Dana R. Braet, LMT, NMT

Nationally Certified in Sports Massage, Certified in Neuromuscular Therapy, 24 Years Experience

MO License #2001014084

Glossary of Massage Terms

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Acupressure (also called Shiatsu) – traditional Chinese technique of applying finger pressure to special points that lie along acupuncture meridians.

Asian Body Work - Monitoring the flow of the vital life energy (known as chi, ki, prana) is at the heart of Asian bodywork. Using physical pressure and manipulation, the healer evaluates and modulates this energy flow to attain a state of balance. Popular modalities include shiatsu, amma, Jin Shin Do, Thai massage and tui na.

Ayurveda Massage - Gentle surface massage aimed at calming the nerves and stimulating blood flow.

Chair Massage – see “On-site Massage.”

Cranio-Sacral® – a gentle touch method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the central nervous systems

Deep Tissue – a technique that releases chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on contracted areas, either following or going across the grains of muscles, tendons and fascia.

Effleurage – a smooth, gliding stroke, generally used in a Swedish massage, using both hands to relax soft tissue.

Friction – the deepest of Swedish massage strokes, it encompasses deep, circular movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. This causes an increase in blood flow to the massaged area and can breakdown scar tissue.

Hot Stone – a massage technique, used in conjunction with other modalities, in which warmed stones are placed on points, such as acupuncture points, and sometimes used as massage tools. 

Hydrotherapy - Referring to the therapeutic use of water in any of its various forms: sea water, mineral water, baths, showers, underwater massage, ice, etc.

Lymphatic Drainage Therapy - A hands-on method for lymphatic drainage involving flat hands, utilizing all of the fingers to stimulate wave-like movements. This enables the practitioner to feel the rhythm of the body fluids to determine the exact pressure, direction and rhythm needed.

Massage - a manual soft tissue manipulation, and includes holding, causing movement, and/or applying pressure to the body.

Massage Modality or Technique – a kind of massage, such as Swedish, deep tissue or myofascial release.

Massage therapy - a profession in which the practitioner applies manual techniques, and may apply adjunctive therapies, with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client.

Meridians- the invisible channels of energy flow in the body according to Asian medical systems.

Myofascial Release – Uses long, stretching strokes to release muscular tension.

Neuromuscular Therapy – The utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system.

On-site Massage (often called chair massage) – a type of massage administered while the client is clothed and seated in a specially-designed chair. It allows the massage therapist to massage the muscles of the back, neck, shoulders, arms and hands.

Petrissage (also called kneading) – the squeezing, rolling and kneading of the muscles that usually follows effleurage during Swedish massage.

Polarity Therapy - Health system involving energy-based bodywork, diet, exercise and self-awareness. It works with the Human Energy Field, electro-magnetic patterns expressed in mental, emotional and physical experience.

Reflexology – a technique that uses pressure to points on the feet, hands and ears thought to correspond, or "reflex," to all areas of the body.

Shiatsu (also called acupressure) – a Japanese system of applying finger pressure to specific points that lie along specific meridians.

Sports Massage – Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment.

Swedish Massage – a system of long strokes, kneading and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of the muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints. The four strokes of Swedish massage are effleurage, petrissage, friction and tapotement.

Tandem – a massage in which two therapists work on one client at the same time, sometimes called four hands massage.

Tapotement – a Swedish massage technique executed with cupped hands, fingers or the edge of the hand with short, alternating taps to the client.

Thai Massage – a technique in which the therapist uses his or her body to move the massage recipient into a series of poses, and includes muscle compression, joint mobilization and acupressure.

Trigger Point – irritated area in muscle fibers that when compressed may elicit pain or a twitching response.   

Trigger Point Therapy (also known as Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy) – a method that applies concentrated finger pressure to trigger points to break cycles of spasm and pain.

Tui Na– a traditional Chinese technique that stimulates acupuncture points by brushing, kneading, rolling and pressing areas between joints.