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Massage for Pain Relief and Healing

Massage is one of the best ways to overcome pain and discomfort in your body. It’s great not only for pain relief, but also as an alternative medicine to promote healing. In this article we’re going to go over the most popular massage modalities so that you can understand what type of massage will be best for your situation. The list includes therapeutic massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, acupressure, reflexology, hot stone massage, Shiatsu massage. If you’re looking to overcome chronic pain, or heal an injury, or if you just want to unwind and destress, massage therapy can be a great way to get the most out of being in a body and taking care of your vessel.

Therapeutic Massage

First let’s talk about therapeutic massage. Therapeutic massage often includes the a more scientific and clinical approach. One of the most popular and well known types of therapeutic massage is Swedish massage. This type of massage is often known as relaxation massage, and combines circulatory massage with deep nervous system release for enhanced relaxation. If you’re looking to de-stress and unwind, and also get to the bottom of a deeper underlying muscle imbalance, therapeutic massage may be a good avenue to look down.

Therapeutic massage is also often used to manage chronic pain and rehabilitate injuries. By working with soft tissue, you can improve range of motion, and combined with massage strokes that includes stretches can increase joint mobility.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that involves the use of firm pressure and slow strokes to target deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. By targeting these deeper layers of muscle and fascia, a massage therapist can often heal chronic pain and tension by addressing glue-like adhesions of rigid, stuck soft tissue. Adhesions over time can result in mobility issues and result in injury. With its ability to reach deep into the muscle tissue, deep tissue massage can provide effective relief for those experiencing persistent discomfort.

Deep tissue massage can also help correct postural problems by releasing deeply held patterns in our muscles. Athletes often use deep tissue massage as a way of enhancing performance and workouts as a part of their recovery plans. As deep tissue massage can help reduce muscle strains, it’s often a great modality for folks who tend to over work or overuse their bodies. Overall, deep tissue massage is a powerful tool for promoting physical wellbeing and addressing a range of musculoskeletal issues.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is mainly for athletes and active individuals who want to improve their physical performance and prevent injuries from occurring. It takes into consideration modern day exercise physiology, sports science and kinesiology (the study of bones and muscles).

By improving blood flow, reducing muscle tension, and promoting relaxation, sports massage can help athletes to perform at their best. Proper nutrition and hydration are also important factors in sports massage, as they can help to support muscle recovery and overall physical health.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy, a technique used in massage therapy, is particularly effective in targeting specific areas of pain and discomfort, such as muscle knots and tender points.

Sports massage is mainly for athletes and active individuals who want to improve their physical performance and prevent injuries from occurring. It takes into consideration modern day exercise physiology, sports science and kinesiology (the study of bones and muscles).

By applying pressure to trigger points, massage therapists can help to release tension throughout the body while creating cascades of relief to “referred areas of pain” from muscle spasms in areas not specific to the area they are targeting. When a trigger point is released, typically pain in other areas is also released.

Neuromuscular therapy involves the use of targeted pressure to release tension in the muscles and alleviate pain caused by muscle dysfunction or imbalances. Acupressure uses specific points similar to trigger points that release tension throughout the body.

Myofascial release helps release the connective tissue that surrounds muscles bones and organs. This tissue can become tight and restricted post-injury, or due to chronic stress, and even long term poor posture. This can lead to the tissue scarring and creating adhesions that can only be broken up with slow deep sustained pressure to help the fascia unwind.

During a myofascial release session, a massage therapist will use gentle stretching and sustained pressure to release tension in the fascia, helping to improve mobility and reduce inflammation. If you have plantar fasciitis or other postural or pain related disorders, this modality can be extremely beneficial.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release is a technique used in massage therapy to address pain and discomfort in the body’s connective tissues, particularly the fascia. The fascia is a web-like network of connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, and organs, and can become tight and restrictive due to injury, stress, or poor posture. This can lead to the development of scar tissue and adhesions, which can further exacerbate pain and discomfort.

During a myofascial release session, a massage therapist will use gentle stretching and sustained pressure to release tension in the fascia, helping to improve mobility and reduce inflammation. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing chronic pain, fasciitis, or other conditions related to soft tissue dysfunction. By addressing the root cause of pain and discomfort, myofascial release can provide long-lasting pain relief, improve range of motion, and promote overall physical well-being.

In addition to its physical benefits, myofascial release can also have a positive impact on mental health and emotional well-being. By improving movement and reducing pain, individuals may experience increased confidence and a sense of empowerment, leading to improved mood and a greater sense of overall vitality.

Neuromuscular Therapy

Neuromuscular therapy often involves active movement while the practitioner is massaging the recipient. This helps facilitate proprioception and motor control, which essentially retrains the nervous system through exercises and stretching. It can help treat conditions such as myofascial pain syndrome, neuropathy and other issues related to the nervous system. It can improve spinal cord function as every nerve in the body wires back to the spine, and it can also improve range of motion, flexibility and mobility.


Acupressure works on points called acupoints to create cascades of healing throughout the body by unblocking the body’s energy. By unblocking the flow of energy, known as Qi through the body’s meridians, it can bring health to the body’s various organs and energy systems. By applying pressure to specific points, the therapist can help restore balance to the body’s energy flow and promote healing.

