The benefits of massage are numerous but how do you know which type of massage to get? From relaxation and anxiety relief to headache and sports injury relief, massage can be an effective treatment for reducing stress and eliminating pain. Not to mention that it helps you feel great!
While all forms of massage can be advantageous, different massage types do offer different benefits. To get maximum results from your massage it’s important to choose the massage type that is best suited to your unique needs and wants. Read on for more information about the various types of massage.
The Different Massage Types
Swedish massage is virtually synonymous with massage therapy. Designed to be both relaxing and energizing, the Swedish massage is one of the most common types of massage therapy. For this technique, your massage therapist will use soft, long, kneading strokes and joint movements. Swedish massage is based upon Western concepts of anatomy and physiology compared to the energy-centric style more common in Asian forms of massage. This type of massage focuses on full-body muscle relaxation and does not have intense pressure or strokes.
Deep tissue massage is ideal for treating stiff or sore muscle knots. During a deep tissue massage, your therapist will use long, slow, and deliberate strokes that focus on the deep lying layers of muscles, tendons, and tissues. While deep tissue massage is less rhythmic and relaxing than other styles of massage, it can be very therapeutic and is often used to address chronic tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or injuries. The techniques used in this type of massage are more intense than a Swedish massage as the focus of this massage is to alleviate problem areas. In some cases, you may experience some discomfort during your massage as your therpist applies stronger pressure to problematic areas but tpyically a day or two following this type of massage you will feel the release in muscle tension.
Shiatsu, or “finger pressure,” massage is a form of Japanese massage that uses a variety of rhythmic pressures on precise areas of the body. These areas are called acupressure points and are believed to control the body’s energy flow. Shiatsu massage is believed to relieve energy flow blockages and can result in reduced muscle tension and improved circulation. With roots in traditional Chinese medicine, the goal of shiatsu is to stimulate acupressure points on the body to improve the flow of energy and help regain balance.
More energizing than other popular types of massage, a Thai massage uses a unique blend of assisted yoga, passive stretching, and pressing massage movements. It aligns the energies in the body like a Shiatsu massage to reduce stress and improve flexibility and range of motion. Thai massage helps reduce muscle spasticity and back pain, and has been shown to be useful in treating balance problems and migraine symptoms.
Soft massage is designed almost exclusively for relaxation. Perfect for beginners to the massage experience, soft massage uses slow and generous strokes to gently massage away unwanted tension or stress. Your massage therapist will work with you to determine the ideal amount of pressure for you—whether you want soft and gentle or vigorous and bracing, your massage can be customized to your needs. Moisturizing cream or massage oil is used to alleviate friction and to allow your therapist’s hands to glide over the muscles.
An aromotherapy massage can be done with Swedish or deep tissue massage techniques plus cented plant oils (known as essential oils) added to the massage oil. The soothing effects of aromatherapy massage can benefit a variety of conditions, including headaches, insomnia, certain digestive disorders, back pain, and even premenstrual symptoms.
Hot Stone Massage
Through the use of warm stones the massage therapist relaxes and loosens tight muscles so that areas of muscle tension can be reached quickly. The hot, smooth stones are placed on specific points on the body and also holds the warm stones while giving the massage. These type of massage promotes deeper muscle relaxation.
Asian massages tend to be stronger than Western massage and use acupressure points. It can “hurt so good” and you often feel results from one session. An Asian massage focuses on getting the body’s energy to flow more harmoniously through pathways or meridians, allowing the body to heal itself naturally.
If you’re in the New York City area and are interested in a relaxing retreat, contact West Garden Spa in Midtown Manhattan only minutes from Penn Station. We offer a full line of Asian massage services, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, shiatsu massage, soft massage, and four hand massage. Call 212.244.7711 to schedule your massage appointment today.