Types of Massage Therapy: Which One is Best for You?
Are stress and body aches impacting your quality of life? Chronic stress and pain can do more than leave you feeling on edge and uncomfortable; they can also have a negative impact on your health. Fortunately, there are many types of massage therapy that can help.
The Most Popular Types of Massage Therapy
When it comes to enjoying a relaxing massage, there are dozens of options to choose from. Understanding the differences between the most popular options can help you make the right decision for your well-being.
This is the most common type of massage therapy. It’s a great treatment option for those whose primary goal is to simply relax and relieve a little stress. The therapist uses long, softer movements over the entire body, focusing on the outermost layers of muscle.
Deep Tissue Massage
Many people assume deep tissue massage is essentially a Swedish massage, but with a higher level of intensity. However, this method is different because it focuses on reaching deeper layers of muscle and the connecting tissues around it, known as fascia. Deep tissue massage is usually used for pain relief but the process can be a bit uncomfortable. The therapist will likely massage the entire body but will spend most of their time focusing on a specific muscle group that’s causing the most pain.
When you think of a shiatsu massage, an automated chair or neck massager likely comes to mind. However, these devices are actually created to mimic the real-life technique that originated in Asia and has become popular across the globe. The masseuse makes short, rhythmic motions using mostly their fingers, focusing on specific areas to foster healing and better health.
Hydromassage or hydrotherapy is a type of body massage therapy that is completely hands-off. Pulsating jets of high-pressure water help relieve tired, sore muscles. One of the major advantages of hydrotherapy is the ability to enjoy a session without having to book an appointment. Having a hot tub or spa installed at your home means you can enjoy a massage any time.
While this type of treatment is considered a massage, it is different in that it is only used in specific locations on the feet, hands, and ears. Certain zones on these body parts may stimulate circulation and healing in specific organs and muscles throughout the body. By applying pressure to these zones, a massage therapist may be able to help reduce pain and improve function there.
Trigger point massage focuses on addressing specific areas where knots or kinks have developed. These issues can cause serious pain in the immediate and surrounding areas. Working out those knots and relieving the tension can help restore mobility and reduce overall pain.
Unlike other types of massage therapy, reiki is not centered around physical touch. Instead, a reiki master will use their hands to guide the flow of energy throughout the person’s body. In addition to relieving stress, this practice may help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
Variations and Add-ons for Specific Benefits
If you’re looking for more than just the basics, consider these other options for a specialized massage.
Many people enjoy adding essential oils to a massage treatment. Certain natural fragrances can help further release tension while promoting relaxation and creating a fuller experience. A masseuse may incorporate deep breathing exercises to help you take in these calming scents; they may also apply some oils directly to the skin.
It’s well known that heat can help release tension to loosen those tight, stiff muscles. Strategically placing hot stones on specific locations, usually on the back along the spine, can help add some extra soothing comfort. Hot stones can also help loosen knots to help make the massage more effective. Some therapists even use these smooth stones to directly massage the muscles.
It’s important to note that pregnant women should never receive a traditional massage because the treatment can induce contractions. However, prenatal massages do exist and are designed to help relieve aching muscles and improve relaxation while keeping mother and baby safe.
For active people or those with a specific injury, a sports massage can help target precise muscles while incorporating helpful stretches and exercises. This can help promote healing while protecting muscles from further injury in the future.
What Type of Massage Should I Get?
Before scheduling a massage, consider your individual needs and preferences. Is your primary goal to relax and unwind, relieve pain, or reduce stress and anxiety? Many options can help a little in all of these areas, such as Swedish and hydrotherapy massage. If you’re still unsure about which type is right for you, talk with a medical expert or massage specialist to create a plan.
If you want to enjoy all of the benefits of a relaxing massage on your own schedule, consider adding a spa or hot tub to your home. Bullfrog Spas Design Studio helps you customize the perfect spa so you can experience less stress and pain through hydrotherapy.