Definitions of Massage Techniques 

Massage Therapy

Manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person’s health and well-being. There are dozens of types of massage therapy methods (also called modalities).

Swedish Massage

The most commonly used form of classical Western massage, generally performed in the direction of the heart, sometimes with active or passive movement of the joints. It is used especially for relaxation, relief of muscular tension, release of toxins from the muscles and improvement of circulation and range of motion.

Deep Tissue Massage

A type of massage which reaches structures beneath the superficial fascia to attempt to relieve chronic muscle problems or injuries. With chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement

Myofascial Release

Fascia is tough connective tissue which spreads through the body in a three-dimensional web from head to toe, surrounding every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel and organ. Generally it provides support, stability and cushion.  Tightening of the fascial system is a protective mechanism as a response to trauma. It loses its pliability, becomes restricted, and is a source of tension for the rest of the body. Over time this can lead to poor muscular biomechanics, altered structural alignment and decreased strength, endurance and motor coordination. This can cause pain and a loss of function. Myofascial Release is a hands-on soft tissue technique where a sustained pressure is applied that facilitates a stretch into the restricted fascia, restoring length and health to the tissue and alignment and mobility to the joints.

Trigger Point Therapy

An intense form of bodywork that consists of focused, concentrated pressure on one specific area of the body. The pressure may continue for a period of up to thirty seconds at a time, and is designed to alleviate tension that extends from a “trigger point” into an entire muscle. This “trigger point” is a hypersensitive locus in a band of tight muscle fiber which “triggers” pain in another area of the muscle, sometimes called referring or transferring. intense, concentrated pressure is placed on the trigger point until it “releases”. Pain is relieved when the pressure causes the muscle to restore blood flow to the area. Sometimes several sessions are required, as trigger points can also cause more trigger points and it can take time to actually locate the trigger point(s) because the client may be feeling pain in areas unrelated to the source of the problem.  Other benefits can include increased flexibility, wider range of motion, more balanced posture and increased energy.


"Shiatsu" is a Japanese word meaning "finger pressure". It is a hands-on therapy used both as a compliment to conventional medicine and as a preventative/alternative therapy. Like acupuncture, shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or Qi (pronounced "chee") through the body.  Shiatsu involves using finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways, called meridians to improve the flow of Qi. A scientific explanation is that shiatsu calms an overactive sympathetic nervous system, which improves circulation, relieves stiff muscles, and alleviates stress.

Thai Massage

Using passive stretching and gentle pressure along the body’s energy lines to increase flexibility, relieve muscle and joint tension and balance the body’s energy systems. Thai massage typically takes place on a futon mat on the floor, and you wear loose fitting clothing but many of the positions can be modified for traditional table massage. It is sometimes referred to as Thai Yoga Massage (or “Lazy Man’s Yoga”) as many of the positions resemble yoga poses and the benefits can be very similar. Thai massage is both deeply relaxing and energizing.


The therapeutic aromatic, topical and/or internal use of plant-derived essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. 

Two aromatherapy product options are available;  doTERRA International Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) Essential Oils and Harrisonburg's own White Oak Lavender Farm products.  doTerra's AromaTouch Technique incorporates simple hand techniques with the power of 8 different essential oils to create a powerful whole body wellness experience aimed at addressing four constants that are often present in daily life:  stress, immunity, the inflammatory response, and autonomic imbalance.  In my White Oak Lavender massage, clients will experience the height of relaxation as I diffuse lavender essential oil into the air, while incorporating the Lavender Cream for Feet, Lavender Massage Oil and Deep Muscle Jelly into the massage.  I often incorporate products from both of these exceptional companies in to my Custom Therapeutic Massage as well, as appropriate.