What’s not to love about a massage? Not only does a gentle relaxing massage feel great, but it also has many health benefits, including:
- Increases blood flow, enhancing circulation, eliminating toxins and stimulating the lymph fluids, muscles and tissues.
- Helps you sleep better.
- Reduces stress, helps you relax.
- Boosts your immunity.
- Increases energy.
So if you’re intimidated about scheduling your first massage, have questions about the benefits of different types of massage therapies, or simply need justification to continue your appointments, read on!
Where should I go for a massage?
Massage is a fast growing service industry that is offered in a variety of commercial and clinical settings. Depending on the type of massage you choose, massages are available in spas, fitness centers, hospitals, and chiropractic practices, as well as in private offices. Nearly 50% of all massage therapists are self-employed, thus many give massages in client’s homes or offices. Be sure to locate a qood, qualified licensed therapist either through word of mouth or by checking out the American Massage Therapy Association web site.
Types of Massage
There are many different types of massages available. Each one provides various benefits beyond relaxation. Here is an overview of some of the most popular massages, to determine which one best meets your needs.
Swedish Massage is the most common method of massage. It is used to ease muscle tension and promote relaxation. This full-body massage uses long smooth strokes, kneading techniques, light tapping, and circular movements along with massage oil or lotion. In addition to having a calming, yet energizing affect, Swedish massage removes muscle wastes, and improves circulation, flexibility, and range of motion.
Aromatherapy Massage combines therapeutic essential oils, such as lavender with massaging oils to enhance the stress-relieving benefits of massage. Depending on the issue at hand, your massage therapist will use one or a combination of essential oils to promote healing and to relieve headaches, back pain, congestion, PMS, anxiety, post-partum blues, and more.
Neuromuscular Therapy Massage is a corrective technique used to treat the cause of chronic pain and spasms, to enable muscles to function properly and the body to heal. This therapeutic method of massage is also referred to as trigger point therapy as finger pressure is applied to specific tender muscle points. This method of massage also concentrates on nerve compression, postural issues, and biomechanical difficulties resulting from overuse and repetitive movements.
Deep Tissue/Muscle Massage addresses painful and tense areas using slow strokes and applying firm, direct pressure to problem areas. It is therapeutic in treating muscle spasms, injuries, and scar tissue.
Sports Massage techniques optimize athletic performance by improving muscle flexibility. It reduces stress on the body resulting from rigorous exercise, and aides in the healing of soft-tissue injuries, in addition to removing muscle waste. Sports massages are given prior to intense exercise as an important part of the warm-up regime to reduce the likelihood of injury, and as a post-workout routine to accelerate muscle recovery and more.
Shiastsu is a Japanese method of massage that applies deep pressure on meridian points along the body to increase the flow of life energy. Therapists not only use their hands, but also the elbows, knees and feet to apply rhythmic, deep pressure. Clients usually remain clothed.
Pregnancy Massage helps ease the discomfort of fluid retention, muscle pain, and postural changes occurring during pregnancy, and after delivery to overcome post-partum depression.
Hot Stone Massage uses smooth, warmed stones as a massaging tool. During the massage, hot stones are placed down the spine and on acupressure points, and left in place long enough for the heat to soothe and penetrate deep within the body.
Reflexology applies pressure to specific points on the hands and feet to promote health within the corresponding organ and related areas of the body. It is similar to acupressure. Reflexology can be incorporated into a full-body massage.
Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle massage of the face, neck, head and skull. It relieves tension, and is used to treat headaches, migraines, jaw pain, TMJ, and ear infections. It is also therapeutic to people that have experienced a stroke, or have neurological impairment.
Chair Massages are available in a variety of public settings including airports, malls, health fairs, trade shows, conferences, and the county fair. A typical onsite chair massage stimulates the neck, shoulders, back, arms and hands, and lasts about fifteen minutes.
Hand-Held Percussion Massagers allow you to experience a stimulating, tension relieving massage in the comfort of your home. Cordless varieties are also available.
Before your massage
Your massage therapist may add to these, but here are a few general tips, most recommend.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal prior to your session.
- Hydrate by drinking water before and after the massage to flush out toxins.
- Arrive 10 ten minutes early on your first appointment to discuss your medical history. Be sure to mention prior injuries, surgeries, current illnesses, specific pain, and stress levels you are experiencing. While massage therapists don’t diagnose health issues, the information you give helps determine the areas of concentration, and a better understanding of what you hope to gain from the massage.
You just may leave the table feeling like all your worries and ailments are left behind. If not, there’s reason to schedule another massage!