Glossary: Therapy and Techniques NCBTMB


This glossary includes some of the most popular techniques and terms used in massage therapy and bodywork.  This glossary is included for consumer’s informational purposes only.  NCBTMB does not endorse one form of massage or bodywork over another.  For more information, including techniques not listed here, please consult the references at the end of the glossary.

Acupressure - Acupressure is a form of bodywork based in traditional Chinese meridian theory in which acupuncture points are pressed to stimulate the flow of energy or chi.2

Alexander Technique - F. M. Alexander cured his loss of voice and nasal difficulties with improved posture and head positioning. There are three elements to the Alexander Technique. The first element teaches the client how to use the body properly by correcting improper posture. During the second element, a hands-on treatment is done to elongate muscles and release muscle spasms. The third element includes visualization exercises focusing on seeing the body longer and freer.3

Bodywork - Bodywork is a general term for practices involving touch and movement in  both Eastern and Western practices  where the practitioner may use manual and energetic techniques to promote health and healing in the recipient.2

Chair Massage - Chair massage refers to massage given with the recipient seated in an ordinary or special massage chair. Recipients remain clothed in chair massage. It has been called on-site massage when the chair is taken to a public place such as an office or commercial establishment.2

Craniosacral - Cranio refers to the cranium, which is the bony part of the head. Sacral refers to the bony bottom of the spine called the sacrum. In the 1900s Dr. William Sutherland, an osteopathic physician, discovered cranio movement. In the 1970s Dr. John Upledger, an osteopathic doctor, helped to further Sutherland's discovery as both an evaluative tool and a corrective one. Craniosacral therapy is a light touch manipulation of the head and bottom of the spine to restore optimal cerebrospinal fluid movement..1

Deep Tissue Massage - Deep tissue massage is also called deep muscle therapy or deep tissue therapy. It is an umbrella term for bodywork systems that work deeply into the muscles and connective tissue to release chronic aches and pains.3

Read on for the complete list:
Glossary: Therapy & Techniques | National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork

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