Getting a massage is one of the best ways to relax tired muscles. It’s great after a long day or an exhausting workout, and can even lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. Massage can even help with pain management, and (because of better blood circulation) can also help with arthritis — just one of the few reasons to get a regular massage.
Depending on what your body needs, you can actually choose different massage therapies to specifically address your particular health concerns. Most spas offer a very diverse menu of treatments, or you can look for professional massage therapists that specialize in the kind of massage you want. Here are some of the most popular massage therapies.
1. Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy massage is a type of massage that incorporates the use of scented oils (essential oils) that help relax or invigorate the person, depending on the effect he wants. The massage therapist can choose from a number of essential oils to bring about the effects that you want. For example, the therapist may use lavender if you want to become relaxed or calmed. On the other hand, bergamot or rosemary are popular oils if you want to feel reinvigorated.
2. Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is considered the most common type of massage therapy in most parts of the world. This massage type is characterized by the use of long smooth strokes on the body, and in kneading muscles. Circular motions are also used on the muscles. Oils or massage lotions are oftentimes used to make the therapist’s hands glide more smoothly and reduce uncomfortable friction on the skin.
Swedish massage is a very relaxing type of massage and most therapists recommend this for those who are still new to massage therapy.
3. Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage specifically targets the deeper layers of muscles in the body. It also takes care of the connective tissues. In contrast to Swedish massage, the massage therapist who performs deep tissue massage will use slower strokes directed against the grain of the muscle. This kind of massage is perfect if you suffer from tight or painful muscles. People who suffer from repetitive strain injuries or problems with posture will also benefit a lot from this type of massage therapy. It is common for people who undergo deep tissue massage to feel sore for a day or two.
Shiatsu is a type of massage that originates from Japan. This massage is typified by finger pressure exerted on localized acupuncture locations and done in rhythmic sequence. Each particular point is held by the massage therapist for two to eight seconds to help improve the flow of energy within the body. This also helps keep the body’s functions in balance. Shiatsu is a very relaxing type of massage that does not leave the body sore.
5. Thai Massage
Thai massage is similar to shiatsu in that it helps align the flow of energy in the body through the use of pressure placed on specific areas. Aside from pressure though, Thai massage also uses compressions and stretches.
Thai massage demands a more ‘active’ participation from the patient as he is moved and stretched by the massage therapist into various postures. These postures are reminiscent of yoga, only with the constant assistance and guidance of the massage therapist. Thai massage is a very energizing massage compared to other massage forms. It is also a great stress reliever while also improving flexibility and the body’s range of motion.
6. Sports Massage
This type of massage is specially designed for athletes and for people who undergo strenuous physical activity. One doesn’t necessarily have to be an athlete to undergo a sports massage. People who often work out at the gym or those who are extremely active are also good candidates for this kind of massage. A sports massage’s goal is not to relax the body but to prevent injuries and treat any that already exists. It also has an effect of helping enhance the athlete’s performance because the treatment helps loosen muscles and also promote flexibility.