Different Types Of Massage & Its Benefits: Choose The Best One For You
After a hectic and strenuous week, don’t we all feel the need to relax our mind and body? There are different ways to relax including short naps, a long, peaceful sleep, meditation, and weekend getaways. But lying on a massage table could perhaps be the ultimate form of relaxation!
In today's fast-paced life, mental and physical stress leads to a tired body. A massage therapist has the art of massaging away the body's pain, stress, fatigue, and tension. There are more than 50 massage types out there, each of them with their own benefits right from reducing stress to relaxing the body. Fun fact - a massage is beneficial for your mental health too! It involves the rubbing and manipulating muscles, tendons, skin and ligaments and massaging rubs away stress and fatigue. It improves blood circulation, creates a pleasant sensation on the skin, and works on soft tissue like muscles, tendons, and ligaments, improving muscle tone.
While there are several massages one can choose from, and each of the massages has its unique benefit. So, if you are perplexed about which type to choose, here's a little guide to help you.
Types of Massage Therapy-
Swedish massage therapy
A unique type of massage therapy that includes five basic strokes - petrissage (kneading), effleurage (sliding and gliding), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), and friction (with fibers or cross-fibers). These five strokes help to reduce intense muscle pain, relaxes your body and joint stiffness. If you suffer from any specific pain and injury, it is best to let your masseuse know before continuing with the Swedish massage.
Deep tissue massage
This massage focuses on deeper tissues under the skin by following slow and firm movement with pressure applied by the fingers. It usually treats extreme and chronic pain and also helps in lowering down stress and anxiety. The standard technique used in a deep tissue type of body massage includes stripping, in which deep pressure glides along the length of your muscle fibers.
Deep tissue massage is a huge stress reliever, especially when you are experiencing physical stress from work. It also lowers cortisol levels and increases oxytocin levels - a hormone that relaxes the body and produces soothing effects.
Active release therapy
ART is among the non-invasive types of massage therapy that helps in the reconstruction of soft tissues. The goal of ART is to break down scar tissue and adhesions to optimize function in the body. It's a different kind of massage but with motion and stretching, except the physiotherapist will use minor, targeted contact points rather than broad strokes. The technique can feel quite intense as it increases your nervous system's tolerance for stretching the muscle. Many describe this as a "good pain."
The best thing about ART massage is that it covers all major muscle groups like the chest and shoulders and lasts only 30-60 minutes.
Contrary to what the name suggests, sports massage is not only for sportspeople; it is for anyone who needs remedial or soft tissue mobilisation. Sports massage is beneficial post-surgery, alongside physiotherapy, osteopathy or chiropractic. Within the sporting context, people who actively participate in sports benefit from this massage. However, this type of massage therapy is appropriate for all.
Acupressure or acupuncture
Acupressure is a form of trigger point massage therapy that includes needles. It was initially developed as a facet of ancient Chinese medicine and was commonly used for pain relief. Acupuncture, however, is not considered to have long-term benefits. Many still utilize this practice to relieve lower back, shoulder stiffness, and knee pain, among other muscle stiffness and joint aches. Acupuncture can be performed in most clinical settings and massage parlours, and done by a skilled practitioner and clean needles are necessary.
A Shiatsu massage is a Japanese type of full body massage. It emphasises on emotional and physical healing. Soft movements of hands are used on the body to give relaxation and tranquillity. For example, full hands, thumb, and the tips of fingers. Shiatsu massage involves long strokes and small quick ones that help to reduce sore muscles, headaches, tension and stress on muscles.
Thai massage therapy
The Thai type of massage therapy has been used since BE 2556, and for good reason. It is an ancient practice that combines Indian Ayurvedic principles, acupressure, and some assisted yoga poses to alleviate painful muscle tension. A participant is clothed during the session in loose-fitting clothes. While muscle relaxation is the goal, the practitioner utilizes pulling, stretching, compression, and rocking with the patient instead of doing hands-on bodywork through kneading and pressure.
