Types of Massage
The benefits of regularly scheduled massage:
- Increased range of motion, resulting in better performance and quicker recovery
- Pain relief
- Improved sleep
- Boosts immune system
- Increased alertness
- Curb headaches
- Manage anxiety and depression
Sports massage is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity. However, it is a very effective treatment for anyone who is active, or engaged in repetitive activity. The focus isn't on relaxation but on preventing and treating injury and enhancing athletic performance. A combination of techniques are used.
Swedish Massage Therapy
This is the most common type of massage therapy in the United States. It is also known as Swedish massage or simply massage therapy. Massage therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil. Swedish massage therapy can be very gentle and relaxing. If you've never had massage before, this is a good one to try first.
Hot Stone Massage
Heated, smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers in the body. The massage therapist may also hold stones and apply gentle pressure with them. The warmth is comforting. Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension but prefer lighter massage.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. The massage therapist uses slower strokes or friction techniques across the grain of the muscle. Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage.
Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians. Each point is held for for two to eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance. People are normally pleasantly surprised when they try shiatsu for the first time. It is relaxing yet the pressure is firm, and there is usually no soreness afterwards.
Also called prenatal massage, pregnancy massage is becoming increasingly popular with expectant mothers. Massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage know the proper way to position and support the woman's body during the massage, and how to modify techniques. Pregnancy massage is used to reduce stress, decrease swelling, relieve aches and pains, and reduce anxiety and depression. The massage is customized to a woman's individual needs.