8 Different Types of Massage Therapy and Their Benefits
Massage therapy involves kneading parts of your body to improve circulation. This is a popular form of healing therapy that relieves pain on the joints. During a typical session, the massage therapist applies strong or gentle pressure on the muscles. Ongoing massage therapy eases tension on the sore, tired, or injured tissues in your body.
There are many different types of massage therapy techniques, each with its own distinctive health benefits. Your massage therapist may specialize in certain massage therapy disciplines, which focuses on healing a specific part of the body. The massage therapy can be used to treat pain on your back, shoulders, neck, legs, chest, stomach, and arms.
The following are the eight common types of massage therapy techniques, along with their health benefits for your body:
Type #1: Swedish Massage Therapy
A Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage therapy. If you ever tried massage therapy services in the past, you most likely started with this massage technique. The Swedish massage aims to ease the tension in your body and enhance the blood circulation. Both energizing and relaxing, regular massage therapy sessions can benefit your recovery process after an injury.
The Swedish massage consists of rubbing, kneading, bending, and stretching. It involves long, soft, kneading strokes, followed by rhythmic and tapping strokes on the top muscle layer. These manoeuvres, when combined with the joint movements, help to relieve muscle tension.
Type #2: Sports Massage Therapy
Sports massage therapy is an excellent choice if you have injuries caused by repetitive muscle use. Best suited for athletes, the benefits of this massage therapy include improving flexibility and reducing injury risks. A sports massage is also known to hasten recovery times, relieve muscle tension, and improve blood circulation.
An ideal sports massage lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. Since this type of massage feels very invigorating, many people use it to warm up before high-intensity workouts. The sports massage can be applied on different body parts with soothing strokes and deep pressure. To maximize its effectiveness, you can also opt for the full-body sports massage.
Type #3: Deep Tissue Massage Therapy
The deep tissue massage therapy can relieve built-up tension in the deepest layers of your connective tissues and muscles. This type of massage therapy is an excellent treatment if you suffer from chronic muscle pain. It is also commonly used for tight muscles, soreness, stiffness, injuries, or pain from arthritis.
Each deep tissue massage session lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. The deep tissue massages are performed in slow strokes with deep pressure applied. Although this type of massage may seem intense, you shouldn't feel any soreness or pain. However, those who are overly sensitive to pressure may want to avoid the deep tissue massage therapy.
Type #4: Trigger Point Massage Therapy
A trigger point massage combines features from both the Swedish technique and the deep tissue treatment. This type of massage specifically focuses on pain from trigger points. The trigger point massage therapy is most suitable for people suffering from chronic pain. They are also effective in treating mild injuries or specific pain from muscle knots.
This massage therapy technique uses a combination of broad and strong deep pressure strokes throughout the body. Its focus is on relaxing and relieving the tension from knotted muscles. A satisfying trigger point massage session should last between 60 to 90 minutes.
Type #5: Prenatal Massage Therapy
The prenatal massage is an excellent option for pregnant women who suffer from various body aches, stress, and muscle tension. The benefits of this massage therapy include relaxation and pain relief. This massage can alleviate mild tension in pregnant women who often experience swelling in the hips, legs, and lower back. It also reduces labour pain, improves mental health, and lowers premature birth risks.
Prenatal massage only uses mild pressure, so it is known to be a safe, reliable choice for expecting mothers. Each session takes around 45 to 60 minutes. During the massage, you either lie on your side or on a specifically designed table with a belly cut-out. If you had pain in your legs or calves, make sure you seek medical consultation before attempting a prenatal massage.
Type #6: Hot Stone Massage Therapy
Hot stone massage therapy involves the use of heated basalt stones, which have been immersed in warm water before they are applied on your body. These basalt stones contain healing properties that make them effective in muscle recovery. This type of massage therapy feels very relaxing. The hot stone massage is best suited for individuals who want to relieve mild muscle tension or pain.
Type #7: Aromatherapy Massage Therapy
Aromatherapy massage therapy has been practiced for centuries by ancient cultures. This type of massage therapy is popular among people who need emotional healing. It is known to enhance sleep, improve your mood, and alleviate anxiety or depression symptoms. The massage can also reduce pain and relieve tense muscles.
Aromatherapy combines the use of Swedish massage techniques and essential oils. The massage takes place as you inhale essential oils through a diffuser, eventually absorbing them via your skin. It mainly focuses on the head, shoulders, and back. An aromatherapy massage lasts between 60 to 90 minutes.
Type #8: Reflexology Massage Therapy
Reflexology is based on a theory, which states that some of your body parts connect to other regions of your body. This type of massage therapy technique involves alternating gentle to firm pressure on various pressure points. Since reflexology focuses on your feet, hands, and ears, the massage is largely non-intrusive.
A reflexology massage session takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes. It is best suited for individuals who want to relax and rejuvenate. During your massage session, you may want to dress in loose-fitting clothes that give access to your legs.