If you are in pain or you just need to relax, going to a spa to get a massage might be just the thing you need.
Massage involves working on the body with pressure, either with the hands or using other aids. There are many types of massage and it can be confusing to try to decide what kind you might like. Some types of massage can help alleviate particular kinds of pain whereas others might be more likely to help you relax, if that is your goal.
Here is a guide to some of the most popular kinds of massage so you can decide which one will be the best for you.
The most common type of massage is known as Swedish massage because the technique was brought over to the United States from Sweden. Swedish massage is a good one to start with if you’ve never had a massage before and you’re not sure what kind is right for you. A Swedish massage is gentle and relaxing, as it focuses on the superficial layers of muscle rather than pressing deeply.
Massage therapists use aromatherapy in the form of essential oils from various plants, such as eucalyptus, almond, and lavender. Oils extracted from different plants and herbs are helpful for soothing various aches and pains, for reducing stress, relaxing you or energizing you, depending on what you are looking for. Your massage therapist will help you choose one that is right for you.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is used to target muscles that are particularly tight or painful. It can help you recover from an injury or from repetitive strain, such as from slouching in front of a computer for hours at a time. It uses slower strokes than Swedish massage and targets deeper layers of muscle. You may feel sore for a day or two after a deep tissue massage.
Hot Stone Massage
It might seem strange to think of someone placing hot stones on your body, but the warmth can be comforting and soothing and really help loosen tight muscles. Smooth, heated stones will be placed on certain points of your body to warm the muscles and loosen them up. It is also said that the hot stones can help balance energy centers in your body.
Your massage therapist might also use the stones to apply some light pressure on your body. It will help relieve tension but it is gentle, so if the idea of a deep tissue massage sounds painful, a hot stone massage might be a better choice for you.
Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork. Rather than using the whole hand to knead your muscles, a Shiatsu massage uses rhythmic finger pressure on acupressure points to help your energy flow smoothly and your body gain balance. This is a relaxing choice and you are unlikely to feel sore after a Shiatsu massage.
If you are pregnant and want a massage to reduce stress or relieve aches and pains, make sure your massage therapist is licensed to do pregnancy massage. He or she must be taught how to support and position the body of a pregnant woman during a massage and how to modify the massage techniques so they are safe for both mom and baby during pregnancy.