If you’re having trouble stress or chronic pain, massage may be one of the avenues you’ve considered travelling down to find relief. There are, however, a multitude of different styles of massage to choose from. Each style employs different methods and results in different benefits. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most popular styles of massage, their methods, and their benefits:
By far the most common form of massage, Swedish massage employs long, soft, kneading strokes in combination lighter rhythmic tapping strokes on the uppermost layers of muscle. Strokes with circular motions are often applied. Swedish massage is effective in promoting relaxation, boosting energy, and can even help with recovery from injuries.
Utilizing a combination of massage and scented essential oils, aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to treating stress-related conditions or conditions with an emotional component.
This style employs manipulation of soft tissue and targets underpinning causes of chronic pain involving the nervous and muscular system. It also addresses tender muscles points, circulation, nerve compression, postural issues, and biomechanical issues caused by repetitive movement injuries.
Deep Tissue Massage
Best for addressing painful, stiff spots in the body, deep tissue massage employs slow deliberate strokes focusing of tissue deep under the skin. It is less rhythmic than other forms of massage, but can still be very therapeutic.
Developed to assist muscle groups associated with specific sports, this method utilizes a variety of approaches to help athletes in training. Non-athletes can use sports massage to promote flexibility, prevent injuries, or aid in recovery from injury.
This is a good method for people on the go. A session typically takes 15 – 20 minutes, and is preformed while the patient is fully clothed and sitting in a special chair. Chair massage focuses on the neck, shoulders, back, and arms.
Japanese for “finger pressure”, Shiatsu massage therapists use varied, rhythmic pressure on specific points of the body called acupressure points. Acupressure points are believed to loom large in the flow of the body’s vital energy and Shiatsu removes blockages at acupressure points.
Thai massage therapists employ their own body to manipulate the patient into different yoga-like positions. This method often includes compression of muscles, mobilization of joints, and acupressure.
Hot Stone Massage
Often used in combination with Swedish massage techniques, practitioners of hot stone massage place warmed stones at specific points of the patient’s body. The stone can be left in place for a short time or used as massage tools. This method can be very soothing as the stones send heat deep into the body.
Developed in China, this method employs hand, thumb, and finger techniques to stimulate specific spots on the feet. These areas correspond to different areas of the body. It is very effective at relieving foot pain, and is also quite relaxing.
Pregnancy brings many bodily changes and with them, stress. Pregnancy massage works to relieve this stress. It also helps to reduce leg and arm swelling and relieve muscle and joint pain. This method is especially helpful during those times during pregnancy when use of drugs or medical techniques is discouraged.