When most of us think of a massage, we imagine lying on a table while the masseuse or masseur works her / his magic, kneading our stressed muscles and unwinding the tensions of the day. But, as any beauty therapist will tell you, there’s much more to a massage than that. In fact, there are many different types of massage, all designed to soothe, repair and reinvigorate in very different ways according to the client’s needs. Here are just five of the most popular ones:
Swedish massage is the massage that everybody knows about, and that’s why it is sometimes referred to as the ‘classic massage’. It is comprised of five different strokes including kneading, tapping and sliding / gliding and its main goal is to relax the entire body, increase the level of oxygen in the bloodstream, reduce muscle toxins and improve circulation and flexibility.
Lymphatic massage uses repetitive strokes to stimulate the lympha system, allowing lymphatic fluid to flow smoothly through the vessels of your body (a healthy lymphatic system is extremely important). It is especially beneficial if you want to rid your body of toxins or if you are recovering from an injury and is one of the gentlest massage techniques available.
Thai massage is one of the oldest massage forms, and has been endlessly reinterpreted by centuries of practitioners. It involves lying on a mat in a series of different yoga-like poses while the masseuse manipulates your body into stretches. It is great for improving circulation, aiding pain relief, reducing stress and enhancing energy flow.
Deep Tissue massage involves deep-finger pressure on areas of the body that are chronically tense or painful. It is sometimes used in combination with other massage therapies and is fantastic for stress relief, improving blood pressure, breaking up scar tissue and rehabilitating injured muscles.
Reflexology is primarily a form of foot massage that dates back more than 5,000 years but was ‘reinvented’ in Europe in the late 1880s before finding popularity in the U.S. It is based on the belief that, by applying pressure to zones in our feet (or sometimes our hands or ears), we can restore health to specific areas and organs in our body. A reflexology foot massage can alleviate headaches, improve sleep and help treat many internal dysfunctions. It’s also a fabulous way to end a full body massage!
But those are only a handful of massages a beauty therapist can deploy. There are many other forms you could consider including shiatsu, hot stone, aromatherapy, or even spiritually-based Reiki (which isn’t really a massage at all, but it’s an excellent and fascinating form of energy based therapy).
So, which massage would you like today?