Massage therapy is a popular way to relax, reduce tension, and improve overall health and wellness. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 25% of men and 21% of women in the United States enjoyed a massage last year, and more than half of them were motivated by health and wellness reasons. With so many different types of massage available, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you. In this article, we'll explore the different types of massage therapy and how they can benefit your health.
Swedish massage is the most common form of massage therapy in the United States. It is usually done with the hands, sometimes with the forearms. The movements are longer and slower than with many other forms of massage. Swedish massage can be performed with lighter or deeper pressure, but the movements are long from the shoulders to the lower back and up, for example, or from the wrist to the arm to the neck and then back down again.
If you're looking to reduce tension or suffer from anxiety, definitely opt for a Swedish massage. A study conducted by the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at Emory University investigated the effects of Swedish massage on people who had generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) but were not receiving medical treatment. The Swedish massage group reported that anxiety scores were significantly reduced, and researchers stated that it could be an effective treatment for the condition. Aromatherapy massages are best for people who enjoy the scent and want to have an emotional healing component in their massage.
Aromatherapy massages use essential oils that are believed to have healing properties. The essential oils are added to a carrier oil such as almond oil or coconut oil and then massaged into the skin. The scent of the essential oils is believed to have a calming effect on the body and mind. Hot stone massage may look and feel too good to be therapeutic, but in fact, these calculations serve a clinical purpose.
The stones are preheated to 125 degrees the moment the session begins. Do you want an 80- or 110-minute hot stone massage to get the most benefit? Hot stone massages are great for people who want a deep tissue massage but don't like the feeling of deep pressure on their muscles. Trigger point massage is often done with the thumb, knuckles, or elbow to apply static pressure to those points. The therapist can feel that knot to detect when it is loosening and is trained to know how a muscle is supposed to normally feel compared to what it feels like when it's “in knots”.
Working with trigger points will help the injured client's muscle tissue return to a more normal state, but the initial massage may consist of relaxing everything that surrounds the injured area. Reflexology is a type of massage that focuses on specific points on your feet or hands that correspond with different parts of your body. Researchers have reviewed 17 studies that analyze the psychological benefits of reflexology and have concluded that it improves mental well-being and helps people manage long-term health conditions. Sports massage is primarily designed for work before or after a sporting event.
Sports massage is not usually as relaxing as other forms of massage, generally quicker in action than Swedish massage; the techniques used by the therapist to apply pressure to the body move at a faster pace. Assisted stretching is also a common sports massage technique; and it is used to help the buildup of lactic acid in muscles to dissipate. But you don't have to be a professional athlete to get a sports massage; it's ideal for anyone who is physically active, as well as for someone who is just starting a new training program, running their first 10 km or marathon, or doing anything else that is outside of their normal activity routine. Prenatal massage is specifically designed for pregnant women.
It's very important to work with a therapist who specializes in prenatal massages when pregnant. Prenatal massage training includes instructions on specific modifications that are used to help protect the baby, alleviate symptoms such as edema (swelling) and low back pain that are common during pregnancy, and make the mother more comfortable both during and after the massage. Prenatal massage is usually done with the client lying on her side or back with a wedge to support her back and knees to relieve the baby's pressure on the mother's internal organs. The therapist must also be trained in certain aspects of prenatal massage, such as pressure points that can cause contractions.
When choosing a therapist for any type of massage therapy, make sure they are knowledgeable in this area and look at your health history, goals, challenges, and lifestyle to find one that best fits your situation. You don't want to be put in a time slot; instead you want to be assigned a therapist that's right for you.