Massage. What type is right for you?

Liz Darrington, Massage Therapist

Nobody (and no body) could argue with the health benefits of a massage with an experienced massage therapist. No doubt you’re aware of the various types of massage available. But it can be daunting working out which one is right for you. Firstly, don’t stress! Any massage will provide benefits! Secondly, if in doubt, we will talk to you to help find the massage type that will be of most benefit to you!

Remedial Massage

Remedial massage may be beneficial for migraine and tension headaches, neck and back pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, hamstring injuries, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and repetitive strain injury. Treatments are individually tailored and may include trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage, joint mobilisation and facilitated stretching to reduce pain and improve range of motion. Liz also assesses for postural imbalances and offers advice on corrective stretches and exercises for long-term results. 


Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Manual lymphatic drainage massage uses very light pressure applied in a certain direction to encourage the movement of lymph fluid around the body. Enhanced lymphatic circulation speeds-up the process by which waste products are carried away from the tissues and back to the heart. It can be beneficial for treating lymphoedema, fluid retention, post mastectomy lymphoedema of the arm, post-operative swelling, sinus congestion, swelling during pregnancy, and fibromyalgia. (Please note a full-body manual lymphatic drainage massage requires a 90-minute appointment.)


Relaxation Massage

Relaxation Massage has been found to destress the body and mind by activating the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Long smooth gliding pressure gently manipulates superficial muscle tissue to achieve a general sense of calm. Relaxation massage is not just a feel-good massage. It has many other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, increasing peripheral circulation, improving skin tone and appearance, stimulating the lymphatic system, improving gastrointestinal activity, and boosting the immune system.


Make a booking!

Liz is an accredited (ATMS) Remedial Massage Therapist with almost 10 years experience treating soft tissue related pain, restriction and injury. Liz is in the Northside Health clinic Mondays, Fridays and every other Saturday. She is a registered health fund provider for Australian Unity, Bupa, CBHS, Doctors Health Fund, Grand United Corporate Health and NIB. Work Cover clients welcome. For more information, visit
Call (02) 6652 5322 to book your next massage.

Remedial Massage for Tension Headaches

Remedial Massage Therapist, Liz Darrington

A vice. A clamp. A tight band wrapped firmly around your head. The pressure is building and it feels as though your head might explode! Tension headaches can be unbearable and, at times, utterly debilitating. We describe the signs and symptoms of tension headaches, explore their underlying causes, and explain how remedial massage can help reduce their severity, duration and frequency.

What are the sign and symptoms of tension headaches?
Tension headaches typically produce a strong constant pain or pressure on both sides of the head or forehead, with pain sometimes radiating down into the neck, shoulders, and arms. The pain is often described as a dull persistent ache. In most cases, they are mild to moderate in severity and occur infrequently.

On the other hand, some people experience severe tension headaches and are tormented by them as often as 3 to 4 times a week. When headaches occur more than 15 times a month, they are classified as “chronic tension headaches”. The intense pain of a tension headache may be confused with a migraine. Unlike migraines, however, tension headaches do not typically produce nerve symptoms such as visual disturbances, sensitivity to light and noise, blurred vision, slurred speech, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, or preceding numbness/weakness of the arms or legs.

New worsening headaches that are unfamiliar should always be discussed with your doctor. Likewise, headaches associated with fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness, slurred speech, or that are sudden and intense at onset should prompt emergency department presentation.

What are the causes of tension headaches?
Previously termed muscle contraction headaches, tension headaches are thought to be muscular in origin and associated with mental stress. When muscles are locked into position for a long period of time (think of yourself stuck at a desk almost all day), there is inadequate blood supply to the neck, shoulders and upper back muscles. This in turn generates trigger points (hyperactive contractile regions of a muscle compared with the surrounding tissue), leading to referred pain in the form of a headache! In addition to this, stress, anxiety, depression and conflict are also thought to be contributing factors of tension headache. This is because psychological tension has a knock-on effect and causes muscles to contract and tighten.

How can remedial massage help?
Remedial massage can help relieve tension headaches by releasing overly tight head, neck and shoulder muscles through trigger point therapy and stretching exercises. Trigger point therapy works by applying sustained pressure to those sensitive sore spots of the muscle. This helps to increase blood flow to the area, thereby allowing necessary nutrients to relax the muscle fibres. It can feel uncomfortable and even produce headache-like symptoms due to referred pain, however this usually lasts no more than 1 to 2 minutes. Stretching compliments trigger point therapy by lengthening shortened muscle fibres, thereby increasing flexibility, improving range of motion, and ultimately reducing pain and stiffness. Massage therapy not only helps the muscles of the body to relax, but also effectively reduces mental stress that can cause or exacerbate headaches.

