A massage is one great way to pamper your body after a stressful day. Apart from its cosmetic and relaxation benefits, it also comes with great health benefits among others. There are various types of massage all over the world and each has its own unique set of benefits. Each type of massage is personalized according to the desired end results, personal preferences and the specific problem to be solved. Some are simple enough to be done at home and others should be done by a professional therapist due to their complexity. The following comprehensive list will enlighten you on the most popular types of massage and their benefits.
Image credit: Witches Falls Cottages
1. Swedish massage
This is by far the most popularly practised massage therapy. It was greatly popularized by Henrik Ling, a fencing master and teacher of gymnastics in Sweden. It comprises of long flowing strokes in the direction of the heart and also circular and kneading movements. The massage therapist makes use of massage lotions and therapeutic oils to reduce friction thus making it easier for the hands to glide smoothly onto the skin. These also contain aromatic smells that keep you relaxed. There are 5 main strokes that are used in Swedish massage; Tapotement which involves rhythmic tapping, petrissage which involves kneading, effluerage involving sliding and glidding, friction and vibration strokes. It is done using the hands and forearms by kneading and applying light pressure onto the superficial layers of the muscles. It is ideal for people who are having their first massage.
Its benefits include relaxation of the body and mind, reduction of pain and removal of toxic wastes such as uric acid, lactic acid and metabollic wastes. It also helps improve blood circulation, supply of Oxygen to the muscles and body cells and also helps relax muscles. In Sweden, this massage is referred to as classic massage.
2. Stone massage
In this kind of massage, cold or water-heated stones are used to apply pressure and heat to the body. It is mostly used together with other types of massage therapy. These stones are mostly river stones that have undergone weathering and have become smooth and extremely polished over time. The cold stones are mainly marble stones and are used after the hot stones, mainly basalt stones, to reduce inflammation and create balance in the energy centers within the body. These stones are placed along the client’s back after heating or cooling, especially along acupressure meridians such as along the spine, palms of the hands and sometimes between toes. They help retain heat which penetrates deep into the muscles to release tension. Using different techniques, the stone massage may be applied directly on the skin or on top of one’s clothings.
This kind of massage is great in the relief of pain, promotion of energy and improvement of posture and movement. It helps relax tight muscles, encourages removal of toxins from the body and also balances the body’s systems. It is a great option for people suffering from muscle tension but prefer light massage.
3. Deep tissue massage
Contrary to popular belief, this type of massage doesn’t necessarily have to involve deep pressure. The best results are achieved when firm pressure is applied but this can be adjusted to suit the client’s preferences. This kind of massage targets the connective tissue and focuses mainly on the muscles below the surface of top muscles. Deep tissue massage is a complex form of massage and it is normal for the client to experience a little pain and soreness a few days after massage. It should be performed by an experienced massage therapist to avoid injury, extreme muscle pains and nerve trauma.
Deep tissue massage is a great remedy for pains caused by arthritis and tendonitis, chronic muscular pain and deep seated injuries that can be treated by massage. It helps align the muscle layers and connective tissues within the body, helps improve posture, promotes removal of toxins from the body and opens up and balance tendons and ligaments.
4. Tantric massage
The tantric massage is probably the most intimate type of massage. It focuses mainly on the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of the client. The massage therapist should in this case strive to win the client’s trust due to its intimate nature. The therapist makes use of a combination of traditional massage techniques to awaken the Chakras, the 7 energy centers within the body mostly located along the spine. Since this kind of massage mainly focuses on the spine, it helps align the Chakras to release stored energy within them to flow throughout the body starting at the base of the spine.
Its benefits includes improvement of breathing techniques, relaxation of the body and mind, relief of pain, relief of stress, enhancement of blood circulation, improvement of sleep patterns, balancing the good/bad cholesterol ratio thus reduced risk of heart diseases and improvement of performance thus improved love life.
5. Sports massage
This is actually a kind of Swedish massage. It mainly focuses on sportsmen such as professional athletes and other people involved in sports. It is mainly used to prepare their body for upcoming sporting activities as well as promote the healing process of injuries sustained during sports and training. This doesn’t mean that this kind of massage is ideal for professional athletes only. It can also be used on people who may have sustained injuries when working out. Depending on the situation, this massage is divided into four: pre-event sports massage, post-event massage, rehabilitative massage and restorative massage.
Its benefits include enhancing the healing process of injuries, getting rid of motion restrictions by relaxing muscles and joints and elimination or reduction of pain and tender trigger areas. This massage also helps increase the flow of blood and the lymphatic fluid.
These are just but a few types of massage and their benefits and they work great depending on the choice made to help solve whichever fitness need the client has. It is advisable to seek and follow the advice of a professional massage therapist or physiotherapist on which massage best suits your needs.
Article written by Romeo Demes, a fitness enthusiast and passionate writer from Australia. He is contributing to various websites on the world wide web, sharing his expertise and knowledge with the community. Writing is his getaway hobby to escape stress and relax the mind.