Massage terms and styles

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Here are some of the kinds of massage practiced in Juneau, with definitions and practitioners.

Acupressure: This massage of Chinese origin uses a medium to light touch, not a stroke, said Britten DeMan of Body Essentials, which can be reached at 789-5909. DeMan learned acupressure, particularly the kind called Jinchin-do, at Juneau's Acupressure Institute of Alaska and at the Desert Resort School of Somatherapy in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

"Acupressure moves chi or energy flow through the body," DeMan said. "Eastern medicine believes the body can fix itself with an aid or channel, which is the therapist. I got into it because I like the way massage feels on me. You have to really believe and want to help people so they feel your compassion through your hands."

Aromatherapy: Although it is sometimes defined as inhaling particular scents for medicinal purposes, in the realm of massage aromatherapy is massage with scented oils. Essential oils of juniper and geranium might be massaged into cellulite, while sage might be used for depressed clients. Seventh Heaven Day Spa, 790-3362, offers aromatherapy.

Reiki: This massage of Japanese origin is described as gentle, hands-on "energy work" designed for relaxation and soothing. Clients do not disrobe, but wear comfortable clothing during treatment. Reiki is offered by Seventh Heaven.

Swedish: Swedish massage is one of the best-known types, offered by Alaskan Acupuncture & Massage, 463-3026, Cuts Online, 586-8333, and several other locations in Juneau.

Gary Bucich, a licensed massage practitioner, 790-8579, defines Swedish massage as using "longer, flowing strokes and having an emphasis on moving the muscles, stretching them and increasing mobility." Helen Tenney Miller, 463-4472, also offers Swedish massage. Body Essentials also offers Swedish massage with owner/massage therapist Britten DeMan.

Heller Work: This type of massage is a specialty of Bucich, who describes it as a "deep tissue massage suitable for problems such as frozen shoulders, low back pain, stiffness following knee surgery and migraines."

Muscles and tissues, through constant physical labor or surgery, can be displaced, Bucich said. Heller Work can coax them "back where they belong." It can benefit people who have had hip replacement surgery, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other repetitive workplace injuries.

La Stone: Sometimes called "hot rock massage," La Stone massage is taught in Vancouver, British Columbia, and in the American Southwest. Usually massage is effected with the unaided hands or elbows. However, in La Stone, hot basalt stones are used to knead the muscles. The 140-degree heat of the stones soothes aching muscles. Sharon McCauley of Romancing the Stones is a practitioner. She may be reached at 723-7236.

Neuromuscular: This form of massage stimulates both the muscles and the nerves. It is offered by A Certain Charm Institut de Beaute, 586-1177.

Rolfing: Named after physical therapist Ida Rolf, this is a service mark for a form of painful massage intended to relieve emotional tensions by relaxing and repositioning the muscles. It is practiced by Jose Aguilar of Cuts Online Salon & Spa.

"It's deep and really painful sometimes and used mainly on athletes," said Aguilar, who uses his fists when applying this type of treatment.

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