There are so many different types of massage therapies available today that it is quite easy to get confused. If you are a massage lover, you might know how important it is to get the right type of massage therapy depending on your situation and physical state. But a lot of us don’t always know which ones to go for.
With that in mind, we have decided to present to you the top 10 most popular massage therapies that you can try out. Note that there are various others not included in this list, but that doesn’t reflect on their effectiveness as a form of massage.
Swedish Massage Therapy
Swedish Massage Therapy is the epitome of massages as it is arguably the most famous type. The main focus of this type is to provide complete relaxation of the body. To do this, the masseuse applies long, rubbing strokes on muscles, especially in the direction in which the blood flows towards the heart.
This therapy also aids in the improvement of circulation in the body by increasing the blood’s oxygen level and reducing the toxins in the muscles. Additionally, it eases the tension in the muscle and promotes flexibility. A gentle form of massage, this type also employs circular movements and kneading with lotions and oil.
According to The New York Times, a 45-minute Swedish massage therapy session can decrease stress hormones like cortisol and arginine vasopressin significantly. As a result, Swedish massage therapy helps you relax completely. It also improves the immune system by boosting white blood cells thus promoting a healthy body. You are encouraged to talk to the masseuse so that the massage can be customized to your personal requirements making you feel even better.
Aromatherapy is quite popular in various parts of the world. It is an enhanced type of massage therapy in which aromatic oils are used. These oils are made from the extracts of various flowers, herbs and fruits. The beautiful fragrances of the oils act naturally to increase the effects of the massage therapy. You get to choose which oil blends will be used for your massage after being mixed with the necessary lotions.
It is also believed that the inhalation of the aroma stimulates the functionality of the brain. They also seep into the body through the skin and mix with the blood, and travel through the entire body in order to promote healing. Due to that, it can boost the immune system and keep headache and other small health issues away.
One of the reasons why people choose aroma therapy is its effectiveness in reducing anxiety. People suffering from bouts of depression often use aromatherapy to ease their minds. Moreover it can increase your energy levels as well as enhance your cognitive abilities. Lastly, aroma therapy helps in reducing bodily pains. So as you can see, there are many health benefits of getting aroma therapy.
Hot Stone Massage Therapy
Hot stone massage therapy gets its name from the use of hot stones placed at different key points of the body during the massage. The stones are heated before the therapy. They are smooth and flat and often made of basalt or other rocks that can retain the heat. The therapist may also use the stones to rub and massage different parts your body.
The heated stones cause the muscles to relax, and that helps the masseuse to apply pressure even deeper if needed. It is held that the hot stones also relax the nervous system of the body and boost circulation.
As it is a very comforting type of massage therapy, hot stone massage can be used by people who worry a lot and suffer from deep anxiety and profuse stress. It is also known to ease bodily aches like back pain and some forms of arthritis. Muscle spasms are cured by hot stone massages. The soothing effect of the hot stones also helps insomniacs to get a good nights sleep. It is a recommended type of therapy for those who usually feel very chilly or have cold feet.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is very popular and is a classic massage therapy. It is used to straighten the deep muscles and tissues of the body. The strokes are slower in this type but the pressure is more so as to reach the deeper layers. In fact, it is usually focussed on particular areas of the body where there is pain or tension.
The massage breaks down muscle adhesions that usually cause pain and inflammation. As a result, you can get back to regular movement without any pain.
Due to the additional pressure applied, many people wonder if the therapy hurts. Well, it doesn’t hurt, but you might feel some discomfort initially when the therapist reaches the deep levels. However, once the massage is over, it will prove to be extremely beneficial.
You can use deep tissue massage in order to treat chronic pain, to recover from any injuries, lower back pains and osteoarthritis pain alongside many other conditions. You must openly communicate with your therapist for the best results.
Shiatsu was developed in Japan. The name of this massage therapy comes from the Japanese term that means ‘finger pressure’, and that is the specialty of this type of massage. It is also considered as a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
The pressures are applied in a rhythmic pattern on certain points of the body which are thought to be meridians – particular channels of the body through which the energy is believed to flow. It improves the circulation of a positive type of energy termed “chi”, though it is yet to be scientifically proven. However, the blood circulation is improved by Shiatsu. It also relieves you of stress and pacify pain.