A significant and meaningful reduction in tension headache frequency and duration was observed in one study where sufferers received regular head and neck massage. The participants received half-hour massages twice a week for 4 weeks following a baseline period of 4 weeks with no treatment. The study found headache frequency was reduced within 1 week of massage treatment compared with baseline levels and was maintained during the 4 weeks of massage treatment. A reduction in the average duration of each headache was also noted. The researchers concluded that massage therapy was an effective non-pharmacological intervention for the treatment of chronic tension headache.

Are you ready to rid yourself of muscle tension and mental stress? Book an appointment with Liz by calling Northside Health (02) 6652 5322.


Arendt-Nielsen, L., Castaldo, M., Mechelli, F., & Fernández-De-Las-Peñas, C. (2016). Muscle Triggers as a Possible Source of Pain in a Subgroup of Tension-type Headache Patients? The Clinical Journal of Pain.

Bendtsen, L., Ashina, S., Moore, A., Steiner, T.J. (2016). Muscles and their role in episodic tension-type headache: implications for treatment. Eur J Pain.

Chaibi, A., & Russell, M. (2014). Manual therapies for primary chronic headaches: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Headache and Pain.

Remedial Massage: Beneficial For More Than Just Relaxation

Massage Therapist, Rachael Trebon

Many people perceive massage as a luxury to increase relaxation. While this is an excellent benefit of massage therapy, there are many other circumstances where massage can contribute to one’s wellbeing. An experienced Remedial Massage Therapist can make a significant difference when treating clients with recurring or acute complaints, degenerative disease, and many common ailments and conditions.

In my clinic I see many people who work all day at computers, spend a lot of time driving, or work manual labouring jobs. As a result I often see migraines, headaches, and neck tension as a primary complaint. By working directly on the affected muscle groups and surrounding areas headaches and neck tension can often lessen dramatically or resolve altogether. Massage is also helpful in managing wrist and arm pain due to constant work at computers. Teaching clients about better posture, stretches, and tips on how to maintain a better working position will help the client maintain the results. Regular massage also helps these issues from recurring.


Pregnancy is a time of dramatic change in a woman’s body. This can lead to back and hip pain, neck pain and swelling in her legs. Massage is a great way to help manage these issues. It can relieve some of the common aches and pains, and improve her comfort level resulting in better sleep. As massage increases relaxation, I often find a reduction in stress and an improvement in mood with my pregnant clients.

It is important to find a therapist who is trained in pregnancy massage. A knowledgeable therapist will know which pressure points and areas to avoid during pregnancy, as well as which aromatherapy oils are contraindicated. Therapists who treat pregnant women should know how to support the changing body and often will have special pillows and bolsters to help the mother lay comfortably.

Until recently many people thought that massage could help spread cancer around the body. Not only has this been shown to be incorrect, but Oncology Massage has been proven to reduce pain, lower anxiety and depression, aid in treating insomnia and fatigue, as well as help with nausea. Massage after a cancer diagnosis can provide the client with an hour of care and peace in a time of uncertainty. Oncology Massage can be received before, during or after chemotherapy treatment has finished. Following surgery or radiation there are time considerations, but it is worth a discussion with a qualified to therapist to learn what options are available. As with pregnancy, it is incredibly important to find a Massage Therapist who has had specific training in Oncology Massage or Lymphatic Drainage. Cancer treatments create special considerations and it is important for the therapist to understand the precautions.

Clients with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis also benefit greatly from Remedial Massage Therapy. Although it can’t treat the disease directly, it can help with many symptoms of chronic disease. Massage can help with muscle spasms and alleviate pain. It increases circulation and can improve sleep by increasing overall relaxation. Massage can also help decrease depression and anxiety which is common in clients with degenerative diseases.

Remedial Massage is a wonderful addition to a health care plan. There are benefits for most daily, chronic and situational ailments If you do some research and ask friends, family, and health care providers who they recommend, you can find a therapist to suit most bodywork needs.

Plan your Spring Detox with Chai Hu

Herb Chai Hu has stood the test of time, having been used in Chinese Medicine for its detoxification abilities for over 2,000 years!

If you know your Liver could do with a little Spring Clean, look no further than a herbal formula containing Chai Hu (Bupleurum) available now at Northside Health.

Liver health is such a vital part of our well-being. It is the organ most responsible for converting nutrients and eliminating toxins from our systems. It also produces bile, which is the body uses to utilise fats and fat soluble vitamins. When we help out our liver, our digestion and energy levels improve markedly too.

There is so much in our external and internal environments that take a toll on the Liver; pollution, medications, alcohol, processed foods and stress, just to name a few. In Chinese Medicine, Liver Qi stagnation (stuck energy) is a key reason why depression, anger and stress arise. This is especially true in terms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Chai Hu in a herbal formula can effectively allow for free flow of Qi, easing the load on the liver and creating a less emotionally intense time leading up to menstruation.

For more information see Celia Brisa (Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist) at Northside Health to find a Liver formula to suit your individual needs.