What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy consists primarily of hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints for the purpose of optimizing health.
Massage therapy treatment has a therapeutic effect on the body and optimizes health and well-being by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Physical function can be developed, maintained and improved, while physical dysfunction, pain and the effects of stress can be relieved or prevented through the use of Massage Therapy.
Today’s Massage Therapists use their knowledge of anatomy and physiology to combine traditional Swedish and modern Massage Therapy techniques with exercise and other therapies to treat their clients.
Before a treatment, your Massage Therapist will propose a personalized treatment plan based on an initial assessment and health history. The assessment consists of various tests to determine the condition of your muscles and joints. Any personal and health information you provide to your Massage Therapist is completely confidential and will be safeguarded. Your health record cannot be released or transferred without your written consent.
Uses soothing, tapping and kneading strokes to work the entire body, relieving muscle tension and loosening sore joints. Swedish massage therapists use five basic strokes. They are effleurage (stroking); petrissage (muscles are lightly grabbed and lifted); friction (thumbs and fingertips work in deep circles into the thickest part of muscles); tapotement (chopping, beating, and tapping strokes); and vibration (fingers are pressed or flattened firmly on a muscle, then the area is shaken rapidly for a few seconds).
Deep Tissue Massage
Targets chronic tension in muscles that lie far below the surface of your body. You have five layers of muscle in your back, for instance, and while Swedish massage may help the first couple of layers, it won’t do much directly for the muscle underneath. Deep muscle techniques usually involve slow strokes, direct pressure or friction movements that go across the grain of the muscles. Massage therapists will use their fingers, thumbs or occasionally even elbows to apply the needed pressure.
Is a form of deep tissue massage that is applied to individual muscles. It is used to increase blood flow, reduce pain and release pressure on nerves caused by injuries to muscles and other soft tissue. Neuromuscular massage helps release trigger points, intense knots of tense muscle can also “refer” pain to other parts of the body. Relieving a tense trigger point in your back, for example, could help ease pain in your shoulder or reduce headaches.
Myofascial Release Therapy
Is a massage technique performed without oil to help release restrictions and tensions in the connective tissue deep within the body. This technique is very useful in treating chronic or reoccurring injuries.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
(Also called lymphatic drainage and lymph massage) is a form of very light massage that encourages lymph flow in the body. It is particularly good for detoxification, edema, pre- and post-plastic surgery and post-liposuction. It can also help with cellulite treatments, scar tissue, spider veins, redness and acne.
The lymph system is a slow-moving system of vessels and lymph nodes that is supplementary to the body’s system of blood circulation. The lymph systen both delivers nutrients to the cells and carries away excess water, cellular waste, bacteria, viruses and toxins.
A therapist trained in lymph drainage massage stimulates the lymph system with extremely light, circular pumping movements. By stimulating the lymphatic system, the therapist helps drain puffy, swollen tissues, supports the body’s immune system, helps the body heal from surgery, and aids in the body’s natural waste removal or detoxification.
The lymphatic system is located directly beneath the skin, so the pumping, circular movements are very light. Manual lymph drainage should have a very soothing, relaxing effect. It can be used as part of a facial, or as a whole body treatment.
Manual lymph drainage (MLD) and Plastic Surgery
MLD is essential during both before and after Plastic Surgery. Many patients experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising after surgery and have few options to handle these uncomfortable symptoms. MLD addresses swelling and tissue hardness.
Lymph vessels are traumatized during surgery. The interruption in the normal flow of lymph fluid contributes to impaired healing, fibrosis and scar tissue, dimpled, uneven skin and the development of seromas. Decongestion of the lymphatic system is important in bringing back normal texture, definition and tone of skin.
A Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT) will set up an individual program for the patient and the type of surgery. Ideally, a patient will have an MLD treatment 24 to 48 hours before surgery, which helps fortify the body’s immune system for the surgery and impending trauma. The treatment will prepare the dermis (skin tissue) by cleansing it of impurities. This gives the surgeon clean, healthy tissue to cut into, reducing the risk of infection and other post-op complications. After surgery, it is possible to resume MLD within 24 hours although most people wait until they can comfortably drive to the therapist’s clinic. During the first week, the patient will benefit most from MLD daily or every other day. After the first week, the MLD can be reduced in frequency gradually and can be continued for 4-6 weeks or until the swelling is greatly reduced or gone. It is impossible to get too much MLD!!
What type of surgery can benefit from MLD?
- All types of liposuction
- Tummy-tuck and abdominoplasty
- Facelifts and facial reconstructions
- Brow-and eye lid surgery
- Breast augmentation or reduction
- Fat injections (e.g. Brazilian Butt lift)
What are the benefits of MLD after cosmetic procedures?
- MLD can be used at a very early post-operative stage
- Swellings, bruises and edema are reduced quickly
- Healing process is accelerated
- Scarring and build-up of nodules are significantly reduced
- Tissue quality is improved and better visible results are achieved
- Fat residues (in case of liposuction) are quickly absorbed and processed by the lymphatic system
- Local inflammation is inhibited
- Pain is decreased
What are the benefits of MLD after a tummy-tuck?
A standard tummy tuck lifts the skin and fatty tissue off the underlying abdominal muscle from the top of the pubic bone up to the bottom of the breast bone, almost like lifting up an apron. As a result, all of the lymphatic channels are damaged and so swelling is a given. It’s just a matter of how long it will last, sometimes as long as 3 to 6 months. Physicians do what they can intra-operatively to minimize lymphatic disruption. Post-operatively MLD and compression garments help reduce swelling. When a patient is in an upright position, the lymphedema cannot cross the fresh incisional scar to drain into the inguinal lymph glands in the groin, so it tends to get “hung up” in the lower abdomen, producing more swelling above the scar. At night time, while lying down, the swelling drains dependently around to the back, but the cycle resumes when the patient wakes up/stands up the next day. MLD along with the compression garment reduces the swelling and prevents chronic lymphedema, which can turn into scar tissue. This can result in a bulge or step off above the scar.
Bruises are an accumulation of waste products and old blood cells in the tissue. They are to be expected with most plastic surgery procedures but are especially troubling to the patient when they occur on the face, chin or neck. MLD greatly reduces healing time for bruises by cleansing the intercellular spaces where these substances are trapped. Clients will see a significant difference in the swelling and puffiness of their face, chin or neck after just one treatment. Facial bruising disappears after 3-4 treatments depending on the extent of capillary trauma. The sooner and more often the patient is able to undergo MLD, the faster the bruising will resolve.