Aesthetics Daily – Massage therapy is not only found in luxury spas or high-end health clubs. You can now easily find massage services at health clinics, beauty spas, hospitals, hotels and public places such as airports or train stations.
Massage involves several techniques such as pressing, rubbing, and manipulating your muscles, skin and ligaments. Massages can range from light stroking to deep pressure. Generally, massage is considered as part of integrative medicine.
There are various types of massages that you can usually find, including Swedish massage, shiatsu, reflexology, and many others explained in this article. Every type of massage provides good health benefits. However, that does not mean you are choosing the type of massage carelessly. Make sure that the type of massage you choose is safe and doesn’t have many bad side effects for your body.
Types of Body Massages
1. Swedish Massage
The type of massage therapy most practiced in various countries is Swedish massage. Known as classical massage, Swedish massage uses a variety of techniques such as firm kneading, circular pressure by the hands and palms, light tapping, long strokes, passive joint movements, and others.
Swedish massage is used to help relax the body, relieve muscle tension, stimulate nerve endings, increase blood flow and lymph drainage.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is used to treat musculoskeletal conditions such as tense muscles and sports injuries. This involves applying continuous pressure using slow, deep movements to target the inner layers of muscles and connective tissue. It can also speed healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.
Offering both physical and psychological benefits, deep tissue massage focuses on relaxation, helping with muscle soreness and stiffness. It is a great stress reliever that helps lower cortisol levels and raises levels of oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes the body and produces a calming effect.
3. Hot Stone Massage
Massage therapy which has been used thousands of years ago involves placing a number of heated stones on the body for pain relief, therapy, and relaxation purposes known as hot stone massage. It is used to relieve tense muscles and damaged soft tissue throughout your body. The massage therapist will place several smooth, even stones heated between 130 and 145 degrees on certain parts of the body.
Hot stones made of a type of volcanic rock called basalt are generally placed on the spine, palms, feet, face, chest and abdomen. During hot stone massage therapy, the therapist may apply several regular massage techniques including circular movements, tapping, kneading, vibration, and long strokes. Sometimes, cold stones are used to soothe blood vessels and hot skin.
4. Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy massage is a Swedish massage therapy that uses massage oils or lotions containing essential oils. During an aromatherapy massage, you inhale essential oil molecules which have several properties. Almost every massage clinic or beauty spa offers aromatherapy massage treatments.
Nonetheless, the styles of treatment, the degree of customization, and the quality of essential oils vary widely. The massage therapist has one or more mixes to choose from based on your health concerns. They may involve you in the selection process by asking you to smell various mixtures.
5. Sports Massage
Sports massage is reported to have many beneficial effects on athletes. This type of massage is used before or after a match, during training or for rehabilitation. Using deep tissue techniques, sports massage works to reduce muscle tension, discomfort and pain.
Although professional athletes can benefit from sports massage, this massage method can generally be used by anyone. Sports massage can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions including muscle and joint injuries, posture-related pain, back pain to repetitive strain injuries.
6. Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point massage consists of a variety of treatments designed to release pressure on the affected area, thereby allowing the tied muscles to relax. Depending on your symptoms and condition, the therapist’s recommended treatment may vary.
The most common types of trigger point massage include teurapetic massage, dry needling and trigger point release. Not only is it effective in reducing muscle tension and headaches, this therapy can also improve range of motion and flexibility. This therapy can also improve posture and relieve pain.
7. Thai Massage
Thai massage is an ancient healing practice originating in India using gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the whole body. The techniques used by Thai massage practitioners are different from those commonly practiced by Westerners. Unlike Swedish massage or shiatsu, where a person is passively lying on a bed, the client lies on the floor and participates more actively in the massage.
According to studies, Thai massage significantly reduces the levels of certain stress markers present in saliva. Researchers say that Thai massage is more effective at reducing stress in people than simply resting. In addition, Thai massage can also increase one’s energy level.
8. Shiatsu Massage
First developed in Japan, shiatsu massage is a type of massage therapy that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body, moving from one point to another in a rhythmic sequence. A form of traditional Chinese medicine, shiatsu massage is now commonly practiced around the world.
When doing shiatsu, the therapist applies deep pressure using the fingers, thumbs and palms in sequence. Finger pads are used for pressing. Each point is usually held for two to eight seconds. Shiatsu is often used to reduce stress and protect the body from health problems.
Acupressure, which originated in China for thousands of years, is an alternative medicine technique that involves applying gentle but firm pressure to specific parts of the feet and hands. Some confuse acupressure with acupuncture. The two of them are indeed the same in terms of the principle that the body has a flow of energy called qi from which life force originates.
Ideal for people under stress, acupressure helps relieve muscle tension. It can also relax the body thereby lowering heart rate and blood pressure. People who have poor blood circulation are advised to undergo acupressure. In addition, acupressure is believed to boost the immune system.
10. Chair Massage
In many ways, a chair massage is almost the same as a table massage. Instead of lying on a table, clients kneel in special chairs equipped with cushions to support their heads and chests. Most of the seats are equipped with armrests that can be extended to enhance the upper bodywork.
During the massage, the client sits facing forward on a chair, adjustments are made for comfort. Massages generally begin with the large muscle groups in the upper back and work their way up to the lower back, neck, shoulders and arms. The therapist can recommend different types of massage based on the client’s physical response.
11. Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massage is a therapeutic body treatment that focuses on the specific needs of the expectant mother as her body undergoes dramatic changes during pregnancy. It improves the function of muscles and joints, improves blood circulation and reduces mental and physical fatigue.
It is important to seek treatment from a certified prenatal massage therapist who has received training beyond national standards for massage therapy. They are aware of how to position you safely and prevent strain on the uterine ligaments.
Reflexology involves applying different pressure to the hands, feet, and ears. This is based on the theory that these body parts are connected to certain organs and body systems. Reflexologists believe that applying pressure to certain parts of the body provides health benefits.
Anything from headaches to sinus and stomach problems can be treated with reflexology. If sensitivity or tenderness is experienced when an area is stimulated, it usually indicates weakness or imbalance in the body. With repeated pressure and nerve endings manipulation, reflexology helps clear blocked energy channels.
13. Cupping Therapy
Cupping therapy is an ancient alternative medicine where the therapist places a special cup on the skin for a few minutes to suck. People do it for a variety of purposes including treating pain, inflammation, improving blood flow, relaxation and wellness.
Alternative medicine that has been used since ancient Egypt thousands of years ago uses cups made of bamboo, glass, pottery or silicon. There are two main categories of cupping that are mostly done, namely dry cupping and wet cupping.