Which Type of Massage Best Suits Your Needs?
There are over 80 types of massage and each one of them with its own unique characteristics and benefits. Being aware of the different kinds of massage techniques is important to help you choose the right massage technique for your body.
From helping with stress relief, injury recovery, to pain management, here are the main types of massage you can probably find near you:
1- Swedish massage
Swedish massage is a gentle type of full-body massage that’s ideal for people who:
are new to massage
have a lot of tension
are sensitive to touch
It can help release knots in the muscles, and it is a great choice for people who want to fully relax. The massage therapist moves the sheet properly to uncover only areas that they actively work on, like feet, back, legs, arms and head.
The massage therapist will use a combination of:
long, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart
vibration and tapping
passive joint movement techniques
deep circular motions
2- Hot stone massage
If you have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax, this type of therapeutic massage is very similar to Swedish massage, but the massage therapist uses heated stones instead of or in addition to their hands. Hot stone massage:
Eases muscle tension
improves blood flow
During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone as they massage different parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques using gentle pressure. Sometimes cold stones are used as well.
Aromatherapy massages are good for people who want to have an emotional healing component to their massage. This kind of massage can help:
boost your mood
reduce stress and anxiety
reduce symptoms of depression
relieve muscle tension
Aromatherapy massages combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. The massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference. Essential oils are diluted before being applied to the skin.
4. Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It’s good for chronic muscle problems, like soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.
The massage therapist uses slow strokes and deep finger pressure during the massage to relieve tension from the deepest layers of muscles and connective tissues. This technique is a little bit more intense, but shouldn’t feel painful.
5. Sports massage
Sports massage is used to treat repetitive use injury to a muscle, that people normally get from playing sports. It also helps with the prevention of sports injuries. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Additionally, sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.
A sports massage can be done as a full-body massage or the massage therapist may focus on the specific parts of the body that need the most attention. Deep pressure massage may be alternated with soothing strokes.
6. Cupping Therapy
Cupping is an alternative therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction and increase blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This technique helps relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue. The cups can be manipulated to help release fascial restrictions in the soft tissue.
7. Trigger point massage
Trigger point massages are suited for people with injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points, this kind of massage can help reduce pain.
Trigger point massage uses broader, flowing strokes that are gentle and relaxing combined with stronger, deeper pressure. The massage includes work on the entire body, however, the therapist may focus on specific areas of the body that may need release.
8. Prenatal massage
Prenatal massage helps reduce pregnancy body aches, reduce stress, and ease muscle tension. It can be done at any time during pregnancy, however, women are advised not to have them in the first three months due to the risk of miscarriage.
Prenatal massage uses mild pressure and the therapist focuses on areas such as lower back, hips, and legs. During the massage, women lie on their side with pillows placed around them for support and comfort. If women report pain in their calves or other parts of the legs, they should see a doctor before getting a massage.
If you’re interested in a career in massage therapy, click here to find out more.