There are massages for almost every type of pain or discomfort, ranging from a headache to insomnia. Knowing what massage is right for you can be slightly tricky, especially since there are so many different types of massages available. There are over 200 different types of massages you can get – to make things simpler, we have listed the 10 most common types of massages to meet your needs. Remember to book a professional home cleaning service by the trusted team at SweepSouth while you’re out enjoying your massage.
Massages For Stress Relief And Relaxation
1. Swedish Massage
This is the most common type of massage therapy, and is commonly thought of by people when they hear the word “massage” or try to give someone else a massage. A Swedish massage uses a mixture of three movements:
- Long sweeping strokes, or effleurage: usually at the start or end of a massage.
- Muscle kneading and rolling, or petrissage: this works on the muscles by kneading as you would with dough.
- Friction: this is where deep pressure is applied to a specific area with the thumbs, fingertips, or knuckles.
This type of massage is best for releasing tense or cramped muscles, relaxation, or even couples massages.
2. Hot Stone Massage
During a hot stone massage, your body is weighed down with hot stones, and the masseuse also uses the stones to massage your body. It’s supposed to feel like you’re being caressed by the smoothest of hands and also slightly scorched by them at the same time. A hot stone massage is mainly relaxing, and more invigorating than your regular massage. Due to the almost ‘too-hot’ stones, you are kept in the moment instead of drifting off. The heat helps release tension in the back and shoulders mostly, so that sore muscles can be worked on more efficiently.
This type of massage is best for recentering yourself, relaxing, and releasing sore muscles.
3. Chair Massage
Have you ever seen those strange contraptions at the mall, nail parlours, or the airport? During a chair massage you are sitting face forward in a padded chair while the therapist works on your neck, back and shoulders. The nice thing about this type of massage is that you don’t have to take off your clothes or have oil draped over you. The only downside is that you don’t get a thorough whole-body massage as you would with other methods.
Also, these massages are often done in public places, so it may be difficult to find relaxation. Depending on the massage therapist, a chair massage can get the tension out of your upper body. You may see other kinds of chair massages, like massage chairs in malls that allow you to put money to sit in them, but instead of that, you could just buy a massage pillow for your home.
This type of massage is best for stress relief, and quick massages, great for a long day of walking around.
Massages For Treating Pain And Other Specific Conditions
Traditional massages are best for relaxation and stress relief. However, when you have knotted muscles or a more specific ailment, some more attentive massage techniques may be required.
4. Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage applies deep pressure to specific troubled areas. For some, it can feel like the massage therapist is torturing you purposely by pushing into knotted muscles – this massage can leave you feeling a bit sore. It’s a very specific, methodical treatment. A massage therapist uses knuckles and elbows to strip out muscle tissue as far down to the bone as possible. This type of massage can be invasive and is not for everyone.
These massages can be helpful to athletes who have been working considerably hard on their bodies, harder than the average person, and people who are undergoing physical therapy to help the breakdown process of scar tissue, once an injury has healed properly. This type of massage is also for anyone who has dense tissue and responds better to a more intensive massage.
It’s important to always say something to the therapist to let them know if you need them to lighten the pressure if it’s too deep, or if they should apply more because it’s not deep enough. People often need more pressure in certain areas and less in others. This is because muscle tissue that has trigger points is more sensitive to pressure, and can be more tender when touched.
This kind of massage is not the one to ask for if you want to feel relaxed during the therapy. This massage is best for treating painful, stiff, troubled areas like the shoulders and neck.
This is not the kind of massage to ask for if you expect to feel relaxed during the therapy, and afterwards.
5. Trigger Point Massage
Like a deep body massage, trigger point massage focuses on specific areas of the body instead of the entire body. In this technique, the therapist pinpoints the problem muscle and works it with deep pressure to relax it.
Trigger point therapy includes the benefits of focusing on detecting and releasing trigger points. Located in the muscle, trigger points are areas that produce pain when compressed. Trigger points form as a result of trauma to muscle fibres.
