Swedish Massage Glossary of Terms
Active assisted movement– Movement
in a joint in which both the client and therapist produce the motion together.
Active free movement– Movement
of a joint freely through its range of motion, unassisted: done by client
Acute-signs and symptoms happen
quickly, last a short amount of time and then disappear.
Adhesion– Abnormal adherence of
collagen fibers within connective tissue to surrounding structures
following trauma or stress; as a result of surgery. restrict the
normal elasticity of these structures as well as the transfer of electrolytes
and other fluids.
Autonomic Nervous System–
The body system that regulates involuntary body functions such as action
of glands, smooth muscles and the heart. It consists of the sympathetic
and parasympathetic nervous system.
Atrophy– Wasting away or decrease
in size of something, due to disease or other factors such as nutrition
or lack of use.
Beating – a form of heavy tapotement
usually using the fist.
Chronic– disease or condition that
develops slowly and lasts for a long time.
Compression– Massage petrissage
stroke, applied with fist, palm, heel of hand or fingertips; used to spread
tissue against underlying structures; can vary in pace and depth.
Connective tissue– The most abundant
type of tissue in the body, providing support, structure, framework, space,
stabilization and scar formation; binds structures together.
Contraindications– factors that
indicate that the treatment is not advised, unless further evaluation by
a physician can recommend a treatment plan.
Desquamation– The shedding of epethelial
tissue; mainly the skin as in exfoliation.
Effleurage– gliding stroke; does
not access the muscle layer; following the fiber direction of the underlying
Friction– circular or transverse
technique that focuses on the underlying tissue.
Gate Theory– A hypothetical mechanism
that diminishes pain. There is a gate through which pain impulses
travel. Pain signals travel to the Central nervous system on unmyelinated
nerve pathways, which are a slower route to the brain. Pressure,
touch, vibration, and temperature signals travel on the faster myelinated
nerve pathways. These signals will arrive first and block out the
sensation of pain.
Golgi Tendon Receptors– receptors
in the tendons that sense tension; found mostly near the junction of tendons
and muscles. It will trigger a central nervous system response which
will inhibit muscular contraction when the tendon is in danger of tearing
due to excessive tension.
Hyperemia– an excess of blood in
an area or body part; usually indicated by red, flushed color or heat in
Hyperesthesia– Unusual sensitivity
to sensory stimulus, hyper irritalbility, or increased muscular sensitivity
Hypertonicity– Excess muscle
Hypertrophy– An increased size in
muscle or thickening of muscle tissue in response to increases stress.
Inflammation– characterized by pain,
heat, redness, swelling; usually as a result of an injury or infection.
Ischemia– Local and temporary
decrease in blood flow to an area.
Kneading– Petrissage; rhythmical
lifting of tissue; rolling or squeezing; pulling away from underlying tissue.
Mechanical Effect– based on structural
changes in the tissue; primary effects created manually; as a direct result
of the application of the technique.
Myofascial– affecting the connective
tissue of the body
Muscle spasm– a non-voluntary contraction
of the motor unit of a muscle; usually causing a contraction without shortening
the muscle; can be a result of mental, physical, emotional, chemical stress.
Peristalsis– Successive muscular
contractions along the wall of a hollow muscular structure such as the
movement of food through the intestine and colon.
Petrissage– kneading; rhythmic rolling,
lifting, squeezing, wringing of sort tissue.
Proprioceptor– a receptor located
in muscles, tendons or joints that provides information about body movement
Reflexive effect– secondary effects
that occur as a result of the massage technique but we do not cause directly
Scar tissue– tissue that results
from healing of wounds; It is composed of collagenous fibers which will
restrict normal elasticity of tissue involved.
Stroke- a technique of therapeutic
massage; applying to the surface or deeper structures of the body.
Tapotement– percussive movement
that are applied to the body, rhythmically.
Vibration– fine, coarse tremulus
movement that creates reflexive responses