Naturopathic Doctor and Day Spa in Port Orchard

Offering All Natural Primary Family Care Services, Massage & Acupuncture

Orchard Holistic Medicine

Massage Therapy and Bodywork

At Orchard Holistic Medicine we offer a wide range of therapeutic massage modalities.

These include:

  • Soft Tissue Therapy: This is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body i.e. muscles, connective tissue/fascia, tendons, ligaments and joints. Soft tissue therapy helps alleviate the soft tissue discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions. It involves treating tension and congestion in the body with light subtle touch to increase blood flow and flexibility
  • Swedish Massage:​ Swedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. If it's your first time at the spa or you don't get massage often, Swedish massage is the best place to start. Swedish massage and other types of  therapeutic massage are performed by trained, licensed  massage therapists.

    Most people get a 60-minute Swedish or deep tissue massage, but 75 or 90-minutes gives the therapist more time to work the muscle tissue and achieve results.

    A Swedish massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist's personal style and what he or she is trying to achieve.  

    If you want deeper work and can tolerate more pressure to get relief from chronic muscle pain, it's better to book a deep tissue massage, which is another form of Swedish massage.​
  • Foot massage[edit]

    While various types of reflexology related massage styles focus on the feet, massage of (usually) the soles of the feet is often performed purely for relaxation or recreation. It is believed there are some specific points on our feet that correspond to different organs in the body. Stimulation of these points during foot massage can cause significant reduction in pain. Studies also suggest that foot reflexology massage can reduce fatigue and promote better sleep.[36]

  • Lymphatic drainage[edit]

    Manual lymphatic drainage is a technique used to gently work and stimulate the lymphatic system, to assist in reduction of localized swelling. The lymphatic system is a network of slow moving vessels in the body that carries cellular waste toward the heart, to be filtered and removed. Lymph also carries lymphocytes, and other immune system agents. Manual lymphatic drainage claims to improve waste removal and immune function.[38][39][40]

  • Medical massage[edit]

    Massage used in the medical field includes decongestive therapy used for lymphedema[13] which can be used in conjunction with the treatment of breast cancer. Light massage is also used in pain management and palliative care. Carotid sinus massage is used to diagnose carotid sinus syncope and is sometimes useful for differentiating supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) from ventricular tachycardia. It, like the valsalva maneuver, is a therapy for SVT.[42] However, it is less effective than management of SVT with medications.[43]

    A 2004 systematic review found single applications of massage therapy "reduced state anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate but not negative mood, immediate assessment of pain, and cortisol level", while "multiple applications reduced delayed assessment of pain", and found improvements in anxiety and depression similar to effects of psychotherapy.[44] A subsequent systematic review published in 2008 found that there is little evidence supporting the use of massage therapy for depression in high quality studies from randomized controlled trials.[45]


    Swedish massage[edit]

    The most widely recognized and commonly used category of massage is the Swedish massage. The Swedish massage techniques vary from light to vigorous.[50] Swedish massage uses five styles of strokes. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber or with the fibers) and vibration/shaking.[51] Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of eight weeks.[52] The development of Swedish massage is often inaccurately credited to Per Henrik Ling, though the Dutch practitioner Johann Georg Mezger applied the French terms to name the basic strokes.[53] The term "Swedish" massage is actually only recognized in English and Dutch speaking countries, and in Hungary. Elsewhere the style is referred to as "classic massage".

    Clinical studies report that Swedish Massage can effectively reduce low back pain and the effectiveness can last for as long as 15 weeks. One study reported that Swedish Massage caused reduction in salivary cortisol indicating its role in management of stress and improvement in mood.[54][55]

    Traditional Chinese massage[edit]

    Main article: Traditional Chinese medicine

    Massage of Chinese Medicine is known as An Mo (按摩, pressing and rubbing) or Qigong Massage, and is the foundation of Japan's Anma. Categories include Pu Tong An Mo (general massage), Tui Na An Mo (pushing and grasping massage), Dian Xue An Mo (cavity pressing massage), and Qi An Mo (energy massage). Tui na (推拿) focuses on pushing, stretching, and kneading muscles, and Zhi Ya (指壓) focuses on pinching and pressing at acupressure points. Technique such as friction and vibration are used as well.[57]

  • Massage tables and chairs[edit]

    Specialized massage tables and chairs are used to position recipients during massages. A typical commercial massage table has an easily cleaned, heavily padded surface, and a horseshoe-shaped head support that allows the client to breathe easily while lying face down and can be stationary or portable, while home versions are often lighter weight or designed to fold away easily. An orthopedic pillow or bolster can be used to correct body positioning.

