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Glossary of Terms


Active Release Technique (ART)

This treatment method involves active movement and manipulation to remove scar tissue in soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments and/or tendons. Treatment can feel uncomfortable during the movement phase however, most patients feel a good pain which will subside after treatment. This soft tissue treatment was developed by a Chiropractor named P. Michael Leahy.


A binding together of two anatomical surfaces that are normally separate. It frequently occurs in muscle and connective tissue after trauma or with chronic tension.



This percussion massage technique is applied with a lightly closed fist using the bottom of the fist as the striking surface; effective for stimulation.

Bowen Technique

This technique is a gentle form of rhythmic massage using specific movements and muscle positions, tendons and nerve sheaths, effective in relieving discomfort. It was developed by an Australian named Tom Bowen. It works best if used full body; however, some may opt to have treatment in a specific area of the body.


Chair Massage

Chair Massages are performed in a specially designed chair that allows access to the back, neck and shoulder area. It may use oil, and the chairs are portable to allow easy transportation for mobile onsite massages.


A massage technique that employs a gradual compressing of your muscle tissue followed by a gradual reduction of pressure. It is used to increase circulation.

Craniosacral Therapy

A light, nonintrusive and hands-on therapy technique for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause sensory, motor or intellectual dysfunction. This method seeks to improve the function of your nervous system while eliminating the effects of stress and enhancing overall health.


Deep Tissue Therapy

An area-specific massage that gets to the deeper layers of muscle and fascia. This deeper pressure massage uses more specific techniques to alleviate and heal muscular pain and soreness. It is great for those who want greater pressure to knead away muscle tension from injury, job stress, repetitive strain and athletic wear and tear.



This is a stroke generally used in a Swedish massage treatment. A smooth, gliding touch is used to relax soft tissue and is applied using both hands.

Energy Balancing

This therapy works with the life force to bring about the healing of body, mind and spirit through the art of science of consciousness-oriented touch.

Equine Massage

A specialised form of massage therapy developed to treat horses. Competitive riders and horse owners alike know the advantage of regular hands-on massage treatments that maximize the potential of their horses. Equine massage increases circulation, relieves tension, relaxes muscle spasms, enhances muscle tone and increases range of motion in high-performance horses.



This layer or sheet of connective tissue connects the various structures and organs of the body. There are two types of fascia: superficial, and deep. Some fascia is simple sheets, while others are complex and multi-layered.


The deepest of Swedish massage strokes, friction encompasses deep, circular movements applied to soft tissue. It causes the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other, resulting in an increase of blood flow to the treatment area.


There are no terms that begin with the letter “G”.


Hot Stone Massage

This form of treatment uses dark volcanic rock with iron that is heated by water to absorb and retain heat. The stones are then placed on the energy centers of the body in hopes to ground the body, remove tension in the nervous system and improve circulation. Hot stones have been used in healing for thousands of years.


This term literally means water therapy. The knowledge of water’s healing properties dates to the ancient Greeks. Hydrotherapy is commonly used today to facilitate healing. Treatment is administered in many forms, such as running water, ice, heat packs, aquatic massage, hot stone massage, Scotch hoses, Swiss showers, underwater massage, thalassotherapy, Vichy treatments, herbal baths, warm pool exercise and Kneipp therapy, to name but a few.

Holistic Massage

Treats the body as a whole and does not concentrate on only a troubled area.


Indian Head Massage

This massage type (also known under brand name term Champissage™) originates from the ancient Ayurvedic system of healing in India dating back thousands of years. Narendra Mehta introduced Indian massage to the western world in the 1970s. This therapy is widely practiced in Europe and uses oils to treat the head, neck, face and shoulders while clothed and in a seated position. The objective is to relieve tension and stress while clearing the energy channels and any blockages of negative energy. Such obstructions can lead to stress, nociception and hair loss. Indian head massage is part of the cultural fabric of daily practice for Indian families, giving relaxation and healing.

Infant Massage

This treatment method teaches parents how to massage their infants. Neonatal units in hospitals often use infant massage to assist in weight gain of premature infants. It also helps build a strong intimate bond between parent and child.

