Instantly, my ears perk up at the word “massage”. Just imagining some classy spa, thick terry bathrobes, drinks with little umbrellas, and some cute cabana boy working the tension out of my every muscle, instantly relaxes me.
Okay, I’ll quit dreaming now. But in all seriousness, did you know that massages contain a variety of healing powers? And did you know that there are several different types of massage, each with their own benefits? Here we will explore the basics of those types.
Focused on the body’s pressure points, this finger-pressure technique hails from Japan and is similar to the Chinese form of acupressure. Usually during a session, the client reclines while the therapist uses his or her fingertips, thumbs, palms of the hand, and even elbows and knees to create pressure. Shiatsu is said to strengthen the immune system, stimulate the blood and lymphatic system, alleviate pain, and promote relaxation. Things that all sound pretty good from a simple massage, don’t you think?
Dating back nearly 2500 years, this massage type is said to invigorate the “ten energy lines of the body that promote wellness.” In Thai massage, the client remains fully clothed while the therapist guides the body through a serious of stretches. It is said that this massage type can help alleviate existing joint pain, as well as promote circulation and internal organ wellness. Not bad for stretching!
First it was meatballs, then massage. But the Swedish seem to know their stuff! Using five basic techniques that involve kneading, rolling, tapping, and vibration movements, this massage type is said to greatly promote relaxation. Other known benefits of a Swedish massage include improved circulation, reduced inflammation from injury (great for sports injuries), and relieves tight and sore muscles.
Often combined with other types of massage, the deep tissue technique incorporates just that: working your deep muscle tissue. It is especially beneficial for those with chronic pain or those recovering from injury. Think of it as the advanced form of your favorite massage type.
Also often combined with other types of massage, aromatherapy incorporates scented oils, incense, and candles to provide the body a total healing experience. Consider it a relaxing bonus that can be added to just about any of the above mentioned types. From the calming, relaxing, and balancing scent of lavender to the Mediterranean flower known for its calming effects, ylang ylang, a variety of aromatherapy scents can be used.
Now that we’ve covered a few of the basic massage types, it is time you go out and try one! And while you’re busy relaxing, think of all the health benefits you will soon be enjoying.