    Ergonomic chairs serve a similar function as a massage table. Chairs may be either stationary or portable models. Massage chairs are easier to transport than massage tables, and recipients do not need to disrobe to receive a chair massage. Due to these two factors, chair massage is often performed in settings such as corporate offices, outdoor festivals, shopping malls, and other public locations.


    Cremes, lotions, gels, and oils[edit]

    Many different types of massage cremes, lotions, gels, and oils are used to lubricate and moisturize the skin and reduce the friction between skin ( hands of technician and client). lightly different properties, and the choice depends upon the type of massage and the therapist's preference. Commonly used oils include jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, almond oil, macadamia oil, sesame oil, pecan oil, mustard oil[65] and (mineral) baby oil.[66] Each oil has different properties and serves different purposes. There are different views about the extent to which various oils and other substances are absorbed into the body through the skin.[67] Salts are also used in association with oils to remove dry skin.

    Massage tools[edit]

    A body rock is a serpentine-shaped tool, usually carved out of stone. It is used to amplify the therapist's strength and focus pressure on certain areas. It can be used directly on the skin with a lubricant such as oil or corn starch or directly over clothing.

    Bamboo and rosewood tools are also commonly implemented. They originate from practices in southeast Asia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma. Some of them may be heated, oiled, or wrapped in cloth.

    Medical and therapeutic use[edit]

    The main professionals that provide therapeutic massage are massage therapists, athletic trainers, physical therapists and practitioners of many traditional Chinese and other eastern medicines. Massage practitioners work in a variety of medical settings and may travel to private residences or businesses.[13] Contraindications to massage include deep vein thrombosis, bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners such as Warfarin, damaged blood vessels, weakened bones from cancer, osteoporosis, or fractures, bruising, and fever.[13]

    Practitioner associations and official recognition of professionals[edit]

    The US based National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recognizes over eighty different massage techniques.[13] The most cited reasons for introducing massage as therapy have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.[68]


    Beneficial effects[edit]

    Le massage: scène au Hammam by Edouard Debat-Ponsan (1883)

    Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state of anxiety.[69] Additional testing has shown an immediate increase and expedited recovery periods for muscle performance. Theories behind what massage might do include blocking nociception (gate control theory), activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which may stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep,[13] but such effects are yet to be supported by well-designed clinical studies.


    Single-dose effects[edit]

    Pain relief: Relief from pain due to musculoskeletal injuries and other causes is cited as a major benefit of massage.[13] Acupressure or pressure point massage may be more beneficial than classic Swedish massage in relieving back pain.[72][needs update] However, a meta-study conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign failed to find a statistically significant reduction in pain immediately following treatment.[69]
    State anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce state anxiety, a transient measure of anxiety in a given situation.[69]
    Blood pressure and heart rate: Massage has been shown to temporarily reduce blood pressure and heart rate.[69]

    Multiple-dose effects[edit]

    Pain relief: When combined with education and exercises, massage might help sub-acute, chronic, non-specific low back pain.[72] Furthermore, massage has been shown to reduce pain experienced in the days or weeks after treatment.[69]
    Trait anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce trait anxiety; a person's general susceptibility to anxiety.[69]
    Depression: Massage has been shown to reduce subclinical depression.[69]

    Neuromuscular effects[edit]

    Massage has been shown to reduce neuromuscular excitability by measuring changes in the Hoffman's reflex (H-reflex) amplitude. A decrease in peak-to-peak H-reflex amplitude suggests a decrease in motoneuron excitability.[73] Others explain, "H-reflex is considered to be the electrical analogue of the stretch reflex...and the reduction" is due to a decrease in spinal reflex excitability.[74] Field (2007) confirms that the inhibitory effects are due to deep tissue receptors and not superficial cutaneous receptors, as there was no decrease in H-reflex when looking at light fingertip pressure massage.[75] It has been noted that "the receptors activated during massage are specific to the muscle being massaged", as other muscles did not produce a decrease in H-reflex amplitude.[73]

    Massage and proprioception[edit]

    Proprioceptive studies are much more abundant than massage and proprioception combined, yet researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact mechanisms and pathways involved to get a fuller understanding.[76] Proprioception may be very helpful in rehabilitation, though this is a fairly unknown characteristic of proprioception, and "current exercises aimed at 'improving proprioception' have not been demonstrated to achieve that goal".[77] Up until this point, very little has been studied looking into the effects of massage on proprioception. Some researchers believe "documenting what happens under the skin, bioelectrically and biochemically, will be enabled by newer, non-invasive technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and continuous plasma sampling" .[75]