Are you intrigued by the benefits of massage therapies but not sure about what types of massage to get? Don’t worry; lots of people are in the same boat. After all, there are over 80 different types of massage treatments!
Some of the most common massages include Swedish massage, Deep Tissue massage, Sport massage, Anti-Cellulite massage and Pregnancy massage. These therapies share a few of the same benefits, for example helping with blood circulation, treating pains, aches and injuries, decreasing feelings of anxiety and depression as well as improving joint mobility.
You may feel slightly nervous and unsure of what to expect when receiving specific treatments for the very time, so I will explain about the different techniques that are used, bearing in mind the process will vary slightly between different therapists.
Swedish massage is known to be one of the most basic yet effective therapies, so those who are new to massages usually start out with this one. It involves five basic stroke techniques:
- Effleurage – done with long sweeping strokes, which helps the therapist to evaluate muscle tension and breaks down knots and tension in the muscles.
- Petrissage – an act of kneading the muscles, which increases blood flow.
- Friction – generates heat to relax muscles and to warm them up in preparation for deeper massage.
- Tapotement – rhythmic tapping that loosens and relaxes muscles.
- Vibration or Shaking – releases muscle tension.
The main aim of Deep Tissue massage is to free muscle restrictions and decrease tension by concentrating on deep layers of muscle in the body. This is most suitable for people who lack sleep or are recovering from injuries, for example injuries from repetitive movements, exercise or car accidents. In order to carry out a greater state of relaxation, this particular type of massage involves the use of elbows, knuckles or fingers to apply deep pressure to parts of your body. Deep Tissue massage can seem overwhelming at first because it can be a little intense and painful, but it really breaks up the tissues that make you feel restricted. In addition to this, the effects last longer than Swedish massage.
When people hear the term Sport massage, they often believe it’s only appropriate for those who partake in sporty activities, however the treatment is also good for those who are less active, because it can help to enhance their daily movements. The techniques used during the procedure of a sport massage include Squeezing, which targets at specific areas of soft tissue damage and helps with blood circulation, Effleurage, Petrissage, Friction and Tapotement. The last four terms should sound familiar to you because they have been mentioned before.
Cellulite can be a girl’s worst enemy, but a treatment for this skin condition does exist and that is the Anti-Cellulite massage. Although this treatment is not a remedy, it aids to reduce cellulite, which is trapped fat under the skin. The key methods are:
- Stroking – performs as a relaxant.
- Smoothing – removes dead skin cells.
- Kneading – loosens up the accumulated fats and flushes them out by encouraging the blood to move closer to the surface.
- Wringing – has a similar result to kneading and is most effective for reducing cellulite on the hips, thighs and buttocks.
- Knuckles – gets rid of cellulite bumps by helping them dissolve with the action of constant pummelling with knuckles.
- The ‘S’ – flushes fat residues by clutching the areas that are affected and twisting them in opposite directions that form an ‘S’.
- Cellulite Brush – the use of special brushes helps the movement of blood in affected areas and reduces the amount of visible bumps and dimples.
Massages are wonderful things to have during any occasion or even when there isn’t an occasion. However, it is probably most beneficial during pregnancy because women need lots of energy to take care of herself AND the baby. Some therapists are hesitant about giving massages to women in their first trimester and sometimes there are extra complications during a pregnancy, so it is always best to check with your doctor before booking a therapeutic massage therapy. The procedure of pregnancy massages use similar techniques as other massages, but is tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant ladies and their developing bodies. This type of massage generally helps to decrease anxiety and stress, improve sleep and decrease leg and back pain. It is also effective after pregnancy, as mothers experience a lot of stress after giving birth.
After undergoing a lovely relaxing massage therapy, your body may feel some pain the next day and that is perfectly normal. It’s like doing intense workouts after not having exercised in a long time – your muscles are not used to it, so you will feel sore. However, if bruises appear it means that your therapist went to deeply and make sure they are aware of this the next time you receive a treatment from them so they will take it into consideration. Some people do bruise easier than others though! In order to ease the side effects, make sure you drink plenty of water (this is very important!), take a nice hot shower and apply ice to any swollen areas. You will feel great again in no time.
Working hard and playing hard is important, but so is letting your mind and body relax!