Integrated Massage Therapy (IMT)

Integrated massage therapy (IMT) combines bodywork and conscious psychotherapeutic work in treatment. Issues are identified in bones, connective tissue and various systems of the body such as circulatory, immune and nervous. IMT combines 20,000 individual yet interrelated techniques that have an osteopathic undertone. They are organized into a systems approach that encourages the body to continue to work on healing itself even after a single session. A treatment plan is designed, and patients remain fully clothed during the session. Gentle pressures, extensions and rotations are systematically applied to release blockages and correct other dysfunctions.


This polypeptide hormone secreted by the islet of Langerhans in the pancreas helps regulate blood glucose and its storage as glycogen, as well as the storage of fats as neutral lipids while promoting protein synthesis.

Intestinal Permeability

This term describes the control of material passing from inside the gastrointestinal tract through the cells lining the gut wall and into the rest of the body. The intestine normally exhibits some permeability, allowing nutrients to pass through the gut while maintaining a barrier function. This barrier keeps potentially harmful substances (such as antigens) from leaving the intestine and migrating to the rest of the body.


A dimension of personality primarily characterized by inhibition, particularly in social situations.

Islet of Langerhans

The irregular clusters of endocrine cells scattered throughout the pancreas that secrete insulin and glucagon.


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La Stone Massage

A form of thermotherapy massage, this technique incorporates the use of hot, smooth stones. The result is deep relaxation and healing for the body, mind and soul.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

This contemporary Western massage was developed in France in the 1930s by Danish physical therapist Dr Vodder. It consists of various manipulations that stimulate the lymphatic drainage of various organs and tissues. Manual lymphatic drainage aims to eliminate bacteria, excess water, toxins, viruses and wastes while addressing blocks in lymphatic circulation that may cause congestion or peripheral oedema. Four basic techniques are used: stationary circles, rotation, pumping and scooping. It is followed by stroking the tissues towards the sites of normal lymphatic drainage. Manual lymphatic drainage has been used for various conditions including acne, burns, arthritis, oedema, inflammation and sinusitis.


Myofascial Release Therapy

This form of bodywork is manipulative in nature and seeks to rebalance the body by releasing tension in the fascia. Light touches and pulls are used in conjunction with long, stretching strokes to help release muscle tension in an area of the body.


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This technique involves squeezing, kneading and rolling the muscles, usually following effleurage during a Swedish massage.

Prenatal Massage

A relaxation massage focusing on specific areas of common soreness during pregnancy. It can help low back pain, alleviate swelling, hip soreness/sciatica and aid in maintaining a calm environment for the best possible foetal development.


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The reflex points in the hands and feet are worked on to balance, revitalize and detoxify while reducing stress and increasing circulation.


The universal life force combines with the natural intelligence of the body and mind to protect and preserve your health and boost your wellbeing. It uses a light, nonintrusive touch.


A joint mobilisation technique in which a body part is moved rhythmically from side to side or back and forth; may accompany compression.


Shiatsu Massage

With the pressure from fingers and palms, this massage is performed through the clothing to improve the flow of the body’s energy pathways. Some stretching is also used to relieve stiff muscles, improve circulation and alleviate stress.

Soft Tissue Release (STR)

STR complements other techniques used during a massage session. It is administered by applying and maintaining pressure, or ‘locking’ into the relevant tissues while simultaneously stretching away aligning fibres.

Strain/Counter Strain

This set of techniques relieves musculoskeletal spasm and pain. A passive procedure, it places the body or limb into the position of greatest comfort. This process reduces or stops the inappropriate nervous system activity that maintains the muscle spasm. Normalisation of both muscle tone and joint function usually accompany the release or elimination of pain that result.

Sports Massage

Used to treat those from sports injuries such as sprains/strains, ligament damage and fractured extremities.

Swedish Massage

A variety of long strokes, kneading, circular motion and vibration are used to work on the whole body, especially the limbs and back. Swedish massage can increase venous and lymphatic flow and reduce tension while boosting your balance, vitality and wellbeing.



This technique is executed with the edge of the hand, cupped hands or fingers, using short, alternating taps to an area of the body.

Thai Massage

This type of massage utilises passive stretching with gentle pressure applied to the body’s energy lines to increase flexibility, balance the body’s energy systems and relieve muscle and joint tension.

Therapeutic Massage

Used to alleviate acute and chronic pain. Often, trigger points and facilitated stretching are utilised.


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A dynamic state of health in which a person strives for optimal body-mind functioning


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Performance Chiropractic | (757) 229-4161 | Massage Therapy