Phoenix Healing Arts
Licensed Massage Therapist & AAAI/ISMA Certified Yoga Instructor
Massage Techniques

Below is a list of some of my Techniques.

Click on the titles for more detailed information.

Neuromuscular Therapy

This comprehensive program of soft-tissue manipulation balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system.

Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy techniques use negative pressure, rather than tissue compression, with suction cups rapidly releasing rigid soft tissue. It also stimulates the nervous system contributing to an increased rate of recovery from pain and disease.

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system.

Deep Tissue Massage

Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. Pfrimmer is a type of Deep Tissue Massage.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery.

Prenatal Massage

Performed by a trained perinatal specialist, many methods of massage are both effective and safe prenatally and during labor and postpartum periods of women’s pregnancies.

Infant Massage & Instruction

 Infant massages should be tailored to each individual baby's needs by a qualified instructor.

Hot Rock Massage

Heated Stones are used to help muscles relax more quickly than in traditional massage.

Swedish Massage

One of the most common and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation.

 

 

What is Neuromuscular Therapy?

Neuromuscular Therapy is a system of soft tissue manipulation that addresses the underlying causes of pain, not just the symptoms. This comprehensive program of soft-tissue manipulation balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. Based on neurological laws that explain how the central nervous system initiates and maintains pain, the goal is to help relieve the pain and dysfunction by understanding and alleviating the underlying cause. An accomplished neuromuscular therapist interprets the effects of the following internal and external factors, which often create irregular activity in the central nervous system that leads to pain and dysfunction:

  • Postural Distortion/Dysfunctional Biomechanics

  • Reduced Circulation

  • Trigger Points

  • Nerve Impingement/Tension

  • Somatovisceral/Viscerosomatic Reflexes

  • Trauma

A neuromuscular therapy massage is applied in various pressures by the therapist. It is also used to locate and release spasms and hypercontraction in the tissue, eliminate trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuild the strength of injured tissues, assist venous and lymphatic flow, and restore postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues.

Typically, painful muscle spasms occur when our muscles lack adequate blood flow. When this occurs, lactic acid accumulates in the muscle. Anyone who has worked out will be familiar with the formation of lactic acid in muscles - it accumulates in, and causes soreness in muscle tissue following a strenuous workout. Neuromuscular therapy disperses the lactic acid, so the deficient muscle can begin to accept a clean supply of oxygen and blood flow.

During your first neuromuscular therapy session, you may be surprised when you feel some discomfort and pain during the massage. This is normal at first, and as the massage therapist adds more pressure to their stroke the muscle spasm will melt away. After a few neuromuscular therapy massages, clients will often claim that the pressure was painful, but in a good way.

Typically, before a neuromuscular therapy massage begins, the practitioner will tell the client to alert them immediately if the pressure is too painful. The therapist will often check in with their client during the massage to ask if the stroke pressure is too light, too hard, or comfortable. The therapist will then adjust their pressure according to their client’s verbal cues.

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What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy techniques use negative pressure, rather than tissue compression, superior bodywork ranging from MFR and deep tissue work to MLD is easily accomplished. The suction of the cups rapidly facilitates rigid soft tissue release by stretching it up from underlying structures, thus loosening areas of adhesion or restriction, activating muscle spindle reflexes that relax contractile tissue and retraining the myofacial structures. Further, it stimulates the nervous system reflex to the cerebral cortex, contributing to an increased rate of recovery from pain and disease.

The effects are remarkable on hypertonicity and aching muscles and activate the secretion of synovial fluids, which release joint stiffness in ways not possible using the pressure of traditional massage. It concurrently creates localized expansion of tissue, producing a profound vasodilatation reaction - drawing blood flow to areas of ischemic pain, raising skin temperature, promoting metabolism within the skin tissue for better functioning of sweat and sebaceous glands, flushing capillary beds, draining stagnant blood, toxins and lymph, and re-supplying vital nutrients.

Its use in beauty therapy is based around promoting hormone production, encouraging blood and the secretion of digestive fluids and increased peristaltic movements in the bowels and internal organs, thus removing harmful toxins that speed up the ageing process and other degenerative conditions. Another effective application of the cupping technique is in the treatment of cellulite. A very light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or “dimpling.” The thighs and hip region should be cupped prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of topical products. Another application of Negative Pressure Massage include an extraordinary face lift and drainage treatment.

For more information go to http://www.cuppingtherapy.org/

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What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.

Craniosacral therapy encourages the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease.

Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it's effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.


How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?

Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth--which make up the cranium--down to the sacrum or tailbone.

Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

What conditions does CranioSacral Therapy address?

  • Migraines and Headaches

  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain

  • Stress and Tension-Related Disorders

  • Motor-Coordination Impairments

  • Infant and Childhood Disorders

  • Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Fibromyalgia

  • TMJ Syndrome

  • Scoliosis

  • Central Nervous System Disorders

  • Learning Disabilities

  • ADD/ADHD

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Orthopedic Problems

  • And Many Other Conditions

For more information go to http://www.upledger.com/

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What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep Tissue/deep-muscle massage releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue and fascia. These techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology.

