Compression, Ischemic or Static Pressure Massage Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca

Athletic Sports Performance Massage Therapy, Santa Barbara, Goleta
Athletic Sports Performance Compression Massage Therapy, Santa Barbara, Goleta

What is Compression Massage?

Compression massage techniques are also used to relieve tightness in the muscles. Compressions can enhance the stretch reflex in the muscles. … A rhythmic compression technique into the muscles also creates deep hyperemia in the tissues. Hyperaemia is the increase of blood flow in the blood vessels.

Compression massage is one of several therapeutic massage techniques used for sports massage therapy, medical massage therapy, and other prescriptions of massage for optimal performance, improved mobility, and treatment of pain or discomfort.  Compression massage can be characterized as rhythmic compression into muscles used to create deep hyperemia (an increased amount of blood in the vessels of an organ or tissue in the body) and softening effect in the tissues. It is generally used as a warm-up for deeper, more specific massage work.

Compression is an effective massage technique performed by laying hands over a muscle area and pushing down onto the tissues. Hands are then lifted and moved to a different area and then repeated. The pressure of compressions can range from light to very deep. Compressions can also be performed with a slight rocking motion that can encourage the parasympathetic nervous system and promote relaxation.  The compression technique applies pressure onto muscles, it is then held and released. This technique is then repeated. Compressions are used within many different types of massages including Swedish, therapeutic, and deep-tissue massages

Benefits of Compression Massage

Compression, as a massage technique, has many benefits including relaxation, improved circulation, and recovery. When compressions are performed on the muscles, it stimulates affects the parasympathetic nervous system and is able to alter mood and produce feelings of relaxation. Compressions also help to improve circulation into the muscles by initially restricting the blood flow which then encourages a larger amount of blood to the area. Improved blood circulation in the muscles is beneficial to improving tissue conditions and preparing muscles for activity- beneficial for treatments before an athletic event. An additional benefit of compression massage is for increasing healing to damaged tissues and speeding up recovery. Compressions accelerate the healing process by increasing oxygen and nutrients into the tissues. Oxygen and nutrients can work to repair and heal any damaged cells.


All massage strokes offer some degree of compression, whether one is working with a traditional Swedish massage or the various forms of Eastern bodywork, such as Shiatsu or Thai massage. Pressure can range from extremely light, such as manual lymphatic drainage massage, to very deep, as in deep tissue massage and certain sports massage procedures.

In massage schools, if taught as a separate technique, compression is often taught simply as a stationary laying on of hands or fingers with a slight pushing down on to the tissue, a lifting up of the hands and then moving over and repeating. This might be used on the client’s back at the opening or closing of a massage session in conjunction with a slight rocking movement, which is meant to encourage the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

In addition to relaxation, effective use of compression has many physiological benefits, including an increase in circulation, reduction of edema and releasing of adhesions. Light compression can be used on almost anybody under any circumstances. It can be used during traditional on-the-table massage, chair massage or massage on floor mats, and can be used over clothing. Lubricant is not needed for most compression techniques, as it is not typically a gliding stroke.


Friction is another technique in massage therapy that rarely requires the use of oils or crèmes to be effective. Because it is a focused stroke used in a small, localized area, usually no bigger than a 50-cent piece, the hands or fingers of the therapist need to maintain a certain amount of stability and consistent pressure to achieve maximum results.

There are two broad classifications of this technique, circular and transverse. In circular friction, the fingertips of the first two fingers and/or sometimes the thumb are used to create small circular movements. The fingers do not glide over the skin but, rather, press firmly on the skin, which then moves over the underlying tissue. Friction is a very effective way to break up adhesions, especially in areas such as the intercostal muscles, as well as the infraspinatus portion of the scapula.

In transverse friction, the tips and pads of the fingers are used and, if the pressure desired is to be deep, one hand may be placed over the other as reinforcement. As in circular friction, the fingers do not glide over the skin, but press down on it and move across underlying tissue. Instead of circular movements, the direction of transverse friction moves either at a 90-degree angle or, in some cases, slightly oblique to the muscle fibers.

Friction strokes should not be used on pregnant women. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is produced, which results in a softening of ligaments, tendons and fascia. This can easily result in the dislocation of joints if certain friction techniques are used. Friction is also contraindicated over varicosities, active inflammation, skin infections, or recently strained muscles. While friction techniques are a great way to increase circulation locally, it can also act as an irritant and aggravate underlying conditions and must be used with care.


Vibration is probably the least used of massage techniques. Students are somewhat fearful of doing it, and performing it for a final exam is often the last time it is used. Done correctly, though, it is one of the most effective techniques for soothing irritated muscles. Vibration uses the tips of the fingers moving in a very rapid back and forth trembling movement on the skin with light pressure. The vibration originates in the forearm muscles of the therapist and moves down through the hands, creating a motion similar to shivering. It is used only for very short periods of time, anywhere from five to 20 seconds in a given spot, as it is extremely tiring for the therapist.
Using vibration helps stimulate circulation and promotes healthy glandular activity, improves lymphatic flow and muscle tone and, if used along with friction techniques, loosens scar tissue.

Deep compression massage

A type of massage in which muscle bellies are pumped and squeezed in rapid succession; the muscle is thus treated as if it were the heart in ope heart massage. Deep compression massage is believed to accelerate the healing of muscles that have intrinsically low blood flow.

7 Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

  • Treats Chronic Back Pain. …
  • Helps Lower High Blood Pressure. …
  • Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Muscle Tension. …
  • Breaks Up, Scar Tissue. …
  • Improves Athletic Recovery and Performance. …
  • Can Help with Labor Pain and Delivery. …
  • Reduces Arthritis Symptoms.

What are the Common Massage Therapy Techniques?

  • Longitudinal Gliding. Longitudinal gliding is a basic but effective massage technique administered in the direction of the blood flow. …
  • Kneading. …
  • Myofascial Releases. …
  • Trigger Point Therapy. …
  • Deep Transverse Frictions. …
  • Compression Massage. …
  • Cross-Fibre Massage.
Other Resources

Therapeutic Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta
Therapeutic Deep Tissue Compression, Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.