Massage has become very popular as a form of de-stressing. It can get rid of accumulated tensions and leave you feeling revitalized and alive. If you’ve never had a massage before but you’d like to have one, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the different types that are available. Here’s a run down on what’s out there so that you can choose with confidence and get the most from the experience.
The Top Ten most popular types of massage.
1. Swedish Massage Therapy
This is the massage that is most people in the United States go for. It can also be called simply ‘Swedish Massage’ or ‘Massage Therapy. The therapist uses massage oil to help their hands make long, smooth strokes over the body. It’s good for releasing the tension and start of ‘muscle knots’ in the uppermost layers of muscle. The therapist does this with kneading and circular movements. Fans say that it is extremely gentle and highly relaxing.
2. Aromatherapy Massage
This is simple massage therapy but the oil that is used will be an aromatherapy one. This can be one or more scented essential plant oils. Depending on what the therapist feels you need from the massage, the appropriate oil for you could be relaxing, energizing or help to reduce your stress levels. The one most often used is lavender, which can be quite soporiphic and help you to reach a deeper level of relaxation which will give you a more effective massage. This form of massage is particularly good for people who are under stress or have emotional upset.
3. Hot Stone Massage
This is gaining in popularity and is perfect if you have tension in your muscles but don’t like deep massage. Smooth, heated stones are placed onto the areas of your body where the muscles have tightened up. Some therapists place them on Chakra or energy points. The therapist may also hold the stones and push gently onto them. The warmth and gentle weight of the stone is comforting and relaxing and helps to unknot you gently!
4. Deep Tissue Massage
This is helpful if you have tight muscles that havn’t released or any form of repetitive strain. It’s also godd for problems with posture or if you are recovering from an injury. The therapist uses slow strokes or friction across the muscles to reach and release knots in the deep layers of muscle. This can be quite painful at times and you may feel sore for thenext couple of days but then the relief is wonderful.
This works on the points of the body that are used in acupuncture. Finger pressure is applied to the acupuncture meridian and this is held for a few seconds. The belief is that the pressure will open up the energy points and help the correct flow of energy to become re-established, restoring health. Although the pressure is firm, Shiatsu is not painful and can be very relaxing. No oil is used and you remain clothed for this massage.
6. Thai Massage
This is like Shiatsu in that the therapist uses pressure on energy points to realign your body’s energy flows. However, it also includes being stretched and placed into different postures. This is more energizing than relaxing andis good for relieving stress, improving flexibility and giving you a greater range of motion. As with the Shiatsu massage, no oil is used so you keep your clothes on!
7. Pregnancy Massage
This is also known as prenatal massage. It’s great for lowering stress levels, bringing down swelling, helping to relieve aches and reduce anxiety. Be sure that you find a therapist who is properly certified in pregnancy massage as they have been trained in the correct ways to support a pregnant woman during the massage. A good one should tailor the massage to your specific requirements.
Although this is a foot massage, it is so much more than that! It involves putting pressure on or massaging particular points of the foot. Each point is associated with an organ or system of the body, so ailments or problems in other areas can be helped just by massaging the foot. On a simpler level, it’s also wonderful if you have a job that requires you to be on your feet all day.
9. Sports Massage
This isn’t just for professional athletes. If you work out a lot or are just an active person, you can benefit from this. Rather than focusing on relaxation, the aim is to prevent injuries before they occur and also to treat them once they have. The massage strokes tend to be fast and the therapist helps you to stretch to loosen up your muscles and increase your levels of flexibility.
10. Back Massage
Some clinics and therapists will perform a 30 minute back massage. Alternatively, if a specific back massage is not advertised, you can request a plain massage and ask the therapist to concentrate on your back.