Ashiatsu massage therapy is derived from Chavutti Thirumal, a deep-tissue type of body massage which uses feet and legs. It was first developed in Kerala and has since made its way overseas. Ashiatsu is a barefoot style of massage, where the masseuse holds onto either a rope or parallel bars above the client and presses into their back with their feet. It requires a lot of oil and a lot of patience. It also utilizes the sesamoid, heel, arch, and/or whole plantar surface of the foot to deliver treatment. Feet are chosen in this ancient practice because the foot offers wide compression, shear force, and tension without the pain normally associated with the elbow. It is most ideal for large muscles in the legs and back, and also for long-duration compression upon the trapezius muscle in the upper back.
Hot rock massage
Heat is soothing, and a hot rock massage combines different types of massage techniques with steaming, polished river rocks to send therapeutic warmth into critical points along the spine. The weight of the rocks also brings relaxing pressure into the session. If you are looking for deep relaxation and rejuvenation, this could be the optimal massage therapy for you.
Pregnancy can be beautiful, but the discomfort that comes with it may not feel that way. A prenatal massage is a type of body massage that can help soothe an aching back, and even sore legs caused during pregnancy.
A question we all have - is a massage bath needed?
There is always confusion about whether you should shower before and after the massage, or not. Let's get one thing clear: professional massage therapists agree that taking a shower before any massage is always a good idea. A shower rinses off chlorine, perspiration or environmental pollutants before your massage therapy. Hygienix Cool Protect Body Wash, enriched with Menthol Crystals, and Natural Peppermint Extracts will help give you clean and fresh skin for massage therapy.
During different types of massage techniques, the masseuse uses a variety of lotions and oils. Some people like to keep the lotions on their skin to continue receiving aromatherapy and moisturizing benefits, because of which the skin might feel a little sticky. A warm shower with Yardley London English Rose Moisturising Shower Gel will help give you the perfect post-massage skin. It has a blend of rose essence and nourishing shea butter. Its natural flower extracts contain the goodness of active floral cells for beautifully soft and glowing skin.
When you head to the shower right after your massage, make sure you use a mild water temperature. A hot shower after a massage is relaxing, but a too-hot shower leaves your skin dry.
The bottom line is, you can shower right after a massage; it's your preference, but shower safely. Take your time, listen to your body before stepping into the shower, and monitor the heat of the water to make sure the temperature doesn't get too hot.
Lesser-known Benefits of Massages
Enhanced skin health
The slight friction of the therapist’s hands and the massage lotion and oil causes gentle exfoliation, allowing new skin cells to emerge. The oils and lotions used in the therapy help improve cell regeneration. It also cleanses the skin's pores to give a spectacular glow to the skin and removes toxins from your skin.
Nervous system relaxation
As you relax, your nervous system enters a “rest and digest” mode. If you have areas of pain and tension in your body, they may result from pressure on nerves caused by tight muscles, and massage may relieve it.
Your muscles are like sponges; when they contract, blood and lymph fluid are squeezed out, and when they relax, fresh blood enters, bringing nutrition and oxygen. Your massage therapist may also perform stretching and range of motion movements into different massages to mobilize the joints and reduce the tension between your muscles and tendons.
Your me-time essential
Everybody needs their own time out from working and socializing. Massage therapy gives you some quality “me-time” to get into your world. It reduces stress levels and improves your mental well-being.
Massage therapy enhances flexibility as well as a range of motion in a variety of ways. It could also relax and lose the tight muscle by breaking up the bond that could form on the ligaments and tendons around joints
Some to-dos before massage therapy
Drink enough water before the massage session as it helps to remove the toxins easily.
Breathe deeply when the stroke is painful and stay calm, and do not encourage any anxious or negative thoughts in your mind during massage therapy. Consult a physician before any massage if you have any medical conditions, such as cancer, blood clots, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, or pregnancy.
You can make appointments weekly or monthly to maintain your mental and physical energy. There are different types of massages as mentioned above, and you can select which one suits you best by figuring out your areas of need and attention.
Want to know how to have a relaxing bath right at home? Read here: Make Your Way To Good Health With This Ayurvedic Shower Routine.