Who doesn’t love a great massage? It’s such a wonderful means of relaxation, both physically and emotionally. In fact, studies have shown that the benefits of massage include stress relief, muscle relaxation, reducing anxiety, relieving nerve pain, and promoting restful sleep.
In fact, the benefits are so well accepted that getting a massage is much easier than it used to be. They are available in health clubs, clinics, hospitals, and airports. There are businesses that even bring in massage practitioners for the benefit of their employees.
A massage is really nothing more than purposeful muscle manipulation. The therapist will use their hands, wrists, knuckles and even elbows to manipulate, press on or knead certain muscle groups. This is done to release muscle tension, improve circulation and reduce nerve compression.
Some of the major types of massages include:
Swedish massage: The Swedish massage is often the most widely requested type of massage. It is a whole-body massage designed for maximum relaxation. The therapist typically uses massage oil and applies long strokes in the same direction as the flow of blood to the heart in order to warm up the muscles or will use kneading motions to break up “knots” in the muscles.
This type of massage is recommended for beginners or those who are fatigued or exhausted as this type of massage is relaxing and invigorating at the same time.
Deep-tissue massage: This type of massage is similar to the Swedish massage, but instead of an all-over massage, the therapist focuses on the deep muscle and connective tissue. He may use specialized tools and massage in cross-directions over the muscle tissue. After a deep tissue massage, it is not uncommon to feel sore for several days because the massage techniques can actually break up scar tissue that exists on the muscles.
This type of massage is recommended for those who have chronic muscle pain in specific areas, those who have repetitive strain injuries, osteoarthritis pain or postural problems.
Hot Stone massage: Hot stone massage therapists engage in traditional massage, but include the use hot stones as a form of thermotherapy. The therapist will take a specially crafted hot stone and place these stone in strategic muscle spots. The therapist may use the stone to further massage the muscle or simply leave it in place so the heat will sink deep into the muscle.
This type of massage is recommended for anybody who can handle a regular massage, but would prefer the use of heat therapy along with the muscle manipulation.
Reflexology: Reflexology is a type of massage that utilizes pressure points in one area of the body to help alleviate pain and address issues occurring in a different section of the body. These pressures points are usually in the hands and feet. Unlike deep-tissue massage, reflexology is usually free of pain and very relaxing.
This type of massage is recommended for those who suffer from arthritis, stress-related conditions, insomnia, digestive problems or tension headaches.
Sports Massage: Although called a sports massage because the most frequent customer for this type of massage is an athlete, this type of massage can be requested by anybody. The purpose of a sports massage is to prepare the athlete’s muscles for intense competition. The purpose of a sports massage is to increase flexibility, improve endurance and prevent injury.
This type of massage is recommended for athletes, especially those with previous injuries. It is also recommended for non-athletes who suffer from muscle injuries, chronic pain or a restricted range of motion.