Integrative massage therapy is a holistic, focused culmination of modalities. This practice is highly individualized per client and can include hands-on work, energy work, and even guided meditation.

When a licensed massage therapist (LMT) practices integrative massage therapy, they are focusing on treating the mind-body-spirit connection as a whole. This is an expansive tool that can be used to treat a myriad of issues from sore muscles to anxiety.

This holistic approach allows the practitioner to deepen the experience for the client and tailor the session to meet specific needs. Clients often express their needs in the form of physical discomfort, such as tension in the shoulders, etc. With an integrative approach, therapist and client can explore several paths to alleviate these issues.

During a session of integrative massage therapy, the therapist will begin with broad, flowing strokes to feel tension in the underlying muscle, playing close attention to the depth of the client’s breath and emotional shifts. These are indications that the area needs further exploration.

Areas that need special attention might be treated with specific energy work, acupressure massage, deep tissue work, or light stretching.

Breathwork (pranayama), energy work (reiki, or quantum touch), and guided meditation can be utilized to decrease cortisol and increase serotonin which can help balance the mind-spirit connection, along with traditional hands-on massage to balance the body.

The therapist that holds focus on this particular connection knows that when one part of the system is unbalanced, other areas can be disrupted, resulting in unwanted stress and physical discomfort.

Exploring massage therapy can be an exciting and intimidating experience. However, know that you are taking steps to further your well being, which can only be beneficial.

Client-therapist connection is extremely important during this type of session. No two massage therapists are the same, so feeling comfortable and having open communication with your LMT is crucial.

Summer Foster is a licensed massage therapist (LMT) who also holds certifications in Jivamutki Yoga and Vinyasa Flow. She works at Inner Peace Massage and Spa.