With today’s lifestyle and fast-paced environment, no one can deny the true value of a good massage. There are at least 200 different massage techniques all over the world offering various health and relaxation benefits.
Although not critical, it is important to know which type of massage you should choose to get the full benefits. Our preferences vary based on several factors and this is why most people try out the different techniques. It is also recommended that you acquire the services of a masseuse that is certified.
Check out below and you might discover something you haven’t heard or tried before.
Swedish – This may be the most popular one and it’s the best choice for first timers. It’s a whole body therapeutic massage to make you relax and reduce stress and there are many other benefits that you get from this. Talk to your therapist on your preferences like the specific areas you want her to concentrate.
The masseuse usually starts and ends with long and smooth strokes. It also involves kneading and rolling the muscles with oil. There is also the application of deep pressure on certain areas of your body using the thumb or knuckles. Other strokes like the tapping and vibration are slowly losing its popularity because many people consider it as not relaxing.
Deep Tissue – This technique is almost similar to Swedish when it comes to strokes but it targets the deeper layer of the muscles, tendons, and fascia. It is also more of a treatment than relaxation. The masseuse uses his knuckles and elbows to deal with the problematic knotted muscles usually in the back, shoulder and neck.
It is also more expensive because of the additional effort needed. If you feel like the pressure is too much, you must not hesitate to tell your therapist about it. This is perfect if you are having stiff or painful muscles or repetitive strain or recovering from an injury. This is why most athletes also use this as part of their recovery. If you choose this, expect to feel sore of up to 48 hours.
Shiatsu – This technique originated in Japan and the term literally means “finger pressure”. It is aimed for overall health and rejuvenation. The therapist uses her fingers and palms to create a rhythmic sequence.
Firm pressure is used but you will be delighted to know that you will not have soreness in your body after unlike the deep tissue massage. There have been many reports that their pain and stress were significantly reduced after just one session. Note however that shiatsu should not be considered as an alternative treatment for any medical condition.
Unlike the other conventional bodywork, you don’t just lie on the bed or sit on a chair. It’s like doing Yoga but with the help of someone else. Not only is it very energizing and relaxing, but it also improves your flexibility.
Thai massage is not for everyone like if you are pregnant or recovering from an injury. It is best if you ask your doctor if you have any doubts and make sure that the therapist is accredited and knows your health status. If you feel any discomfort or pain during the session, you should inform your therapist.
Sports Massage – This is perfect for athletes but you don’t have to be into sports to appreciate this. If you are always active like your profession requires you to be always on the go, then you might be able to benefit from it.
It is a combination of several techniques discussed in this article but it is specifically designed on your sport or activity like the legs for runners and the arms for boxers.
It is known for improving blood circulation and stretching muscles to prevent injuries and improve performance. It is also known in the sports industry for the psychological effects such as better relaxation and in reducing anxiety.
Reflexology – It is based on the premise that every part of our body and organs have corresponding points on our feet and hands and that by applying pressure to such points, a form of treatment or alleviation of pain is achieved. Although there is still no concrete medical evidence to this, there have been many reports from individuals who have tried reflexology that are positive.
The session usually starts with a short assessment about your health and lifestyle. Then the reflexologist will stimulate specific points and apply pressure to your feet.
Reflexology is usually mistaken with foot massage, but it’s more complex than that. The latter is more similar with Swedish. This technique is highly-appreciated by those who have problematic feet and those who are on their feet all the time.
Aromatherapy – This is a very relaxing massage that involves essential oils from flowers and herbs. It is perfect if you are undergoing any stress-related conditions or just plainly feeling low. It has been proven many times that a nice aroma improves our mood. Our nose is connected to a part of our brain called the limbic system which controls our mood and emotions.
Of course, you can have the scent of your choice. If you don’t know what to pick, spas and parlors offer guide on which is appropriate for you. For instance, rosemary is for energizing and cleansing, eucalyptus and tea tree are for decongesting, and the most famous lavender for relaxing.
Hot Stone – This variety of massage is primarily for relaxing and it is also very effective in relieving tension, improving circulation, and easing muscle stiffness. The idea is that the heat relaxes the muscles and expand the blood vessels.
Smooth, regular-sized stones are heated and placed on specific areas of your back. The therapist also uses the stones for massaging your body by soaking it with essential oil and using a little pressure. This is perfect for those who has stiff muscles and do not prefer a hard massage.
One interesting twist is by alternatively applying cold stone which uses chilled marbles on the session.
Trigger Point – This technique is somehow similar to the deep tissue and can also be confused with pressure point therapy. This is done using vibrations, pressure, and strokes to reach “trigger points” that causes pain and discomfort.
Unlike the deep tissue, this does involve the whole body. Instead, only the specific problematic areas are dealt with. There have been many reports that with just one session, significant decrease in pain is observed.
If you try this, you may also be asked to get involved by deep breathing and locating the exact location of the problem area.
If you want to have your own self-massaging tool, consider getting the affordable Body Back Buddy:
Craniosacral Therapy – This form of bodywork involves the therapist applying gentle touches to the face, skull, spinal column and sacrum. It relieves tension and stress but should not be used in treating diseases and other medical problems.
This is perfect for those who have migraines, neck and back problems, and other chronic pain in the face, head and spine. If you regularly have headache due to stress, you will surely love this treatment. You can ask the therapist to concentrate on the scalp massage if you want to. Others who have tried this therapy also reported that they get better sleep and feel re-energized.
Stress is the main reason why people get a massage but there are many other benefits that you can benefit from it like lowering bloody pressure, improving circulation, and alleviating pain. But you should always talk to your doctor before trying out a session especially if you are pregnant, injured, or have serious health condition.
After a good massage, you will feel relaxed and can expect up to 2 days of discomfort. It should not be painful, but the good kind of discomfort like after doing stretching exercises or yoga.
You should enjoy your experience and not endure the whole session. It is important that you communicate with your therapist if you find it too hard.
If you went for a session to have a certain part of your body taken cared of because of pain or discomfort, you should not expect immediate results. It may take several visits before you start noticing improvement.
Also, it is highly recommended that you get a massage regularly and not just when you feel like it.
If you love massages but find it very expensive and time-consuming to visit spa every week, consider getting a robotic massage chair. You don’t have to go for the expensive ones as there are many great products that are less than $500.