Massage Terms Glossary

Abdominal Massage

Abdominal massage is massage that is performed on the abdomen (spanning right below the chest to a few inches below the belly button). It is not typically incorporated into a standard full-body massage as some prefer not to have that area of their body touched. However, abdominal massage can be very helpful in alleviating certain forms of gastric and muscular pain. If you are interested in abdominal massage, please inform your therapist prior to your massage.

Chair Massage

Chair massage is performed with the client sitting in a specialized massage chair. Most typically, chair massage sessions are shorter as fewer areas of the body are accessible to the therapist. However, it can still be greatly beneficial to the back and arms in particular and can be a great option for those not able to get on a table. Additionally, the portability of massage chairs makes them a go-to option for those looking to book therapists for an event. All massages on the FWMC premises are on tables unless the client specifies otherwise.



Congestion is an umbrella term for muscle and fascia that is restricted, tight, inflamed, knotted, or filled with cellular waste and fluid. Essentially, congestion is an indication that normal vascular activity and mobility has been interrupted. The tissue can feel spongey, crunchy, bumpy or ropey. If your therapist notes this during your session, they will work to alleviate that congestion so both your muscle and fascia can function at their best.

Deep Tissue

Deep tissue is a term for massage which penetrates more deeply into the musculature. Deep tissue massage is recommended for clients who prefer extra-firm pressure or desire to gain greater therapeutic benefit from their massage. To achieve beneficial deep tissue work, therapists tend to use more pressure over greater lengths of time to reach deeper layers of muscle. It is not uncommon to feel a bit of discomfort during or after a deep tissue massage; however, this typically is relieved within 1 to 2 days and can be aided by the application of ice or heat. For those looking to book a deep tissue massage, we recommend 60 minutes for specific work (massage which focuses on select areas of the body) or 90 minutes for a full-body. 


Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles and internal organs. In the world of massage, muscular fascia is the most commonly dealt with. Similarly to muscle itself, fascia can develop adhesions and restrictions. As fascia is wrapped both in and around the muscle, these adhesions and restrictions can create issues with muscle mobility. Therefore, therapists will note when they find problematic fascia and will work to alleviate the issues so both your muscle and fascia can function at their best.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage is a massage that incorporates hot, flat, palm-sized stones. During your session, your therapist may both lay the stones on your skin or massage you with the stones themselves. The warmth emanating from the stones and the resulting relaxation and comfort to the body makes hot stone massage one of the most popular modalities in the industry. 

Integrative Massage

Integrative massage is our term for the basic massage we offer here at FWMC. That being said, integrative massage is anything but basic. The idea behind the name is that the massage "integrates" all the of modalities, techniques, and tools the therapist has at their disposal to help you feel your best. In essence, we don't standardize or dictate the style of massage you will receive. We just hire the best therapists we know and let them do their best, most productive work, tailored to you. 


Modalities are simply different styles of massage and bodywork. Some of the most well-known massage modalities are Swedish, Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Lymphatic Drainage, Reflexology, and Shiatsu.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is performed on a pregnant client. All therapists at FWMC are trained in prenatal massage. We encourage clients to wait until their second trimester to receive massage as risks are significantly reduced after the first trimester. In addition, we ask any client with a high-risk pregnancy to provide us with a doctor's note or referral. Prenatal massage is most commonly performed with the client on her side, propped up by as many pillows as needed for adequate comfort.

Range of Motion

In basic terms, range of motion (or ROM) is the movement potential of any of your given joints. If you have full ROM, your joint will be able to move to its full potential (ex. a knee fully extending to create a straight leg). Conversely, if your joint cannot move to its full potential, you will have decreased ROM (ex. an arm that can only be raised to shoulder height). If your therapist notes decreased ROM during your session, they will work to address the contributing muscular and fascial problems so you can both move and feel better.


Reflexology is the use of pressure on the hands and feet to create change and relieve pain in other areas of the body. While reflexology is not a component of traditional Swedish massage, many therapists choose to incorporate aspects of it into their massage practice.


Stretching is an important part of therapeutic massage, both during the session and after. During the session, your therapist may perform stretches on you, with or without your assistance. Our therapists are trained to gently mobilize the joints and not overstretch so you suffer no damage or discomfort. After your session, your therapist may show you some stretches you can do at home to help relieve muscle tension and continue the beneficial work that began in the session. 

© 2019 by Fort Wayne Massage Centre

3182 Mallard Cove Lane

Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804

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