This massage is typically used to treat pain-related conditions. Trigger point therapy is sometimes referred to as ‘myofascial trigger point therapy’ or ‘neuromuscular therapy’. Several techniques can be used to release trigger points, including massage therapy, chiropractic care, and dry needling.
Deep tissue and trigger point massages are similar, but the difference is that a deep tissue massage uses various traditional massage techniques to work on the tissue, and trigger point massages look to manipulate or press on the one point that relieves tension in an entire area.
Trigger point massage is best for chronic muscle pain and tension.
6. Neuromuscular Therapy
Neuromuscular therapy is a subset of trigger point massage. A highly trained therapist applies pressure to the areas where you have muscle spasms, which are muscles that are painful to the touch.
Neuromuscular therapy is also called ‘trigger point myotherapy’. This form of massage therapy is recognized as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury such as muscle strain.
Neuromuscular therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of the muscle spasm. The massage therapy pressure is applied with the fingers, knuckles or elbow. Once pressure is applied to a muscle spasm, the pressure shouldn’t vary for up to 30 seconds.
Neuromuscular therapy will be painful, to begin with, but should relax the muscle and aid in getting more oxygen and blood flow to it.
This type of massage is best for treating injuries and problems like poor circulation, posture issues and lower back pain.
Massages For Overall Health And Rejuvenation
All the above massages should leave you feeling better, but some types of massages may be more effective for an overall energy boost.
7. Shiatsu massage
Shiatsu, meaning finger pressure, is an ancient technique from Japan. This technique combines gentle stretches with finger pressure to work on different pressure points. The idea is to fix imbalances in the flow of energy in your body. Even though there is no concrete evidence on the effects of Shiatsu as a healing method, people still report stress and pain relief.
Scientists have yet to determine how or why this massage technique improves health – it’s theorised that the treatment may calm the sympathetic nervous system, and in turn, stimulate circulation, reduce stress and soothe the pain.
Unlike other types of massages, you can leave your clothes on during this one.
It’s best for ailments including headaches, back pain, and even lack of energy.
8. Thai Massage
Thai massages work from head to toe; it’s one of the most invigorating types of massages, the therapist rigorously manipulates the entire body, moving it into yoga-like stretches. The therapist uses every part of the body including the hands, knees, legs, and feet, to stretch and apply pressure on your muscles and loosen up your joints. You may even be walked on during the massage. These massages are relaxing and energising.
Thai massages are best for increased flexibility, improving energy, overall health and well-being.
9. Sports Massage
Sports massages are designed for those who endure a lot of physical activity, professional or not. It combines Swedish, Shiatsu, and other techniques to concentrate on the areas that are related to your sport. Athletes often have sports massages to prepare for peak performance, prevent injury, or treat injury.
The benefits and effects of sports massages include physical effects like circulating blood and lymphatic fluids, as well as stretching muscle tissue and breaking down scar tissue. Psychological effects include reducing anxiety levels.
This type of massage is best for athletes or anyone who takes part in sports.
10. Pregnancy Massage
Pregnant women tend to deal with all sorts of aches and pains, so a massage is a great option for them. Studies suggest that massages can be safe during pregnancy, but some places only offer them after the first trimester, as the risk of miscarriage is higher during the first 12 weeks of gestation.
A prenatal massage comes down to the position of the body. A trained professional will know the most comfortable, safe, and beneficial positions for your body, and where pillows should be placed under your abdomen to reduce pressure. But always speak with your doctor before making any bookings.
There are so many different types of massages out there but the massage types listed above are the most common. Regardless of the one you choose, be sure to tell your therapist which areas you especially need work on and whether you have any health issues. Don’t forget to speak during the massage and let the therapist know how the pressure feels. When you find a massage therapist you like, you might want to book a standing appointment with them to help manage your pain and stress brought on by your lifestyle all year long.