Student therapists at Moore Career College are taught nearly a dozen different massage modalities, or types of massage. We focus on three primary modalities: Swedish; Deep Tissue; and Neuromuscular Therapy. Those three are what may be available in Student Clinics.

Swedish Massage

…is classic relaxation full-body massage. Using light pressure (about 4 pounds of pressure), techniques include gliding strokes, kneading, and cross-fiber friction to break up knots in muscle (adhesions). It can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on what the therapist needs to achieve. Students are limited as to how much pressure they’re allowed to apply. It’s been around since the early 19th century, though under a different name. The man who formalized it as a discipline was Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish physiologist and fencing master. He developed Medical Gymnastics, a system of movements administered by a therapist. They became known as Swedish Movements in Europe, and The Swedish Movement Cure when they came to the American in 1858. Today we simply call it Swedish Massage.

Deep Tissue Massage

…is full-body massage, aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia (connective tissue). Using many of the same techniques as Swedish Massage, pressure will generally be more intense, starting at about 16 pounds (though not applied everywhere on the body). The therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots. Though not designed to hurt, it tends to be less comfortable than Swedish Massage. Ask the therapist to use less pressure if it’s too much for you. Drink plenty of water before and after a session to help flush lactic acid out of the tissues.  If you don’t, you may feel nausea soon after the massage, and muscle soreness the next day. Soreness is possible even if you drink ample water, but that doesn’t mean that the therapist did something wrong. It means you had a lot of waste products flushed out of the tissues. Soreness will pass in a few days. If you ask for more pressure, thinking that if the therapist pushes hard enough that all your knots will magically disappear, they won’t. Not every problem can be solved in an hour. Undoing a lifetime’s chronic knots and tension is best achieved with an integration of exercise, work on your posture and ways of moving, relaxation techniques, and a regular program of massage. Gentler modalities may produce essentially the same results.

Neuromuscular Therapy

…is a specialized variant of massage, often called Trigger Point Massage. It’s a form of acupressure (think of acupuncture, but using fingers instead of needles.) Unlike Swedish or Deep Tissue massage, NMT is not full-body massage. NMT retrains muscles, improves posture, and treats sources of pain. Trigger points are referred pains causing painful points located within taut bands of muscle, hypertonicity (muscles in a state of abnormally high tension), and are treated primarily with the application of sustained, usually static pressure (sometimes called acupressure). Pressure may vary from very light to heavy, based on the stage of development of the trigger point. We commonly address between 2 and 4 different points of pain in a single session.  Through the softening of trigger points, NMT may reduce chronic pain, increase range of motion, and correct postural distortions. Effective practice of NMT is based on the physiology of the nervous system, and its effect on the muscular and skeletal systems, which includes a knowledge of kinesiology and biomechanics.