Deep tissue massage is a form of intense massage that aims to release myofascial (connective tissue) restrictions in the body, and to break up any restrictive scar tissue. It helps relieve chronic muscular pain, increase range of motion, improve posture, injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis and to enhance the natural harmony of the entire body and mind.


Deep tissue massage is also restores the length and flexibility to the fascia (the fibrous tissue that surrounds the muscles and organs), by normalizing the tissue and by improving the strength and overall health of the entire fascial system (connective tissues throughout the entire body).

Deep tissue massage borrows many of its techniques from traditional Swedish massage. However the pressure that a massage therapist applies during a deep tissue massage is more intense. The strokes of this type of massage are slower and more pressure is applied in order to warm the muscle tissue and reach the deeper layers of muscle. A deep connective tissue massage is often less relaxing and less comfortable then a traditional Swedish massage. Most practitioners ask that their clients tell them immediately if the stroke pressure is too intense.

During a session, the massage therapist will focus on releasing tension from the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia (or connective tissues) with deep, intense strokes. When a therapist locates a chronic knot (also referred to as an adhesion), they will often recommend that a client adapt a total lifestyle change - which may include exercises to help improve posture, balance, movement, and relaxation. These steps are complementary to your regular deep connective tissue massage sessions.

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What Is Sports Massage?

Sports massage is a form of massage that utilizes specific strokes to help athletes obtain maximum performance and physical conditioning by increasing power, endurance, and mobility—both before and after an event or exercise.

Who Can Benefit?

Sports massage is particularly beneficial when an athlete is in training for an event. It’s also helpful for anyone who routinely stretches physical limits through movement. Swimmers, weight lifters, runners, golfers, ball players, skaters, dancers, tennis players, musicians, and boxers, as well as weekend warriors and those who practice strength training or aerobics, have benefited from sports massage.

How Is Sports Massage Administered?

Sports massage should be a regular part of every athlete’s training program. Athletes have different massage needs at different times. There are three basic categories:

Pre-Event: A quick treatment (rhythmic pumping) is a supplement to warm-up. It boosts circulation and increases flexibility and range of motion, thereby reducing muscle pain and soreness, leaving muscles relaxed and ready for action. Pre-event massage can help prevent muscle and tendon injuries and reduce the strain and discomfort of training. It also can be a great psychological advantage in competition.

Post-Event: Recovery after a competition involves not only the normalization and repair of tissue, but also general relaxation and mental calming. Post-event sports massage increases circulation to quicken the removal of fatigue toxins, relieve muscle spasms, and prevent soreness. It is used to assist athletes in recovery and in regaining their pre-event condition by relaxing tight, fatigued muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Training: Throughout training and rigorous regular athletic activity, massage helps prevent injuries. Areas of muscular stress can result from repetitive or stressful motion and are typically precursors to injury. Sports massage assists in relieving muscular stress and preventing injuries, enabling harder and more consistent training. Adequate recovery is also a major factor in avoiding nagging minor injuries that inhibit maximum performance.

What Are The Common Causes Of Sports Injuries?

Injuries are commonly experienced when an individual has overtrained, fails to sufficiently warm up, receives trauma, or has muscular imbalances, poor flexibility, mineral deficiencies, inadequate endurance, or simply does too much too soon. Insufficient muscle strength and poor muscle tone may also lead to injury or a muscle tear.

How Can Sports Massage Help In Rehabilitation?

Sports massage can accelerate the healing process, increase range of motion, reduce adhesions, and reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Areas of stress in other muscles, created through compensating for an injury, can be eased with a regular sports massage regimen. Sports massage can partially compensate for lack of exercise during inactivity while recovering from injury. Sports massage is also used to relieve muscular spasms and fatigue-related injuries.

Why Is Sports Massage Recommended?

Sports massage is more than just a reward at the end of a workout. It is a vital tool for keeping athletes primed for top performance and even lengthening their careers. Recognized as an important part of a regular maintenance program, sports massage is widely used by individuals, teams, and Olympic and professional athletes.

What Areas Will Be Massaged?

Sports massage may focus on specific muscles used in your sport or fitness activity. For example, areas of greater stress for runners and cyclists are the legs and lower back; for swimmers, the upper body.

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What is Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage refers to specific massage techniques that have been shown to reduce pregnancy discomforts and to enhance the physiological and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. Pregnancy is a tumultuous period for a womans mind and body. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and easing pain and anxiety. Any woman who has been pregnant can sympathize with the mental and physical fatigue associated with being pregnant. Not only does a woman experience physical changes, she also experiences mental changes as well. Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions, and contraindications is highly recommended, and many practitioners require referrals from physicians prior to therapy especially for high risk clients.
 

What is Post-Pregnancy Massage?

In the postpartum period, specialized massage techniques can help to rebalance the structure of a woman’s body by improving skin elasticity and muscle tone. Massage also has a physiological effect on a new mother; it can help ease any postpartum depression and encourage her to bond with her new baby.


