Man receiving back massage from masseur in spa

3 Most Common Massages

What is a Massage?

A massage is a systematic manual or mechanical manipulations of the soft tissues of the body by such movements as rubbing, kneading, pressing, rolling, slapping, and tapping. This is for therapeutic purposes such as promoting the circulation of the blood and lymph, relaxation of muscles, relief from pain, restoration of metabolic balance, and other benefits both physical and mental. Massage therapy has a long history in a variety of cultures all around the world. Massage therapy is recognized as one of the oldest methods of healing. Today, massages are used for different medical purposes. A massage therapist applies gentle and steady pressure to the body muscles and joints as a way to ease pain and tension. It is rapidly growing in countries like the United States such that it is being considered as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Types of Massage

Your body can tell you when it needs a massage, but, unfortunately, it cannot precisely determine what type you need. Different types of massage focus on different parts of the body, and for various healing approaches. It might be a hard task trying to find a massage type that best suits you. The following are types of massages and their techniques.

Swedish Massage

A Swedish psychologist, Per Henrik Ling from the University of Stockholm, pioneered this type of massage. In the early 19th century, Ling came up with a Medical Gymnastics System, which was performed by a therapist. The movements
The Swedish body massage is the combination of many different techniques rolled into one session to give a relaxing beneficial experience.

During this therapy session, the therapist will work with the soft tissues and muscles in the body to help restore balance and health. The massage can take up to 90 minutes.

  • The techniques involved include
  • Firm kneading of the muscle deep into the affected area
  • Friction or rubbing a muscle group rapidly with the palms to stimulate warmth
  • Long, sweeping strokes over a muscle that help to break up trigger points
  • Vibration or using the fingertips to quickly shake a muscle back and forth to loosen the area
  • Friction or rubbing a muscle group rapidly with the palms to stimulate warmth

The Swedish massage is beneficial in that it helps relax the whole body, increases the level of oxygen in the blood, improves circulation and flexibility while easing tension

Deep-tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage involves manipulating the deep layers of tissue in the body, including the fascia and other supportive tissue that make up the muscles and joints. It is done applying firm pressure and slow strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle while paying attention to painful spots in your body. It is used for relieving chronic pain, as well as contracted areas such as a stiff neck, leg muscle tightness and, the back. The massage therapist applies slow, deliberate strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles, tendons, or other tissues deep under your skin.

Benefits of Deep-tissue Massage

It treats chronic pain. Deep tissue massage applies oblique pressure and a combination of lengthening and cross-fibre strokes that makes it essential for relieving pain compared to therapeutic massage, which only uses tapping and friction techniques.
It helps lower high blood pressure. This type of massage has positive effects of reduction on systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure readings in adults.

It reduces stress, anxiety, and muscle tension. This is achieved by lowering cortisol hormone levels and even boost production of the hormone called oxytocin, which relaxes the body and has soothing effects.

It helps breaks up scar tissue. Deep tissue massages are used when one has got an injury to help break up newly forming scar tissue that can make recovery more difficult and lead to stiffness. It reduces inflammation, which comes as a result of an injury and muscle spasms by stimulating blood flow hence loosening up muscles to allow for more oxygen.

When performed before delivery, it helps to relieve labor pain.

Hot Stone Massage

A hot stone massage involves the use of smooth stones that are made of basalt (Volcanic Rock). They are usually heated up in hot water to safe temperatures between 4 and 6 Degrees Celsius.

The stones are smooth and can retain heat for a longer time. During a hot stone massage, the techniques of regular massage are applied.  These include kneading, long gliding strokes, circular motions, tapping, and vibration, alongside the hot stones that are placed on specific parts of the body. This is around, between shoulders, the lumbar spine, the feet, and the stomach.

Benefits of a Hot Stone Massage

It relieves muscle tension and pain. The involvement of the heat gives a seductive effect, which leads to the relaxation of the muscles. This prevents build-up tension caused by stress. Blood circulation is improved; toxins are flushed out and replaced with oxygen, and nutrients muscles need to function properly.

Encourages better sleep. Do you struggle to fall asleep? It is time to get a hot stone massage. It relieves muscle tension and pain, which can help your muscles feel loose and relaxed while calming your mind from the stresses of the day. When stress and discomfort are relieved, you fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.

Melts away stress and anxiety. The gentle gliding strokes combined with heat work to calm the body and mind, allowing the person receiving the massage to experience a state of calmness to help them let go of their worries.

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