A massage is a treat for the whole body. It works out every kink and knot all while improving circulation and relaxing you into a state of bliss. There are a number of different techniques that can help you reach this state, but if you’re new to the massage scene, you may not know which one to choose. Here are the four most popular massage techniques, and their benefits:
The Swedish massage is the most common type of massage, and probably what you think of when you hear the word “massage.” This technique will lull you into a state of utter relaxation through the use of:
- Muscle rolling and kneading
- Long, sweeping strokes
- Rhythmic tapping (not as common)
If you’re feeling stressed, or if your muscles are tense and cramped, a Swedish massage may just be what the doctor ordered.
In Japanese, Shiatsu literally translates to “finger pressure.” This massage technique dates back to ancient times, and it combines finger pressure with gentle stretches to work different pressure points on the body.
The goal with any Shiatsu massage is to release any energy, or qi, blockages in the body. It alleviates stress, boosts circulation and soothes stiff muscles.
Shiatsu is great for back pain, headaches and fatigue.
3. Deep Tissue
A deep tissue massage is exactly what it sounds like: a massage technique that puts deep pressure on trouble areas of the body. While effective, deep tissue massages can be painful and may leave you feeling sore. This type of massage is definitely not for everyone, but it does work wonders for specific trouble spots, such as a sore back.
Athletes tend to prefer deep tissue massages because they’re exceptionally hard on their bodies. Those who are undergoing physical therapy can also benefit from this type of massage because it aids in the breakdown of scar tissue.
If you want to be massaged into a blissful state of relaxation, this is not the right type for you. But if you’re struggling with painful knots and stiff muscles, a deep tissue massage can work wonders.
4. Hot Stone
As its name suggests, hot stone massages use hot stones to warm and loosen up the muscles. This makes it easier to work out tension and knots. The stones themselves are also used to perform the massage.
Prior to your session, the masseuse will heat up the stones and place them in strategic places along your spine. This will help get your blood flowing and start to loosen up your muscles.
A hot stone session can be relaxing, but the heat of the stones helps keep you in the present moment. If you have very tense muscles and are looking for a massage that will make you feel “centered” hot stone is the right choice for you.
There are several other types of massages, but these are the ones you’re most likely to find at spas and wellness centers. Even massage chairs use many of these techniques – heat therapy included. Choose a technique that addresses your trouble areas, so you walk away feeling better than ever.