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The Massage Lab offers the SlimStim compression massage
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Compression Massage Technique
Compression massage is one of several therapeutic massage techniques used for sports massage therapy, medical massage therapy and other prescriptions of massage for optimal performance, improved mobility and treatment of pain or discomfort. Compression massage can be characterized as rhythmic compression into muscles used to create a deep hypremia (an increased amount of blood in the vessels of an organ or tissue in the body) and softening effect in the tissues. It is generally used as a warm-up for deeper, more specific massage work.
What is Compression Massage?
Compression is an effective massage technique performed by laying hands over a muscle area and pushing down onto the tissues. Hands are then lifted and moved to a different area and then repeated. The pressure of compressions can range from light to very deep. Compressions can also be performed with a slight rocking movement that can encourage the parasympathetic nervous system and promote relaxation.
The compression technique applies pressure onto muscles, it is then held and released. This technique is then repeated. Compressions are used within many different types of massages including Swedish, therapeutic and deep tissue massages.
Benefits of Compression Massage
Compression, as a massage technique, has many benefits including relaxation, improved circulation and recovery. When compressions are performed on the muscles, it stimulates affects the parasympathetic nervous system and is able to alter mood and produce feelings of relaxation.
Compressions also help to improve circulation into the muscles by initially restricting the blood flow which then encourage a larger amount of blood to the area. Improved blood circulation in the muscles is beneficial to improving tissue conditions and preparing muscles for activity- beneficial for treatments before an athletic event. An additional benefit of compression massage is for increasing healing to damaged tissues and speeding up recovery. Compressions accelerate the healing process by increasing oxygen and nutrients into the tissues. Oxygen and nutrients can work to repair and heal any damaged cells.
Compressions provide LONG LASTING RESULTS:
Hypertonic muscles soften and lengthen.
Muscles are flushed with interstitial stasis reduced.
Released histamines dilate capillaries with increased cellular nutrition.
Muscles fire faster with increased amounts of acetylcholine.
Muscle lesions heal faster with increased collagen production.
Stretching muscle fibers increases capillerization.
Fascia is rejuvenated and enlivened.
Range of motion and freedom of movement increase.
Myofascial pain and secondary autonomic phenomena caused by trigger points is usually eliminated.
“Massage therapy has a limited arsenal of therapeutic remedies. The massage practitioner can count only on different forms of pressure (including vibration), stretching, and the activation of temperature receptors. Between these three modalities, pressure is the main therapeutic tool, with stretching and temperature receptors’ activation playing a supportive role in the treatment.”
- Ross Turchaninov, M.D. MASSAGE & BODYWORK, October/November 2000
POWERS OF COMPRESSION –expanded explanation:
Compressions fire the stretch reflex – hypertonic muscles relax. Pressure applied by foot or hand stretches spindle cells and triggers a reflexive contraction. This contraction protects the muscle from being over-stretched and it’s followed by general relaxation of the muscle.
Compressions initially constrict muscle fibers and capillaries – metabolites (byproducts of muscles doing work) are eliminated.
Momentary reflexive tightening of the muscle (the stretch reflex) compresses venous and lymph channels. This tightening forces metabolites out of muscle tissue and prevents tissue irritation caused by the stasis of lactic, hyaluronic and carbonic acids.
Compressions release histamines that dilate capillaries – increased cellular nutrition results.
Compressions cause local ischemia (pressure to blanching) and, when released, this “emptying” causes a return flooding of blood into the treated area. The dilation of the arterioles and capillaries is caused, in part, by a histamine release. This increased arterial blood flow, evinced by a superficial redness (hyperemia), feeds and oxygenates at the cellular level. The histamine release is caused by the *irritant effect of the compressions. “Reserve” capillaries enhancing cellular nutrition are also called into play by the ischemic compression.
*Note – As regards histamine release, all massage strokes, even though they feel good, are “irritants”.
Compressions release acetylcholine – faster nerve firing results.
Acetylcholine formation following compression massage intensifies the contractility of skeletal muscles. Acetylcholine concentrates on the neuromuscle junction and facilitates fast action potentials …a real boon for pre-event sports massage. This action can also play a role in relieving spasticity.
Compressions accelerate healing – procollagen fiber formation is stimulated.
“Mechanical stimuli in the form of massage or any other type of soft-tissue mobilization repetitively applied to the place of injury are able to increase collagen production by the stimulation of fibroblasts’ functions and by attracting new cells from neighboring areas. The correct orientation of collagen fibers is an equally important element. Are mechanical stimuli somehow able to affect this process as well? We should answer this question positively. Numerous scientific reports support this conclusion.” – Dr. Ross Turchaninov, Therapeutic Massage: A Scientific Approach 1.
Note – Dr. Turchaninov compiled and analyzed recent scientific research studies as to pressure’s effect on cellular and sub-cellular levels. We highly recommend Dr. Turchaninov’s publications. Medical Massage, Vol. I, 1998 and Therapeutic Massage: A Scientific Approach, 2000.
Active or passive post-compression stretches – improves circulation and capillarization.
Stretching creates a mechanical effect on the myogenic tone of vascular walls. This results in a vasoconstriction during the stretch that changes to a vasodilatation when the stretch is released. Turchainov reports research that noted up to a 30% increase in blood circulation in passively stretched muscles. This stretching also results in increased capillarization.
Compressions stretch and distort the ground substance of deep and superficial fascia – increases range of motion and tissue rejuvenation … delays senescence.
Prolonged compressions heat, stretch and energize ground substance. The extra energy (primarily in the form of heat) is absorbed by the ground substance. It transforms this fascial component from 'gel' (a semi-solid state) towards 'sol' (a more fluid, youthful form).
Pain-free movement – ischemic pressure inhibits/ eliminates trigger points.
Pressure to blanching at the trigger point creates a local hypoxia followed by a reactive hyperemia. Micro-circulation is restored and the trigger point is eradicated. Micro-hemorrhaging also eventuates in increased metabolic function.
Prolonged deep compressions result in vagal tonus and parasympathetic dominance – altered mood (hypnogogic trance) and an improved healing state results.
Mechanical compressions of Ruffini nerve endings transduce endogenous morphines and other neurotransmitters of altered states.