Swedish massage is the most commonly used form of massage. It uses a system of long gliding strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on the superficial layers of muscles, generally in the direction of blood flow toward the heart, and sometimes combined with active and passive movements of the joints. It is used to promote general relaxation, improve circulation and range of motion, relieve muscle tension, and anxiety by inducing the parasympathetic response.
Deep tissue massage is used to release and target tight restricted muscles which hold chronic patterns of muscular tension. Using slow strokes, direct pressure, and friction, across the grain of the muscles with deep pressure to the deeper layers of muscle is most effective for chronic muscular tension.
Superficial and deep connective tissue known as fascia connects skin to muscle, muscle to ligament, and ligament to bone. By stretching and holding the tissue the fascia releases and helps reconstruct body structure and mechanics which helps with range of motion and pain relief.
This form of massage uses friction on the muscle perpendicularly to the length of the fibres, which is believed to mechanically reset the proprioceptors. Cross-fibre massage is widely used in physical therapy and sports massage (where it is used on trigger points), to prevent scar tissue formation and adhesions; it is assists by releasing knots (painful spasms).
Trigger point therapy
Trigger point therapy also known as Nueromuscular therapy applies concentrated finger pressure to painful irritated areas in muscles to break cycles of spasm and pain.