Understanding Different Massage Techniques
Choosing the right massage technique for your needs is not as easy as it sounds. There are many different techniques, from deep tissue to Swedish and Shiatsu. The American Massage Therapy Association suggests clients speak with the massage therapist in advance to decide which technique will give them the results they want. Some massage therapists use a variety of massage techniques or types during a session to best achieve desired results. Be sure to discuss any allergies you might have to oils, lotions or powders that may be used.
Aromatherapy: This is a massage treatment that involves the application of scented "essential oils" such as lavender, that have relaxing, revitalizing, stress-reducing and balancing properties.
Deep Tissue: When slow, deep pressure and skillful hand movements target stressed muscles, unlocking tension and relieving pain.
Holistic: The human as a whole is considered, rather than a set of conditions.
Hot Stone: Heated smooth stones are placed along the spine and other points of the back, shoulders, hands and feet in order to relax tissues as well as warm and loosen tight muscles. The therapist applies gentle pressure with the stones.
Neuromuscular: This is a a deep tissue massage that can help release spasms and hyper contraction in the muscle and ligaments. It can also assist blood and lymphatic flow.
Reflexology: Specialized pressure techniques are applied to specific wellness-related reflex points on the feet to release blocked energy, relieve stress and boost circulation.
Shiatsu: Originating in Japan, there are several different kinds of Shiatsu techniques. Shiatsu typically involves a finger-pressure technique (sometimes palms and thumbs) that utilizes the traditional acupuncture points of Oriental healing. This type of massage concentrates on detecting and correcting the the flow of energy (or chi) while restoring balance throughout the body.
Sport: This kind of massage used before or after an athletic performance. It lessens fatigue and reduces the risk of injury, while decreasing swelling. It can improve flexibility and range of motion and also prevent injuries.
Swedish: A classic stress-relieving, medium pressure technique, using varied strokes of gliding and kneading to promote circulation and an overall sense of well-being.
Trigger Point: This employs compression at specific areas, also called "trigger points" of hypersensitivity in muscles, ligaments and tendons. These trigger points are distinguished by local pain, tightness, and tenderness.