Massage has been around since before recorded history, in fact, it has been revealed that Julius Caesar received a massage every day. People throughout history knew that massage not only felt good but promoted healing in the body. Since the boom of the spa, massage and bodywork have been misunderstood as privileges of the rich and elite. The fact is that massage is a necessity to all people for health and balance. Massage for health and well-being has become increasingly popular and is even offered in some medical clinics. Since research shows that even occasional massage provides a whole slew of benefits to health, it’s great to have so many massage modalities to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular explained.
Swedish – This term is a bit of a misnomer since massage was not invented by a Swede nor was is developed in Sweden. Nevertheless, this massage technique is the basis for Massage Therapy today. Swedish Massage is delivered to muscles soft tissue with strokes known as effleurage, petrissage, frictions and tapotement. The therapists hands will deliver soothing oil or lotion to the skin which can be un-scented or lightly scented also called an Aromatherapy Massage. All massage movements will be performed inward toward the heart to stimulate circulation and detoxification. Benefits include: relaxation, stress reduction, improved circulation, speed up healing of injuries, reduce swelling and help dissolve scar tissue.
Deep Tissue – Often used in addition to other massage modalities, deep tissue and trigger point therapy allow the therapist to work tissue in the sub-layers of muscles and deeper connective tissue called fascia. A deep pressure is applied to the muscles by the therapists hands, forearms and elbows either with oil or lotion or to bare skin to provide better leverage. Benefits include: reduction in chronic muscular pain, injury rehabilitation, increased range of motion and reduction of pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis.
Sports Massage – While it was designed to help athletes perform better and recover faster, the average participant of an active lifestyle will benefit from this kind of massage treatment. A Sports Massage is very helpful after an intense workout to relieve stiffness and sore muscles and to reduce recovery time after a big event. It’s also helpful before and while training for a big event such as a triathlon to bring blood to critical parts of the body and loosen muscles. Sports Massage typically focuses on a specific area or muscle group but can be performed as a full body treatment incorporating stretches and resistance. Benefits include: increased flexibility, faster recovery time after muscle exertion and faster recovery time from injuries.
Stone Massage – Usually performed with hot stones, this massage treatment, like a hot bath, will sooth not only your mind but the heat will penetrate deep into your muscles. Stones will be massaged over the body as well as placed on the body to produce a grounding effect. While the heat from the stones produce a profound relaxing effect for the muscles, the stones themselves have an exfoliating quality that will leave the skin soft and glowing as well. Benefits include: decreased stress and anxiety, pain relief and increased circulation.
Lomi Lomi (Hawaiian Massage) – In this form of sacred massage, the body is treated as a whole and not a piece at a time. Unlike traditional massage where each body part is treated separately, a stroke during a Lomi Lomi treatment can start at the tip of a finger and run the entire length of the body and end at the tip of a toe. The Massage Therapist will use energy and breath along with long rhythmic strokes known as runs over the entire body to produce a profound relaxing and meditative state. Because the therapist has no set pattern, the massage is free to flow and your mind will in turn free itself from thought and anticipation of the next move. Your consciousness will transcend to a state of floating like on the ocean tides that surround the islands that inspired this beautiful massage. Benefits include: deep relaxation, improved circulation and the opportunity for personal meditative growth.
Pregnancy Massage – This is a highly specialized Swedish Massage treatment and mothers-to-be can greatly benefit from its soothing supportive effects. The Certified Pregnancy Massage Therapist will focus on areas most affected by the changes in the body brought about by this very special time, mainly the neck shoulders, lower back and feet. An assortment of pillows, supports and bolsters will be used to make sure that mother and baby will receive very safe healing and relaxing benefits from the massage treatment. The beneficial relaxation chemicals released by the mother will flow to the baby and promote relaxation and ease his or her state. It also helps to promote hormone balance in the mother regulating stress and mood chemistry. Benefits include: pain and discomfort relief, relaxation, increased circulation and hormonal balance.
Chair Massage – When I say chair massage, I am not referring to the electric varieties that you plug into the wall. A Chair Massage is a brief massage performed by a Licensed Massage Therapist on a fully clothed client in a seated position. Chair Massage can incorporate petrissage, wringing, squeezing, compression, stretching and tapotement and can very effectively relax and re-energize the client whether they are sitting in the office or in the mall. Chair Massage is very popular in the work place and can improve employee morale. In recent years it has even traveled to places such as air ports, poker tournaments and even casinos. In general a chair massage treatment is performed for 5 – 30 minutes and has become very popular due to its convenience. Benefits include: improved flexibility, relaxation, renewed energy and increased circulation.
Now that you know all of the wonderful opportunities and benefits a massage can provide, decide which one is right for you and call your Massage Therapist today.
Massage to your health – Kristin Malone