With today’s stressful, hectic lifestyles the need for something that makes you unwind and relax is becoming greater and greater. Finding a method which helps with letting go of all the daily stresses is increasingly important. As a result, massage therapy has become extremely important nowadays. There are more than 200 types of different massage techniques each offering numerous health benefits. Even though they all help with stress relief and achieving relaxation, different types are recommended for different conditions.
Relaxation and Stress Relief
Certain types of massages are much more calming than others. Some will make you feel immediately relaxed while others can be slightly uncomfortable and cause pain.
Swedish massage is probably the most common massage type. This is the massage most people seem to associate with the word massage. Swedish massage therapy uses a wide combination of basic massage techniques:
• Effleurage: this is this most basic massage technique. Effleurage means stroking, where the therapists hands slowly slide over the skin. Normally it’s used at the beginning and at the end of the massage and to finish off a certain area. • Petrissage or Kneading: this movement is like kneading dough, tense muscles are worked on with this technique. • Friction: using mainly fingertips, thumbs, knuckles and the heel of the hand deep pressure is applied to particular areas.
This massage type provides a great sense of relaxation; eliminating mental stress while addressing major muscles in the body. It’s also a great therapy for pain relief as it helps manage chronic pain by improving circulation and making painful conditions less unbearable.
Swedish massage is the best way to get introduced to massage in general, it’s an excellent way to relieve the symptoms of stress, find relaxation and release tense muscles.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage is a unique massage type where your therapist uses smooth, heated hot stones for the massage as an extension of his/her hands. The heat is not only relaxing but it also helps with releasing the tension in tight muscles more easily and effectively, especially in the back and the shoulders. This allows the therapist to work on these areas more deeply and quickly. It eases the stiffness in the muscles by increasing circulation. The heat generated by the stones relaxes the muscles as soon as they touch the skin, providing better access to deeper muscle layers during the massage. A whole body massage is normally combined with the use of hot stones making this type of massage extremely beneficial. Blood vessels expand due to the warmth coming from the stones which encourages increased blood flow throughout the whole body. The stones have a calming effect so they are very powerful in relieving chronic pain and stress relief while reaching deep relaxation.
Massage types for pain relief
If you have more specific conditions, such as knotted muscles and you’re looking for a massage therapy that is much more than pure relaxation and stress relief, more perceptive massage techniques are required.
Deep Tissue Massage
When specific areas need deeper work, deep tissue massage can be the solution. As the name suggests, this massage type allows the therapist to apply much deeper pressure onto trouble areas. When your therapist pushes into your knotted muscles, it can be rather painful and after the massage you might feel sore for a while. This is a very powerful way to soften up those knotted muscles and doctors recommend it as a powerful treatment too. Your therapist will use their knuckles and where necessary, their elbows to work on your muscle tissue.. This massage method is recommended for people doing sports on a regular basis where the muscles are harder, people who had injuries which healed completely and for anyone whose tissues are dense. Always tell your therapist if you need more or less pressure to make sure your massage session lives up to your expectations.
This massage type is proven to be much more powerful than any conventional medical remedies when the aim is to reduce chronic pain. It helps with blood flow increase and it also reduces the inflammation which is normally the cause of the pain. It can also be a treatment for high blood pressure because it eases stress and tension.
Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point massage is similar to deep tissue massage as it addresses specific areas of the body. This is a technique where the therapist finds the muscles that need work and relax them with deep pressure. A trigger point is an extremely tight area, a very tender spot, usually in an isolated area within the muscles which causes pain and discomfort in other parts of the body. A common example is the neck which acts like a trigger point causing headaches. There are cycles of isolated pressure and release, releasing the source of the pain during this massage therapy. The treatment is very effective; you can feel less pain even after the first treatment. It’s advisory to have this massage regularly in order to deal with pain and stressed caused by chronic injuries.
The difference between deep tissue and trigger point massage is that deep tissue massage combines different traditional massage techniques in order to work the tissue while trigger point massage works on one point that eases tension in the whole area. This is probably the most painful method because the pain can cause numbness or have a stinging sensation. As this massage type works on specific points on the body, it’s proven to be the best method for pain release.
At the beginning of the session your therapist will try to locate all the trigger points on your body. Once they are located the therapist will use different finger techniques with various pressures on and around those points aiming to break down these knots. This can be rather uncomfortable as direct pressure will be applied to these areas.
Revitalisation and overall health
The massage types described above will all leave you feeling relaxed and help reduce muscle tension while other types are a better option if you are looking for an overall energy boost.
Thai massage is more than 2000 years-old, it’s an authentic healing art and it’s considered to be one of the most revitalising massage types; it works on the entire body. It’s not only used as a powerful therapeutic method to heal different diseases but it’s also a great method to maintain health and well-being.
Your therapist will carefully manipulate your body, moving your body into Yoga poses while lying on the floor. With this massage type the therapist uses their arms, elbows, legs and even feet to put pressure on your muscles. Sometimes the therapist walks on your back which is a very interesting experience. Thai massage combines energetic and physical aspects which make this massage type so unique and extremely effective. It’s a full body treatment, the massage starts at your feet and your therapist goes all the way up to your head, using a series of soft, smooth exercise movements so your body becomes loosened and stretched. It increases the energy flow in your whole body by applying acupressure on the body’s energy lines.
Tantric massage is a very beneficial massage type. It helps with personal growth, spiritual awareness, gaining a more satisfying sexual life and having a better relationship with your partner. Beside these benefits, Tantric massage has a positive effect on your health, too. Whenever your energy flow is not smooth and there are blockages inside your body, it cannot function properly and illnesses and other disorders will occur. Through breathing exercises and meditation Tantra brings better blood and energy flow into focus, helping with releasing blockages. Sexual energy is built up during a Tantric session and it’s released through the spine while filling the whole body up at the same time. This clears all blockages leading to a healthier body and mind. Tantra is also lifestyle, it gives useful guidance how to stay healthy and energetic by eating the right food, doing physical and relaxation exercises on a regular basis. Chronic conditions may take several sessions so there aren’t any exact numbers specified for any conditions. By practising Tantra, you won’t feel guilty, ashamed of your own body and needs but instead become more open towards sexuality and your life will be filled in with joy and pleasure.