Types of Massage (A)

Acupressure– Ancient healing art that uses fingers to stimulate key points along the meridians to activate the healing response. 

Acupressure and Acupuncture use the same points but acupressure does not use needles.  Symptoms are considered to be an expression of the condition of the body as a whole. ( Holding a point on your foot may assist in relieving a digestive problem.)  It is believed that tension in the muscles blocks the flow of energy (chi) not only in the muscles but in the associated internal organs.
Web resources:
American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association

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Alexander Technique -Developed by F. Mathis Alexander (1869-1955) an Australian actor in the early 1900’s.  Alexander developed the technique to assist in voice projection as he had lost his voice on stage before an audience.  Doctor’s treatments failed, so he began investigating what he might be doing that brings it on.  He found that he tightened certain neck muscles when he talked which he found to be damaging to his voice. Alexander believed our natural functioning is impeded by faulty habitual patterns of thought and movement which are transmitted via the nervous system to the musculature causing inappropriate tension and distortion in the musculo-skeletal system.  According to Alexander, all movement flows from one basic movement- the lengthening of the spine.  It is not a system of exercises, but rather a learning process in which the student becomes able to identify and inhibit the faulty patterns. Training to become a teacher is 3 years.


Web resources
 American Society for the Alexander technique

www.alexandertechnique.com -Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique

Pub Med Searches

Anma massage- general form of Chinese Qigong massage which uses 361 energy points or (tsubos). “an” means press: “mo” means rub; “anma” means massage.

AMMA Therapy – (translation: Push, Pull) Developed by Tina Sohn.  The technique uses deep tissue, friction and touch along the meridians to stimulate healing. Tina Sohn has discovered some powerful energetic points. The therapy also uses detoxification, herbs, vitamins and therapeutic exercises.
Book resources:
Amma Therapy by Tina SohnDecember 1996)
Healing Arts Pr; ISBN: 0892814888

Web resources:
AMMA Homepage

Applied Kinesiology (AK) – (not to be confused with traditional academic kinesiolgy- the study of how muscles move)  Discovered by George Goodheart, a chiropractor in Detroit MI in 1964.  AK uses muscle testing to evaluate and restore balance to the body. 

Muscle testing evaluates the quality of the muscle response not the strength. Muscle groups share energy pathways with internal organs and therefore  every organ dysfunction appears in related muscles. Muscle weakness can be a result of misalignment, nutritional deficiencies and allergies. AK also uses nutrition, manipulation, diet, acupressure, exercise and education.
Also see Touch for Health, a simplified version of applied kinesiology.
See Kinesiology for more information.
Book Resources:
Applied Kinesiology by Tom and Carol Valentine
Applied Kinesiology: A Training Manual and Reference Book of Basic Principles and Practices by Robert Frost, George Goodheart 1st edition (March 21, 2002) Publishers Group West; ISBN: 1556433743
Web Resources:
International College of Applied Kinesiolgy

Aromatherapy–  The use of essential oils which are extracted from herbs, flowers, resins, woods and roots  which produce a  therapeutic aroma to stimulate healing. Aromatherapy may be used with massage or done alone.  The quality of the oil is what makes the difference. Oils that are distilled from wild or organic plants are the best and also most expensive. Essential oils are often diluted with other  filler substances to make them more affordable and hence less effective. Some of the effects that oils produce include relaxation, energy stimulation, immune system support, hormone stimulation and increased circulation. Many oils are also found to be anti-bacterial and anti-viral.  A good aromatherapist will have many years of training and experience.  There is much to know about which species of plants are best for what situations.  If someone is saying they are doing aromatherapy, check their schooling, credentials and experience.
Book Resources:
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
Fragrant Mind by Valerie Ann Worwood ISBN: 1880032910

Web resources: See also the aromatherapy section here.
National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists


Aston-Patterning– Developed in 1977 by Judith Aston, a former Rolfer who developed structural patterning for the Rolf Institute. She has a background in dance and movement education, but was really drawn to bodywork because of 2 auto accidents she was in.  Combines movement coaching, education, bodywork, ergonomics and  fitness to unwind the body.  The bodywork is a form of myofascial release and the sessions are followed up with movement to maintain the changes. The treatment is done with the clients body in the position of the least amount of stress. Her theory is based on the idea that the body is not symmetrical as Ida Rolf supports.  Rather, the body is asymmetrical with internal organs that are on different sides and muscle strength is different on each side due to brain dominance.  The work attempts to respect the asymmetry and allow it to move rather than try to change it. The certification program has a three level format that includes movement and bodywork.

Aquatic Therapy

Ayurvedic Massage– Ayurvedic is a system of health and medicine used in India. Ayurveda means “life knowledge” or “right living”. The basic theory is that there are there basic bodytypes or tridoshas. There are three different types of massage for each tridosha. They have a system similar to meridians called Marmas. There are about 100 of these points and are said to be the source of the vital life force. There is one type of massage that is part of detoxification system from India called Pancha Karma, in which the body is cleansed inside and out to remove toxins. Most use Sesame oil which has a heating and stimulating quality.
Web resources:
National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine– Scott Gerson, M