If you try Shiatsu for the first time, be prepared for a surprising experience – you will be able to relax your body even though firm pressure is being applied on the body. And no, there will be no residual pain from the pressures afterwards.
Thai Massage Therapy
Thai massage is an amalgamation of Indian, Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) technique. Legend has it that Thai massage has its roots to the times of Buddha about 2500 years previously. It is performed with more rigor than other types of massage.
It leaves you energized as well as relaxed. It is often described as doing yoga without any effort on the receiver’s part – the therapist controls your body parts and stretches or compresses them in yoga-like poses. A typical session may last up to two hours.
Due to its highly physical nature, it increases flexibility and movement as well as boosting your energy. Yet you will feel an effective decrease in stress. Your body’s circulation will be positively affected by Thai massage therapy. If you haven’t yet received a Thai massage but are looking for a new type of massage, you can try this out.
Pregnant women are not usually allowed to undertake many types of massage therapies. However, they can opt for a pregnancy massage therapy, also known as the pre-natal massage, which is specifically designed for them. During the therapy, the mother’s body is positioned and supported in such a way as to ensure maximum comfort and safety.
Pregnancy massage therapy can decrease the stress of the pregnant woman. A pregnant woman often has swellings in arms and legs, and various muscular and joint aches. This specially designed massage relieves them of these burdens.
As a result, it decreases anxiety of a prospective mother, and provides them with emotional and moral support. It can also be used for back pain. Though beneficial for the pregnant woman, the pregnancy massage therapy must not be used without the consent of a doctor.
Reflexology is another type of massage therapy that is loved by many around the world. It is a type of foot massage that gets its name from the various reflex points of the feet (and hands at times) that are supposedly correlated to particular body parts. For example the head is corresponded by the tip of your toes, and heels of your feet reflect the lower back and intestines.
It is held that application of pressure on the reflex points can positively affect the organs they correspond to. This is largely due to the release of chemicals in the body due to the pressure, though the theory of reflexology and other alternative medicine is not yet scientifically proven.
Regardless of the assumed benefits of reflexology, it can be very relaxing. That is mainly why people love this massage therapy. It will not be painful, but the practitioner may apply extra pressure on some particular areas. Most people who are ticklish often hesitate from getting a reflexology massage, but trained masseuse know how to perform the therapy without tickling you. Try out this comforting therapy and relax.
Sports Massage Therapy
As the name suggest, sports massage therapy is designed for all types of athletes, but the techniques may differ according to the particular sports played by the athlete. The therapy concentrates on particular body parts of athletes that are stressed due to repetitive use and rigorous movements, and is an integral part of sports training of athletes nowadays.
But these days, sports massage therapy is gaining popularity among non-professional athletes as well. Not only does this massage therapy improve flexibility, it also increases the endurance capabilities of athletes and decreases fatigue. It can also significantly reduce muscle soreness.
The techniques are similar to Swedish massage, but much faster. If you regularly take part in physical activities like exercising or playing sports, you may consider sports massage. This is known for enhancing the performances of athletes.
Back Massage Therapy
Back pain can happen to anyone at any time. In fact, more people are prone to back pain these days as a result of sitting hours at a stretch in front of a computer. Back pain is more prevalent than other pain in other parts of the body, as it is much easier to strain any of the multiple muscles and ligaments.
Back massages can be helpful in decreasing the pain. It is known to remove muscle spasms. Chronic back pains can also be fought with a good back massage by a trained practitioner or masseuse.
Besides the benefits in reducing pack pain, back massage therapies also help the body relax completely. During the massage, you might feel sleepy. Stress is effectively reduced. The body’s circulation is increased and there’s a fresher supply of oxygen in your body due to that.
By the end of the therapy session, you will feel rejuvenated and find yourself in a better mood. Unlike other forms of massage therapy, a traditional back massage therapy is widely available, so it will be easier for you to find a good practitioner near you.
Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of our lives and the tedium of our work can take a toll on our minds and bodies. At such times, a good massage and some rest is all that it takes to feel refreshed. Try out the various massage therapies that we discussed here. Sooner or later, you’ll find the type that you absolutely love.