Integrated massage, also known as eclectic massage, is a therapeutic method that combines the principles of massage and bodywork. Like other somatic disciplines, integrated massage incorporates physical, emotional, and spiritual elements. In other words, it supports a holistic mind-body approach to wellness rather than drawing on either a physiological or environmental viewpoint.
Integrated massage involves the application of different hands-on techniques to promote physiological changes. This is achieved by primarily focusing on the fascial system, or the body’s connective tissue. As a somatic therapy, integrated massage often coincides with guided movement and other bodywork techniques to help stimulate atrophied muscles and release compressed soft tissue.
Generally speaking, massage is an ancient practice dating back at least 3,000 years. While it may simply feel good, its health-giving benefits are well documented today. In fact, integrated massage techniques have become standardized practice in many physical rehabilitation programs. In addition, integrated massage is used as a complimentary therapy for a wide variety of conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, infertility, and immune dysfunction. Of course, one of the greatest benefits of integrated massage may be stress reduction.
Integrated massage therapy is also useful in the management of pain. In fact, the various techniques used are often found in sports therapy programs. Aside from increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to muscles, integrated massage also improves joint flexibility. Practitioners credit these benefits to an increase in the production and release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.
Integrated massage also has applications in treating depressive and anxiety-related disorders. The release of tension and stress is attributed to improving physical symptoms. However, many subjects receiving massage also report improved mood. In addition, integrated massage has been noted to promote improved sleep quality and enhanced concentration.
An integrated massage therapist may employ one of 250-plus massage techniques that have emerged over the centuries. Most often, however, he or she will develop a plan that utilizes a combination of techniques geared for the individual. Some of these techniques include fairly well known therapies such as acupressure or Reiki. Generally, though, integrated massage therapy sessions can be expected to include variations of kneading, tapping, and the application of pressure to targeted points.