Everyone loves a massage. If you don’t, you either have never experienced one or you haven’t had an especially good one. That can change! If you don’t know what type of massage will best benefit your body, that’s okay and hopefully this lowdown will help. Just because a massage may be more expensive doesn’t always mean it’s the best one for you; shop around! Plus, once you realize the awesome benefits of massage, you won’t even feel guilty when you splurge. Read on to discover how you can choose the best type of massage for you and your body. Relaxation begins here…
- Acupressure: Don’t get confused with acupuncture, which includes the use of needles. This ancient Chinese technique involves pressing on the same key points on the skin, but without the needles, releasing tension in the muscles as well as promoting circulation. Balance to the body is restored through the pressure and helps with ailments such as menstrual cramps, headaches, and constipation. Ladies, you can kiss Midol goodbye!
- Swedish Massage: The Swedish Massage is probably one of the most popular types of massage in the US. The main goal of this massage is to promote relaxation and improved circulation. Oil is used as the therapist uses flowing strokes and kneading movements along the skin, releasing tension from the muscles. Hard day at work? This massage is just your cup of tea.
- Deep Tissue Massage: Some people may be scared of this type of massage, but if it’s what your body needs, it can be quite helpful. It is a more vigorous and intense massage, using various styles to relax muscles. Tension, chronic pain (including tendonitis), and range of motion are all areas that can be helped.
- Shiatsu: Japanese for “finger pressure,” this technique is comparable to acupressure. The therapist uses their fingers, palms, thumbs, elbows, and knees (sometimes they even walk on your back) to put compression on healing points. The flow of energy becomes unblocked and blood is encouraged to flow better while promoting relaxation and body strengthening.
- Hot Stone Therapy: The name says it all; this type of therapy involves heated stones that are positioned strategically on the body. This dilates blood vessels and urges the blood and oxygen to flow into tense areas. Those who have done it have described the feeling as a sort of “body rush.” And ladies, there is a bonus; it helps to eradicate PMS symptoms. Hooray!
- Aromatherapy Massage: Massage therapists incorporate heavenly-scented oils into this type of therapy. The oil, which is extracted from herbs, flowers, and roots, are blended together specifically for your physical needs. The end result is a tailored massage where you can relax and let go all the stresses of your day. Did we mention it’s just heavenly?
- Reiki: The term comes from a Japanese method that translates to “spiritually guided life force energy.” The therapist’s hands are placed just above the body or lightly touching the body, which makes Reiki a sort of nontraditional form of massage therapy, at least by some people’s standards. The main goal of Reiki is to transmit universal life energy to the client and to create a deep relaxation, speed healing, decrease pain, and reduce any other symptoms felt by the client.
- Craniosacral Therapy: In this treatment, the practitioner uses a hands-on approach designed to release tension deep in the body, which improves whole-body health and performance. The touch used is generally no more than 5 grams (the weight of a nickel) and relieves restrictions in soft tissues around the central nervous system. It can help to treat conditions like headaches, whiplash, back pain, and eye and ear problems.
Every body is different and needs different things, so it may be helpful to shop around different health and wellness spas to see what type of massage therapy might work best for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the knowledgeable staff; they are there to help and heal, after all. Furthermore, if you find that you have a passion for healing and are interested in exploring different avenues to heal others, you may want to consider attending massage therapy school to pass along the healing vibes.
Brook Neilson is a freelancer focusing on health, wellness and alternative medicine. Brook’s articles have been featured on several massage blogs.