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Many don’t realize how many forms of massage and bodywork exist (a lot), but before you start stressing about what type of massage you should receive, keep in mind that an experienced massage therapist typically has knowledge across multiple techniques.
A good massage therapist will listen carefully to your complaints and will use multiple techniques to address your issues.
Having said that, there are times when you’ll want to find the best massage therapist for a specific issue, or perhaps you’re the adventurous type and want to experience different forms of massage.
When considering which techniques are of most interest to you, it can be helpful to think of massage in two distinct ways, Relaxation vs. Therapeutic.
Massage for relaxation or stress relief
If you’re feeling tense, overworked and underappreciated, a massage can be a great way to get yourself back into a happier, more relaxed state. The benefits of massage are numerous, including lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation to tight areas, and creating an overall sense of well being.
The most popular massage technique in this category is Swedish massage, which uses long, gliding strokes along with muscle kneading and a few other methods. Another popular form of massage in this category includes hot stone massage. Relaxation massage is one of the few things in life that feels good and is good for you.
When you have an acute or chronic injury, are experiencing pain, or are looking for help with a specific condition, you’ll want to get a better understanding of which techniques will be most effective. Painful issues commonly treated by massage include sciatica, back and neck pain and muscle strains. Effectively treating these issues requires a very good understanding of muscular anatomy and deeper, more specific massage techniques.
Among the most popular of these techniques are Acupressure and Neuromuscular massage. Practitioners trained in this method understand how the nervous and muscular systems work together and can effectively treat a number of painful conditions in very targeted and specific ways.
Acupressure is a massage therapy technique based on the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine that uses finger pressure to mobilize chi - or life force energy at the specific spot on the body called acupressure points, which are also known as acupuncture points or acupoints. Acupressure massage therapy stimulates and activates the body's own healing energies to prevent illness.
Swedish massage therapy is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage. As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. But Swedish massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for reducing tension and stress relief.
Deep Tissue is similar to Swedish massage, but the technique focuses on the deepest layer of muscles to target knots and release chronic muscle tension. It is a manipulation of the muscle towards the bones.
A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. Trigger Point Therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release.
For athletes of every kind, each therapeutic massage is specific to your sport of choice, with focus on a particular troublesome area like a knee or shoulder.
Pregnancy is a beautiful – but often uncomfortable – time for a woman. As she grows new life within her body, she experiences aches, pains, and fatigue like she’s never known. Fortunately for expecting women, prenatal massage helps to relieve those symptoms so that they can enjoy the miracle that is their unborn baby.