Shiatsu and Tui Na are two common types of massage that incorporate acupressure techniques to stimulate energy flow and promote relaxation. Reflexology is also a form of acupressure that focuses on specific pressure points on the feet, hands, and ears to stimulate healing and promote overall wellness.


Reflexology is a form of holistic healing that is often used for pain relief and stress reduction. This ancient practice is based on the theory that specific pressure points on the feet, hands, and ears correspond to different organs and systems of the body. By applying pressure to these areas, reflexology aims to stimulate nerve endings, improve circulation, and promote energy balance throughout the body.

During a reflexology session, the practitioner will use techniques such as acupressure and zone therapy to target specific pressure points on the feet. This can help to release tension, reduce pain, and promote relaxation. Nerve stimulation is also believed to play a role in the pain relief provided by reflexology, as pressure applied to the feet can help to send signals to the brain that can help to block pain signals. Some reflexologists may also incorporate other holistic therapies such as aromatherapy into their sessions, to further enhance relaxation and wellness. Overall, reflexology is a safe and non-invasive way to promote holistic healing and pain relief.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy that involves the use of heated basalt stones to provide deep relaxation, pain relief, and promote overall wellness.

During a hot stone massage, the therapist may also use the stones as an extension of their hands to perform deep tissue massage techniques. This can further enhance the therapeutic benefits of the treatment, as the thermal energy from the stones can penetrate deep into the muscles and help release any tension or adhesions.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu is a other form of Asian massage, a holistic healing and alternative medicine that uses the system of Qi and meridians to stretch, massage and release tension from the body. Shiatsu is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, which views the body as an interconnected system of energy channels. By stimulating the body’s various acupressure points along these channels, shiatsu helps to balance the body’s energy flow and promote healing. By promoting relaxation and improving overall wellness, shiatsu, like other modalities can be an extremely effective tool for managing chronic pain as well.


Author: Mason Palmer

Founder / Massage Therapist

IMMERSE Modern Massage

Mason is a master massage therapist in Portland, Oregon, with over 10,000 hours of hands on work. His expertise in deep tissue anatomy, myofascial release, and trauma-informed somatic therapy. He is also a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and has received Reiki Master level training from three different schools. Mason has explored various healing practices, including Mindfulness Meditation, Personal Training, Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine, for over a decade. He is the author of “Energy Healing, One Truth Many Teachers” and is known for his proven track record for creating plans of care for his clients to overcome pain and discomfort in their body, and to make sure that pain doesn’t come back.

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At IMMERSE Massage Portland,

Our mission is to help you relieve the stress, tension, and pain that degrades your quality of life so you can be the very best version you, body and mind.

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IMMERSE Massage Morrison - Best Massage Portland Oregon IconIMMERSE Massage Morrison – Best Massage Portland Oregon

819 Southeast Morrison Street Suite 215, Portland

4.9 108 reviews

  • Avatar adria mooney ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Entering the space I immediately felt calm, the lighting and ambiance was perfect for relaxing. The warmth, low light and wooden ceiling made me feel like I was in a sauna. Mason greeted me and made me feel comfortable as we entered the … More massage room. The bed was heated, with weighted blanket and calming music vibrated the entire bed. I melted away as mason massaged my whole body, taking care to leave me mostly covered under the warm blanket the entire time. He also used heated towels and a wonderful essential oil blend. I felt truly relaxed and my whole body vibrated with warmth and comfort. Would definitely come back again!
  • Avatar Tracy A ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Such a lovely experience from beginning to end. The lobby was beautifully decorated with plants, and Mason greeted me with such warmth. The table vibrates with music and is so comfortable and warm. The weighted blankets helped me feel so … More cozy and relaxed. The technique and grounded presence Mason offers is excellent. I especially enjoyed the warm scented towel on my face and neck at the end of the massage. So rejuvenating and relaxing. I felt calm and peaceful. Wholeheartedly recommend!
  • Avatar Jordan Cohen ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    Wow! Walking into Immerse Modern Massage, my entire body immediately relaxed right at the front door. The aromatherapy is so intoxicating and soothing, and the ambiance is very nice. Walking into the treatment room was even better. They … More really did such a good job with the place! Not to mention the massage table! Omg, it felt so incredible to be sandwiched in between healing frequencies, warmth, and high vibrations. I can’t wait to go back!!! I was impressed to say the least.
  • Avatar Olivia Guethling ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Mason is awesome! I just had an amazing massage experience and loved it. He attentively addressed the tension spots in my body and worked through them. The massage table vibrates synced up to the meditative music which was sooo relaxing … More and helped me be super dropped into the moment. The weighted blanket and the warm scented towels were another highlight. Highly recommend. Thank you, Mason!
  • Avatar Kelsey Koll ★★★★★ a year ago
    Wow! My massage with Mason was healing on so many levels! He addressed the spots of tension and diligently worked to remind my muscles that it’s okay to relax. He was very attentive to my needs and comfort.
    Immerse is definitely an appropriate
    … More name for this space as you are enveloped in delightfully warm infrared heat (through amethyst crystals!), the soothing sounds of a waterfall, and a sound bath of vibrations coming directly from the table!
    The thoughtful intention put in to making Immerse Modern Massage the healing environment that is it is apparent and very much appreciated!

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