Give Online: Help shape patient care for generations to come.
Cleveland Clinic Logo

Appointments and Questions

216.448.HEAL (4325)

Expand Content

Massage Therapy

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Massage Therapy promotes health and well-being by way of soft tissue manipulation and movement of the body. Massage therapy is the use of massage techniques to treat disorders of the human body, promote healing, improve clinical outcomes and encourage higher levels of wellness.

Professionally trained massage therapists use touch to manipulate the tissues of the body in a skilled, sensitive and compassionate way. Some patients enjoy massage therapy as a regular part of maintaining wellness. Others use it as a temporary treatment for specific injuries or conditions.

What Massage Therapy Treats

Massage therapy can help reduce symptoms of various ailments, diseases and injuries

Massage therapists use different techniques to address a variety of ailments, diseases and injuries. Some techniques help treat physical problems resulting from stress or emotional conditions. Others address physical problems such as injuries resulting from a car accident. Specific techniques can help treat some diseases. For example:

  • Respiratory disorders (such as sinus pressure) can be relieved through trigger point release
  • Congestive chest symptoms can be relieved through tapotement, a percussion type of massage
  • Neurological and muscular disorders (such as headaches, migraines, neck pain, tennis elbow, low back pain, frozen shoulder, and pain associated with osteoarthritis, tendonitis or menstrual symptoms) can be addressed through cranio-sacral release, Swedish massage, myofascial release and a variety of other techniques
  • Digestive disorders (such as constipation) can be relieved through abdominal techniques
  • Post-operative pain and lymphedema can be addressed with lymphatic drainage

Some people with pre-existing medical conditions may not benefit from massage therapy. If you have any of the following issues, please discuss them with your therapist and physician before treatment:

  • Any condition for which you are taking blood-thinning medication (which may contribute to bruising)
  • Blood clots in the leg
  • Tumors
  • Osteoporosis or disease of the spine (which may make you vulnerable to fractures)
  • Weak skin
  • Medical devices implanted or attached to your body.

A massage therapy session usually lasts about 50 minutes. The lighting in the room is low and subtle to help create a sense of relaxation before the massage even begins. Gentle, soothing music plays in the background throughout the massage.

More than 80 types of massage therapy exist. With such a vast variety of techniques and possible combinations, the way you’ll feel during treatment can be hard to predict. Some techniques use less pressure than the weight of a hand, while others press intensely into certain points to release muscle tension. Before treatment, discuss with your therapist which technique or techniques will be used and what they should feel like. During the course of treatment, it’s ok to talk to your therapist about what you feel and your comfort level. Some patients describe sensations that are painful in a good way, but if you experience any pain that causes you discomfort, please tell your therapist right away.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Most patients feel more relaxed, especially if they have massage therapy sessions regularly. Research shows that massage therapy can help reduce pain, decrease autoimmune illnesses, depression, anxiety, and enhance immune function. Specifically, massage therapy can:

  • Increase range of motion and flexibility
  • Increase blood and lymph function
  • Help people respond to and better tolerate medical procedures and other related therapies
  • Reduce pain, depression, stress and anxiety related to illness
  • Reduce muscle tension or soreness, and help restore muscle tone lost through long-term bed rest, stress and anxiety

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle hands-on technique that works with the soft tissue structures and flow of cerebrospinal fluid between the head and base of the spine. These structures and fluids are there to protect, support and nourish the brain and spinal cord. CST uses a light touch to examine membranes and movement of the fluids in and surrounding the central nervous system.  Relieving tension in the central nervous system promotes a feeling of well-being by eliminating pain, and enhancing health and immunity.

What happens during a Craniosacral Therapy session?

A craniosacral therapy session is much like a massage therapy session, with the exception that the patient remains fully clothed. The treatment session begins with a consultation with the specially trained therapist. Soft music and low lighting will help you relax and enjoy the session even more.

What are the benefits of Craniosacral Therapy?

The therapist will uses light pressure techniques to assess disruptions and restrictions in the fascial system and in the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. Fascia is a layer of tissue which runs throughout your entire body and surrounds every structure. Restrictions in the fascia can indicate disruption within the central nervous system. By relieving the tension in the nervous system tissue the related muscles and organs naturally release stress which, in turn, improves function. Patients often feel a sense of deep relaxation.

What does Craniosacral Therapy treat?

Because Craniosacral Therapy is so gentle people of all ages can benefit from it. CST can help relieve:

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Autism
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Trauma
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Dyslexia
  • Facial Pain
  • Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Scoliosis 
  • TMJ Disorder

Is Craniosacral Therapy right for everyone?

There are a few situations when Craniosacral Therapy would not be appropriate or would require discussion with your CST practitioner and physician.

Treatment would need to wait if you have experienced any of the following and have NOT been released for treatment by your physician: a recent concussion, cerebral swelling, structural defects in the cerebellum such as Arnold-Chiari malformation, brain aneurysm, traumatic brain syndrome or blood clots.

If you have a disorder that causes instability of your cerebrospinal fluid pressure, flow or buildup, additional precautions would need to be followed.

Is Craniosacral Therapy covered by insurance?

No, Craniosacral Therapy is not covered by insurance. An out-of-pocket payment is required prior to service.

For Appointments - 216.448.HEAL (4325)

Wellness Locations

Cleveland Clinic Wellness Store