A Quick Guide To Massages
Massages are designed to help you relax and feel better, but if you’re like many people who are new to massage, it can be hard to know what type is right for you. After all, there are dozens of different kinds of massage out there.
While talking with yourpractitioner can be helpful in determining the right type of massage for you, doing a little bit of the legwork on your own can also be beneficial, as you know your body best.
Use this guide to compare the different types of massage against your needs.
Swedish massage is likely the most familiar to many people, as it is commonly used on individuals without serious ailments for the relaxing and calming effects it produces. However, some doctors recommend Swedish massage for chronic pain and for sufferers of serious illnesses, like diabetes, because it may help reduce the severity of symptoms.
In Swedish massage sessions, a therapist uses long, slow strokes that go with the grain of the muscle to reduce tension. Massage therapists typically use some sort of massage oil or lotion to make the process easier.
Most people who get a Swedish massage for the first time describe their sessions as pleasant. That’s because the light strokes and pressure used during Swedish massage don’t push deep into the muscle or surrounding tissue.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is commonly prescribed for individuals with severe pain or muscle injuries. Unlike Swedish massage, deep tissue massage works across the grain of the muscle and uses more physical force to access more than just the superficial layer of the muscle.
Deep tissue massage is usually described differently by first time patients as well. While some people do find it pleasant, others claim that deep tissue massages are uncomfortable or painful. However, the minor irritation caused by deep tissue massage tends to goes away after a day or so, and in many cases, a person’s general pain level is lower after deep tissue massage therapy.
Aromatherapy massage is a type of massage that uses scented oils – commonly essential oils – to help aid in relaxation. In many cases, the massage technique used in an aromatherapy massage is simply Swedish massage with an added olfactory element.
While aromatherapy massage can be beneficial for many people, it’s mainly best for people looking to reduce anxiety or their overall stress level. In general, aromatherapy massage isn’t used for treating medical conditions or to relieve severe chronic pain.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage uses small, round stones placed strategically on the body to loosen tight muscles and balance energy in the body. Hot stone massage practitioners may also hold the stones and apply gentle pressure to them in order to relieve tension.
Hot stone massage is ideal for people who have chronic tension or are treating minor muscle injuries. However, hot stone massage isn’t generally beneficial for severe injuries as the results are not very long-term. It may help to relieve some discomfort and pain temporarily, with more work needed later.
Getting a massage is supposed to be a relaxing experience, and you shouldn’t feel like you need to spend all of your time deciding on what type to get. In general, any type of massage can beneficial unless you have a serious ailment – in which case you should talk to your doctor.
For many people, the best way to determine what type of massage they prefer is by simply trying various different kinds over the course of a month to decide what’s best for you. After all, no two people are exactly the same and a massage should suit the needs of your body.
Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California and is an expert when it comes to health and beauty topics. She enjoys getting a massage after a stressful week and finds it to be a great way to wind down.