There are massages designed to reduce stress, those that help relax muscles, soothing massages and deep tissue massages. It is great to have so much choice, however this can make it difficult to know what is best for you.
A good massage can offer many health benefits and can provide physiological and even psychological benefits. The following guide has been put together to help you navigate through some of the more common massages and what they are designed to achieve.
Massages for relaxation and stress relief.
To sooth and comfort, generally promotes feelings of relaxation and stress reduction
This is probably the most common type of general massage. It uses long and sweeping strokes at the start and end of the massage. There is kneading and rolling to work on the muscles, and friction, where pressure is applied to a particular spot, using thumbs, fingertips of knuckles. Rhythmic tapping, pounding or patting is used to revitalise sore and tired muscles.
Best for: Those that are new to massage, in addition to helping stress relief and relaxation it can also improve circulation
Hot stone massage
Hot, smooth stones are used to both aid the massage, as well as being applied to certain pressure points. This is mainly a relaxing massage, but is more invigorating than a Swedish massage. The heat in the stones helps to relieve tension in the places they are applied to, mostly the back and shoulders, which helps them to be worked on more effectively.
Best for: Releasing very tense muscles and relaxation.
Chair massages involve sitting face forward in a chair and the massage therapist will mostly work on the neck, shoulders and back. No clothes need to be removed and they can be done when there is slightly less time. The chair massage can really get the tension out of your upper body, but is probably more of a purposeful massage than a pampering experience.
Best for: When you don’t have much time, for everyday stress relief.
Foot massage or reflexology is based on the theory that specific areas on the feet are reflexes to other parts of the body, including internal organs. The reflexes are stimulated using thumbs and fingers. Reflexology can also be performed on other reflex points on hands and ears.
Best for: Getting the great benefits of a massage when you can’t have a full body massage.
Massages for treating pain and specific conditions
For when you have knotted muscles and more specific ailments to be worked on.
Deep tissue massage
This massage applies deep pressure onto areas that are causing particular trouble. The therapist uses knuckles and elbows to get deep into the tissue.
Best for: This massage is best for athletes who may need work on a particular muscle, or for aiding the breakdown process of scar tissue.
Trigger point massage
Like deep tissue, trigger point massage focuses on specific areas of the body, rather than massaging the whole body, particularly muscle tissue that may be causing pain in other parts of the body. For example a tight muscle in the neck could cause pains or aches in the head. The problem muscle is pinpointed and then cycles of isolated pressure and release are used to help relaxation.
Best for: Naturally managing pain and stress from chronic injuries.
A subset of trigger point massage, the trained therapist applies pressure to areas where muscle spasms happen. It is a form of soft tissue manipulation that aims to treat chronic pain caused by muscular and nervous systems. It can feel painful at first, but it should relax the muscle helping the muscle get more oxygen and blood flow.
Best for: This is a specialist massage best for treating injuries and issues like poor circulation or posture problems.
Massage for overall health and rejuvenation
These massages are specifically designed to give an energy boost.
Shiatsu means finger pressure and is an ancient technique from Japan. It combines gentle stretches and finger pressure to work on different pressure points and fix imbalances of energy flow in the body. It can calm the sympathetic nervous system, improving circulation, relieving stiff muscles and alleviating stress.
Best for: This massage requires you to stay clothed and is best for treating ailments such as headaches, back pain and lack of energy
Thai massage works your whole body and is one of the most invigorating types of massage. The body is moved into yoga like stretches, with the therapist using every part of their body, hands, legs, feet and knees. Not only are stretches used, but pressure is applied to muscles and to loosen joints. Thai massage can be at times energizing and at times relaxing.
Best for: Improving energy and increasing flexibility and overall health and well-being.
Designed for the physically active, it combines Swedish, Shiatsu and other techniques to concentrate on areas required for sports activity. Athletes often get sports massages to prepare for an activity and help prevent injury, as well as treating injuries from sports. Benefits include physical effects – circulating blood and lymphatic fluids, as well as stretching muscle tissue and breaking down scar tissue.
Best for: Best for athletes and improving peak performance.
To find out more about which massage is best for you and to organise your massage in the workplace, or for a corporate or social event, contact www.onsitemassageco.com