Chair massage, which is also referred to as seated or “on-site” massage, is a brief body massage session during which the patient lays face down on a specially designed massage chair. While in the chair, the patient’s neck, back, shoulders, arms and hips are all accessible to the therapist. Sessions can last anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.
Chair massage was originally developed by David Palmer, who in 1986 was the first to create a specially designed massage chair that could be taken to on-site massage sessions. Since its development massage chairs have been popping up all over the market and have expanded into health food stores, store fronts, health fairs, airplanes and airports, sports events and many other locations.
Palmer developed the chair massage to help ease the daily strain that many office workers feel. If you have ever sat behind a desk all day staring at a computer screen you know what he's talking about. This kind of office environment can lead to back pain, neck stiffness, tense shoulders, aching wrists, and the worst symptom of all which is bad circulation. Most of the aching symptoms that occur at work are caused by a loss of circulation which happens when people are sitting in a desk chair all day. This can lead to mental fogginess, decreased energy, and sore and stiff muscles, as well as more serious injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Chair massage increases the body’s circulation once again, restoring energy and helping to limit any office related repetitive-stress injuries. Since chair therapy is quick and can be easily brought to the office space, it’s a very relaxing, much need break at work. It will improve your overall well-being by reducing stress, boosting your mental alertness and creativity.
There are some benefits of chair massages as opposed to conventional massages on massage tables. Firstly, the massage is done through the clothing. This saves people the time of undressing and any embarrassment they might feel. Because the massage is completed through the clothing, it involves no messy massage oils or creams. It’s simply a direct massage of the muscle tissues to relieve stress and pain. Chair massage is convenient because with the mobility of the chair, the massage can come to you wherever you are. It can be brought into a person’s home or office and since it doesn’t take as long as traditional massages, anyone can find time to get a massage. The massage makes people feel safe because it can be done right out in the open as complete privacy isn’t needed. It’s inexpensive compared to other therapies and it focuses on quickly targeting the key tension areas of the body: the back neck and shoulders.
One thing to make note of however, is that most chairs massage therapists are not registered massage therapists. This is because they do not focus on therapeutic massage or rehabilitation. Hence, they charge less money per session. However, chair massage therapists are still professionals trained in stress relief and relaxation.
Deep Tissue Structural Integration
Deep tissue structural integration is a massage technique that works with the long-term patterns of resistance in the connective tissues and muscles of the body. These natural limitations of the body are at many times the causes of numerous physical and non-physical pains. The technique uses a combination of deep tissue massage (also called myofascial release) and structural integration therapy.
Deep tissue bodywork helps to strengthen, relax, and release the natural restrictions of the different connective tissues of the body. The focus is not on immediate pleasure, but on the long-term goal of altering the muscles structures and limitations. This doesn’t mean however that the treatment is not relaxing, because many patients find great pleasure in the therapy. Furthermore they gain relief from pain and other long lasting benefits, such as the ability to move tension-free.
Structural integration is a treatment though which the patient is re-educated about their body through a series of exercises involving touch and movement. It promotes the release of stress and targets troubled functioning. Its main purpose is to promote a healthy relationship between the body and gravity. The ultimate goal of structural integration is to produce a body that is light and fluid, balanced, free of stress and pain, and at ease with itself and gravity.
Deep tissue structural integration usually consists of a series of eight to ten sessions. Each session is unique, but builds on the preceding sessions. Shorter series are possible but the patient will benefit the most from the longer series of treatment. This gives the therapist more time to figure out each patient’s individual needs.
A normal session lasts approximately one and a half hours in length. Throughout the session the patient is placed in a number of different positions, not just left in the standard position of lying on the stomach. Patients will move from their back to their front, to their sides and sometimes will be placed in a seated position. This allows for the body to be worked from a number of angles. The therapist uses his hands, arms and elbows to work the connective and muscle tissue. The clients are also active during the treatment, as they are asked about their movement patterns, and also need to breathe into the areas being worked or to move the joints.
The patient does not have to fully undress for the therapy, but both men and women are asked to where thong-style underwear to allow for the most freedom of movement. Women are also asked to wear a bikini style bathing suit top. The therapist does a lot of postural assessment throughout the treatment so the patient will be asked to do various different movements during the session. Some therapists allow you to try three sessions first, and if you feel that you will benefit from the treatment you can attend the remaining sessions.
The deep tissue structural integration therapist tailors each session specifically for the individual needs of each client. Usually he will focus on the particular area of the body, which needs the most tension reduction and relief. Some common areas needing attention are the back, shoulders, and neck, but the therapist will attend to any other problem areas of each individual patient. The treatment helps to relieve stress and pain but to also help improve the performance of daily activities. Other benefits of deep tissue structural integration include improved appearance and alignment of the body, enhanced physical performance, improved mental functioning and increased physiological efficiency.