European Style massage at Bethesda Holistic Center
Oriental or "Asian" massages generally have in common is the belief that they work on invisible "energy lines"- these are referred to as different things depending on the discipline (example: meridians, sen lines, marma points, tsubo points..). Some of theses discipline lean on the channeling of a "cosmic force" and others are more "practical" in their approach. The treatment approach is to release or remove "energy blockages" to bring the body back into balance (homeostasis). These theories have not been proven by modern science- yet, these techniques DO provide results. More research is need as to how exactly- but let's just say the mechanics of our amazing nervous system could be the key- energy lines are actually lines of nerves and nerve branches. Basically, the application works but the theory behind it needs mega-updating ;) Keep in mind, these theories were developed THOUSANDS of years ago, before the modern scientific tools of investigation and analyzation came into being. It is remarkable that they were "on to something" and these techniques are still effective today. However, it is important to understand exactly what is happening in the body and how it produces measurable results without vagueness- this is how the science and practice of massage evolves as a whole.
European massages is based on physiology, rather than "unseen" forces. Its main function is stress-reduction (physical or mental), circulatory/medical, or general relaxation (properly done it has very powerful results).