What is Therapeutic Massage Therapy?


Therapeutic Massage Therapy spans a wide variety of therapeutic approaches, working to improve an individual’s health and well-being through the hands-on manipulation of muscles and other soft tissues.

Therapeutic massage involves the manipulation of soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm, and stress. It also improves the functioning of the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems, and may improve the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness.

Massage therapy also provides a relaxed state of alertness, reduces mental stress, and enhances the capacity for creativity.

Our Therapeutic Techniques and Services

AROMATHERAPY is an ancient practice of using essential oil to heal by stimulating the olfactory senses, mental responses, circulatory andrespiratory functions. It is one of the fastest growing forms of the healing arts in this country. It employs highly concentrated essential oils extracted from herbs and flowers that contain hormones, vitamins, antibiotics and antiseptics. Applied to the skin during a massage or through inhalation, the oil or combination of oils can be used for medicinal, meditative, restorative, or relaxation purposes.

ON-SITE CHAIR MASSAGE FOR BUSINESSES OR SPECIAL EVENTS – Chair or “Seated” massage makes use of a special, comfortable massage chair that the fully clothed client is seated in and receives treatment on the back, neck, arms, and hands. The chair massage helps to release stress, muscle tension, and pain, while increasing circulation. It is very helpful for employees who sit for long hours and/or use computers in preventing serious conditions such as carpel tunnel syndrome, rounded shoulder/head forward postural problems, and other work-related conditions. It can be done at location of employment, at special events, and in our massage studio. Corporate accounts are available.

CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY (CST) is a gentle and effective technique performed on a fully clothed individual. During a CST session, the practitioner detects and corrects imbalances of the craniosacral system which is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding and protecting the brain and spinal cord. We do not currently have a craniosacral therapist on staff but we highly recommend Jennifer Albrecht a craniosacral therapist who works out of North Raleigh, (919) 395-1633.

DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. When muscles are stressed, they block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue. A deep-tissue massage helps loosen muscle tissues, release toxins from muscles and get blood and oxygen circulating properly. This type of massage also breaks down scar tissue, known as restrictive fascia (pronounced, fasha). Clients are usually instructed to drink plenty of water for a couple of days following the massage to help eliminate the released toxins.

HOT STONE MASSAGE involves the application of water-heated basalt stones of varying sizes to key points on the body, giving a deep massage and creating sensations of comfort and warmth.

The basalt stones come from river beds and are heated in hot water to your comfort level. The stones seem to connect with the flow of energy to rebalance the physical body, emotional mind and spirit as one. These stones can also be effective when used during Reflexology treatments to de-stress and stimulate tiny nerve endings in the feet.

What are the Benefits of Hot Stone Massage?
The direct heat relaxes muscles, allowing manipulation of a greater intensity than with regular massage. Hot stones expand blood vessels, which push blood and waste through the nervous system. This gives the body a sedative effect. Hot Stone Massage is a deep, healing massage technique to enhance our awareness and bring us close to our true essence.

Healing improvement occurs in clients who suffer from the following conditions:

  • Muscular aches, pains, sprains and strains
  • Poor circulation
  • Rheumatic and arthritic conditions
  • Back pain
  • Stress, anxiety and tension
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia

LYMPHATIC MASSAGE – a description of Lymphatic Massage will be posted, shortly.

MANUAL LYMPH DRAINAGE (MLD) is a special treatment technique which utilizes lymphatic pathways to empty and decompress fluid-filled areas, allowing the limb to return to normal or near normal size. COMPLETE DECONGESTIVE THERAPY (Compression Therapy) often occurs with an MLD treatment. Multiple layers of low stretch bandages are applied to the limb in order to achieve a graded compression to prevent the area from refilling with evacuated fluid. In a later phase of treatment, compression garments are worn.

MEDICAL MASSAGE is a manual technique that is used in a rehabilitative therapy environment. It is not a general massage treatment like Swedish; rather, it is a therapy applied to a specific problem area or pathology. Our medical massage therapists are certified and use many of the same techniques as Swedish massage, but use them as a preliminary softening of tissue in order to get to the deep muscle tissue, complex joint systems, and inelastic connective tissue. Medical massage combines several manual therapies, including Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point, Neuromuscular Massage, Craniosacral therapy, and manual lymph drainage.

Three of our therapists are fully certified in Medical Massage.

Many of our Medical Massage clients are referred to us by doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, and other medical professionals.

MYOFASCIAL MASSAGE – a description of Myofascial Massage will be posted, shortly.

NEUROMUSCLAR MASSAGE – a description of Neuromuscular Massage will be posted, shortly.

PREGNANCY MASSAGE, or pre-natal massage, is specifically designed for expectant mothers. At Moonshadow, the expectant mother’s body is supported during the massage, using pillows, bolsters, or other types of padding. We do not use donut-shaped pregnancy pillows during the massage because they may cause undue stress on the fetus.

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage include the following:

  • Relieves muscle spasms, cramps associated with the stress of extra weight bearing, and physical changes that occur during pregnancy
  • Reduces stress and teaches the mother to relax
  • Teaches relaxation, which is one of the keys to an easier labor and delivery
  • Enhances gestation process through increasing blood and lymph circulation, reducing edema, and increasing cellular respiration
  • Provides emotional support and physical nurturing; this may be passed on to the baby
  • Assists in reducing the stress in the weight bearing joints and musculoskeletal (bone) structures

Please Note: It is strongly recommended that pregnant clients in their 1st trimester seek the advise of their physician before receiving pregnancy massage.

DOULA SERVICES – a description of Doula Services will be posted, shortly.


ROLFING – Named after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, called fascia, that permeate the entire body.

More than fifty years ago, Dr. Rolf recognized that the body is inherently a system of seamless networks of tissues rather than a collection of separate parts. These connective tissues surround, support and penetrate all of the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. Rolfing Structural Integration works on this web-like complex of connective tissues to release, realign and balance the whole body, thus potentially resolving discomfort, reducing compensations and alleviating pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body.

Click here to learn more about Rolfing, including a Q&A, What to Expect, and History of Rolfing.

SPORTS MASSAGE is, generally, geared towards athletes and usually given before or after an athletic event. Before an event, it is used to promote peak performance, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury. It is used after an event to help reduce muscle soreness and swelling, break down toxins, and increase blood circulation.

SWEDISH MASSAGE is a gentle, rhythmic massage administered to relax soft body tissue and facilitate healing. It is lighter in touch than other forms of massage and includes long flowing strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on more superficial layers of the muscles. It can loosen stiff joints, reduce muscle tension, and help clear nasal or chest congestion. Swedish massage contributes to overall well-being and is widely prescribed by physicians to enhance treatment for insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

TRIGGER POINT therapy is a bodywork technique that involves the applying of pressure to tender muscle tissue in order to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Oftentimes, massage and trigger point therapy are performed together.

Trigger point therapy is also called myofascial trigger point therapy. It was developed by Dr. Janet Travell in the United States in the 1940s.