

Compression-pumping
Style: Clinical, Myofascial Release
Usually pumping the muscle against the bone-rhythm and force vary with the resistance of the soft tissues. 

Compression-static
Style: Relaxation, Clinical, Myofascial, Sports 
Mechanically shortening a muscle or fascia or joint by pressing on it.

Cross-friction friction (transverse friction)
Style: Clinical
A type of friction that involves moving the patient's skin over the underlying tissue perpendicular to the muscle fibers.

Directed breathing
Style: Relaxation, Classic Western Style Swedish
Instructions on the length of inhalation and exhalation, often including instruction to relax while exhaling.

Direct pressure/static friction
Style: Relaxation ,Clinical, Classic Western Style Swedish, Neuromuscular
Presses or leans deeply into an area without moving the hands

Friction
Style: Relaxation, Clinical, Neuromuscular, Classic Western Style Swedish
Pressing into the skin and moving it over the underlying tissues. Fingers do not glide or grasp.

Gliding- deep
Style: Clinical, Myofascial Release, Sports
A type of friction that involves pressing into the skin and moving it over the underlying tissues. Motion follows the direction of the muscle fibers.

Gliding- light
Style: Relaxation. Classic Western Style Swedish
To skim, to touch light on-palm knuckles, fingers back of hands glide gradually over client's body.

Hand rolling
Style: Relaxation/Clinical, Classic Western Style Swedish, Lomilomi, Sports
Rotating wrist on body with knuckles

Holding
Style: Relaxation/Clinical, Classic Western Style Swedish, Myofascial Release
Static, broad contact (e.g., whole hand) to warm, relax or mobilize tissues.

Kneading
Style: Relaxation/Clinical, Classic Western Style Swedish, Sports
To Knead-rhythmic lifting, kneading and squeezing of the soft tissue.

Percussion
Style: Relaxation/Clinical, Classic Western Style Swedish, Sports
Series of brisk blows, rapidly following each other

Percussion with stretch
Style: Clinical, Sports, Neuromuscular
A series of brisk blows, rapidly following each other applied while muscle is placed/held in the lengthened position

Rocking or jostling
Style: Relaxation, Classic Western Style Swedish
Slower rhythmic type of vibration applied to the whole body in conjunction with the patient's body rhythm

Skin rolling
Style: Clinical, Myofascial Release, Sports
A specific type of lifting where superficial fascia is grasped between thumb and forefingers continuously lifted and rolled over the underlying tissue in a wave-like motion

Shaking
Style:  Relaxation, Classic Western Style Swedish
A type of vibration, using a lifting or pulling of the skin or a limb and then rhythmically shaking it.

Stretching

A. Passive Stretching
Style: Relaxation/Clinical, Classic Western Style Swedish, Sports
Taking patient's muscle into a position of lengthening by moving a joint without any effort on their part.

B. Resistive stretching: PNF
Style: Clinical, Sports
Lengthen muscle until the first resistance barrier, patient voluntarily resists AGAINST the lengthening for 5-15 seconds. Patient relaxes for 5-15 seconds and repeats the resistance.

C. Stretching- manual-direct
Style: Clinical, Sports, Neuromuscular, Myofascial Release
Mechanically lengthening the muscle and or fascia between Mt's hands without moving a joint.

Traction
Style: Clinical, Sports
Mechanically lengthening muscle and or fascia by pulling on joints 

Vibration
Style:  Relaxation, Classic Western Style Swedish
Continuous shaking or trembling movement made by hands or fingers focused on a specific area of the body.

 

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