Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Jacksonville-St. Augustine

Massage: Healing Benefits of Bodywork

Apr 30, 2021 09:31AM ● By Lauree Moretto
Today, it is common knowledge that stress is the cause of much harm to our bodies and accelerates aging. Massage relieves stress, but that’s not all it does. And although one-third of the population still believe having a massage is strictly for pampering, science as well as consumer activity indicate otherwise.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 63 percent of massage consumers have used massage for a health or medical reason at the end of a 12-month period ending June 2020. In that same period, 29 percent of consumers had a massage for pain relief or pain management. Eighty-three percent of consumers agree massage therapy should be considered a form of health care. But these aren’t new ideas.

The origins of massage therapy date back to more than 5,000 years ago where it was first used in India. Within 300 years, the Chinese adapted and wrote about the healing benefits of massage. By 2,500 B.C., it had caught on in Egypt, as depicted by hieroglyphs in tombs. By 1,000 B.C., traveling monks brought massage to Japan. Over time, each culture tweaked and adapted the science and art of massage. The 20th century saw the birth of many different modalities and specialties of massage, and they continue to evolve and become more specialized now in the 21st century.

Today, there are multitudes of therapies available. Each modality has its unique benefits. One should find the approach that gives one the best results based on one’s goals and objectives. To list them all would be impossible here, yet here are some more common approaches/techniques.

Swedish Massage: Rekindles well-being, is good for circulation, promotes relaxation, and releases stress. Includes long stokes, percussion and kneading.

Myofascial Massage: Works with muscles and fascia to release deeply held tissue. Improves function. Helps in the repair of dysfunctional movement.

Sports Massage: Used before and after participation. Helps relieve performance-related pains, increases flexibility, and can prevent injuries.

Reflexology: Works specific areas of the body without touching that part of the body. Done through a centrally mapped appendage. These appendages include the foot, hand or ear (auricular reflexology).

CranioSacral Therapy: Addresses the central nervous system and the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid. These subtle rhythms are regarded as fundamental expressions of our health and vitality. They act as a blueprint for health from our early embryological development and maintain fundamental balance in the system.

Pregnancy Massage: Can promote relaxation and specifically addresses the issues surrounding carrying a child. It helps reduce back and joint pain. Getting a massage during your pregnancy has many benefits, including reducing swelling, improving sleep and hormone regulation.

Neuromuscular Therapy: A form of manual therapy that corrects pain and dysfunction by treating trigger points, and muscle tensions and adhesions.

Movement Therapies: These can include the Alexander technique and the Bowen technique. They roll or even gently rock the body to release areas of held tension.

Deep Tissue Massage: Reduces stress and tension and helps the brain release oxytocin, a natural chemical that reduces pain and can serve as an antidepressant.

Aromatherapy Massage: Using essential oils dates to ancient Egypt and can promote outcomes ranging from relaxation to energizing or invigorating, depending on the type of scents the therapist uses.

Hot Stone Massage: Involves the placement of either heated or cooled stones to the body for relaxation, eased muscle tension and pain.

Cupping: Assists in pain management, muscle tightness and flushing the tissue. Pressure is applied to the area by suctioning a cup onto the skin.

Structural Integration: This system of bodywork views the body as an integrated system, with the intention to reshape and restore postural balance along the gravitational field. Rather than treating symptoms, structural integration practitioners work to help a person’s body integrate internally between systems and externally toward one’s life’s challenges.

Shiatsu: A Japanese form of bodywork based on concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve the body’s circulation and restore natural energy flow. It combines assisted-stretching techniques and acupressure to improve the state of qi (energy flow) in the body.

Thai Massage Therapy: There are no oils or lotions used and the recipient is fully clothed. The treatment follows designated lines in the body and the practitioner uses his or her legs, feet and hands to apply rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body.

Lymphatic Drainage: Drains the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues and back toward the liver. Uses pressure and rhythmic movements to encourage lymph drainage.

Energy Healing: Physics states that all is energy. This energy can be influenced through various modalities, either hands on or at a distance. Energy work can include prayer, Touch for Health, reiki and other techniques. Regardless of the type of therapy work done, energy influences it all. One of the most common energy techniques is reiki, which is used in many hospitals for pain relief and relaxation.

There are an unprecedented number of bodywork techniques and modalities available to us all today. Exploring and discovering what avenues and practitioners best suite each individual is an opportunity that has never been available to the common person in the history of humanity. We live in exciting yet stressful times. Fortunately, alternative therapies have come into the world to meet our needs as individuals and as an expanding society. We need merely to choose.

 Lauree Moretto is a soft tissue specialist and certified structural integrator who has a practice in Daytona and Flagler Beach. She has spent more than 30 years studying and teaching human body structure and function. The expertise developed over this long timespan has equipped her with a deep, sophisticated understanding of our physical bodies. Moretto’s practice uniquely integrates objective methods of working and manipulating the lines of restrictions throughout the body, from head to toe. For more information, call Moretto at 321-271-1678 or visit