In all cases, a pregnant or post-pregnant woman should always ask their doctor if massage therapy is recommended before seeking a massage therapist.

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What is Infant Massage?

Infant massage incorporates nurturing touch, massage and reflexology to promote the baby's health. Infant massage enhances child development, including brain, physical, emotional, mental and social development.

This specialized form of touch is effective not only in the critical weight-gain of premature infants, but also in creating a strong bond between parent and infant and exposing a young child to the benefits and pleasures of touch.

Setting aside just a few minutes a day to give your baby a massage should be a part of every new parent’s schedule. The benefits are ever-lasting for both you and baby. Massage can soothe a baby that’s exhausted from crying numerous times throughout the day (we all know how emotionally and physically exhausting crying can be), it will also help relieve colic, circulatory problems or digestive ailments. It can also help releive joint and flexibility issues. I used infant massage myself for my daughter's hip dysplasia, over only a few months it was completely corrected. Infant massages should be tailored to each individual baby's needs by a qualified instructor.

Baby massage is equally important for new moms and dads, who are a bit nervous handling a first baby. New dads will often claim that they’re afraid to hold their new baby or change them because they’re scared to hurt or drop them. Well, regular massages will help your baby become familiar with your touch and help you become comfortable with handling your baby. Soon you will learn how to handle this new joy with love and confidence.

When you prepare to give baby a massage it’s important to set a relaxing setting, just as it is with adult massage. Try the following:

  • Studies show that infants respond to music, just like adults do. Set a calming environment by playing some soft meditative music in the background. Music will also reduce any distractive noises.

  • The same goes for smell. Babies respond to the gentle smells of essential oils as well.

  • Be sure the room is warm enough for your baby to be nude. If its not, turn up the thermostat, or warm their baby blanket in the dryer.

  • Cover your massage area with a washable quilt or a fluffy towel. This will mop up any massage oils so they don’t leave a mess.

  • Use your favorite baby oil or lotion for lubrication. If you’re not sure what to use, try gentle unscented oil such as grapeseed oil.

  • Have diaper powder and a clean diaper handy for post-massage.

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What Is Hot Stone or Hot Rock Massage?stone massage

Hot stone massage uses heated basalt stones to soothe and relax.

Hot stone massage is a specialty massage that uses smooth, heated stones. They are often basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat well. It is a deeply soothing, relaxing form of massage. The heat helps tight muscles release.

What Happens During a Hot Stone Massage?

*Before you arrive, the massage therapist sanitizes the stones and heats them in 120 to 150 degree water.

* The therapist uses traditional strokes of Swedish massage while holding a heated stone. As the stone cools, the therapist replaces it with another.

* The therapist might also leave heated stones in specific points along your spine, or in the palms of your hand, or even between your toes to improve the flow of energy in your body.

* If you have inflammation or muscle injury, cold stones are sometimes used.

How Much Does a Hot Stone Massage Cost?

A hot stone massage is more expensive than other massages, because it requires more preparation and clean-up and usually runs longer.

What You Need To Know About Hot Stone Massage:

* The therapist uses many stones of various shapes and sizes.

* The heat of the stones helps muscles release more quickly than in traditional massage.

* You should speak up if the stones are too warm or the pressure too intense.

* Technique is very important. Less experienced practitioners sometimes allow the stones to get too hot or don't keep them moving long enough and this can cause burns.

*Hot stones warmed by fire were used by Native Americans to feel better, but Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona, is generally credited with its revival. She trademarked her style, called LaStone Therapy. Most spas offer their own versions of hot stone massage.

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What is Swedish Massage?

Traditional Swedish massage was introduced by Swedish physiologist, Henri Peter Ling, in Stockholm, Sweden in the year 1812. This massage technique is characterized by its firm, yet calming pressure that improves blood circulation, eases muscle tension, and improves flexibility.

Today, a Western-style Swedish massage still employs a series of long, gliding strokes, kneading of the muscles, and vibrational taps that are so common when one thinks of massage. A Swedish masseuse will also create friction and do what’s called hacking or tapping across a clients back and shoulders to promote the release of tension. Five basic strokes gliding, kneading, vibrations, friction and hacking are all applied in the direction of the heart in order to encourage blood circulation and the disposal of bodily waste.

A Swedish massage therapist will always use massage oils to achieve the smooth, long and deep strokes over their client’s body. Therapists apply the oil to reduce friction, and essential oils are sometimes used in order to tap into a clients olphactory senses (sense of smell). During a Swedish massage a sheet is worn, otherwise the client is nude. However, body parts are only uncovered when they are being massaged.

Sports massage is a direct descendant of Swedish massage because both techniques help heal injuries like muscle sprain and spasms. Many of the techniques of sports massage such as strokes applied in the direction of the heart are borrowed from Swedish massage. This technique is just as important for athletes as it is for relaxation - the body is encouraged to disperse lactic acids in the muscles in order to make room for a fresh supply of blood and oxygen.

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