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Glossary of Massage Therapy Terms

The aura is the electromagnetic field comprised of several layers surrounding the body. Energy work manipulates the aura in various ways to repair energy blocks present in the aura.

Biomechanical Dysfunction
Imbalance of the musculoskeletal system caused by bad mechanics or faulty movement patterns such as poor lifting habits.

Effleurage, a French word meaning "to skim" or "to touch lightly on", is a series of strokes used in Swedish massage to warm up the muscle before deep tissue work using petrissage. This is a soothing, stroking movement used at the beginning and the end of the facial and/or body massage. It is also used as a linking move between the different strokes and movements.

Effleurage can be firm or light without dragging the skin and is performed using either the padded parts of the finger tips or the palmar surface of the hands, and works as a mechanical pump on the body to encourage venous and lymphatic return. It consists of four sub-categories: Ethereal or aura strokes, feathering or nerve stroking, superficial effleurage, and deeper effleurage. (

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points—specific places on the body at which slight pressure causes pain. The intensity of symptoms may vary. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, it is not progressive or life threatening. Doctors do not know what causes fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men. Massage therapy is a recommended treatment for the reduction of pain suffered by those with fibromyalgia. (

Integrative Therapies
Integrative Therapies are any other therapy outside traditional Western Medicine—medicine that focuses on pharmaceutical, surgical, and procedural intervention.

Ischemia is a restriction in or lack of blood supply to the soft tissue of the body, with resultant damage or dysfunction of tissue. (Wikipedia) Often caused by injury, ischemic tissue becomes hypersensitive to touch.

Nerve Compression or Entrapment
Nerve compression or entrapment occurs when soft tissue, cartilage, or bone applies pressure on a nerve.

Petrissage are Swedish massage movements with applied pressure, which are deep and compress the underlying muscles. Performed with the padded palmar surface of the hand, the surface of the fingers and the thumbs, petrissage movements include kneading, wringing, skin rolling and pick-up-and-squeeze.

During kneading movements, using hands molded to the area, the movements are slow and rhythmical. Knuckling is another form of kneading using the knuckles to knead and lift in circular and upwards motions. Scissoring is another petrissage movement performed only over a flat area using the index and middle fingers of both hands to apply very little pressure. (Wikipedia)

Postural Distortion
Postural distortion is an imbalance of the muscular system resulting from movement of the body off the longitudinal and horizontal planes.

Soft Tissue
Soft tissue includes the muscles, tendons, and connective tissue of the body.

Tapotement comes from the French verb, “Tapoter”, meaning to tap or drum. Used in Swedish massage, tapotement movements apply a rhythmic percussion with the edge of the palm or heel of the hand as a stimulating stroke or for cramped muscles.  (Wikipedia)

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or TMJ joint disorders are medical problems related to the jaw joint. The TMJ connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone) in front of the ear. Certain facial muscles control chewing. Problems in this area can cause head and neck pain, a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open, problems biting, and popping sounds when you bite. (

Trigger Points
Trigger points are highly irritated points in the muscles that refer pain to other parts of the body.

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180 Center Street
Groveland, MA 01834
Phone: 978-857-7286 | Contact Us
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