Top 8 Massage Techniques

Massage is now applied in different ways and forms for different purposes. Here is a list of the top rated massage techniques. Read on for one of them might be the right option for you.

Massage is one of the oldest and simplest forms of medical care.  It is used for relaxation, pain relief, fitness, and more.  Massage therapy is a therapeutic technique that involves manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. It is the calming, therapeutic process of kneading, stroking, and pressing the different areas of the body which alleviates pain, relieves stress and tension, stimulates and tones the body, and promotes relaxation.

There are numerous massage techniques, each offering different strokes which vary widely from the most delicate touch with fingertips to the more focused deep tissue work, including the use of elbows. These techniques also vary in speed as well as in pressure.

Below is a list of the most popular massage techniques. Read on for one of them might be the right option for you.

Heated Stone Massage

Heated stone massage, also known as la stone massage, is a popular and effective alternative to traditional massage therapy.   Smooth stones are heated in special containers, sometimes filled with water, designed to maintain an optimum temperature of warmth.

The placement and manipulation of heated stones promotes relaxation, changes in body temperature, heart and breathing rates. Heated stone massage also expand blood vessels, which aids in the blood flow and oxygen in the body, promoting a a sense of well-being.

Because it quickly promotes relaxation, massage therapists can more easily and efficient target deeper muscles and tissue which might otherwise be tense.    Besides relaxation and stress relief, hot stone massage can relieve chronic pain.   For all of these reasons, heated stone massage is an excellent “gateway” massage for those new to it, or, worried about too much pressure.

Deep Tissue Massage

The deep tissue massage, on the most basic, is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It involves a number of slow movements, but generally the pressure is more intense as it aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body. The most common target of these movements and deep finger pressure are the contracted areas, either following or going across the muscles of the fiber, fascia and tendons. Usually, in this kind of massage, the therapists use their thumb, fingers and even elbows to apply the needed pressure.

Swedish Massage

The Swedish massage technique involves the use of kneading, tapping or calming strokes applied to the entire body to loosen sore joints and relieve muscle tension and pain.  What sets Swedish massage apart from other techniques are 5 major strokes: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, and vibration. Although each of these strokes differ according to their movements and target points, all of them are developed to promote an ultimate feeling of well-being.

There is also one particular result that Swedish massage uniquely achieves — increasing the flow of oxygen in the blood and releasing toxins entrapped in muscles.  This particular result makes Swedish massage popular as a method for shortening recovery time from muscular strain.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is, as the name suggests, a form of massage used for athletic strain and recovery.   The technique calls for kneading and manipulating soft tissues in the body to help athletes improve performance, as well as prevent and treat sports injuries.

Neuromuscular Massage

This massage technique is used for individual muscles, focusing on increasing blood and lymphatic flow, releasing pressure trapped on nerves, and thereby reducing nerve pain and pressure.    Neuromuscular massage techniques also release triggers  contributing to headaches.

Rolfing and Myofascial Release

Rolfing involves adjusting body posture, which  in turn addresses headaches, backaches and joint pain. Rolfing massage techniques help straighten and realign your body by working the myofascia, which is the connective tissue surrounding your muscles, which helps hold your body together.    A body suffering from trauma, inflammation, or recovering from surgery, creates myofascial restrictions which can add incredible pressure to sensitive areas on the body.   Myofasical Release helps eliminate the “straightjacket” effect of these restrictions.

Chair Massage

Massage chairs allows your therapist easy access to your head, neck, back and arms.   You remain clothed and seated, with your face in a cushioned cradle, and your massage is generally very quick, between 15 and 30 minutes.  You’ll find chair massage stations in airports, shopping malls,  conventions, parties, wellness centers, and in some forward thinking dental and medical offices.   Chair Massage is also a good “gateway” massage for those who are body conscious and prefer no nudity, or, who need quick relief during the day.

Aromatherapy Massage

Olfaction is fully developed at birth in humans, and it plays an important role in an infant’s ability to recognize and bond with his or her mother. Our brains are wired to interpret signals from our olfactory center to tell us what pleasures or hazards are in our surroundings.   Even the “chemistry” felt between two adults is prompted or enhanced by aroma.    Many European and Asian facilities invest in “indirect perfuming” to enhance productivity in the workplace and to promote recovery in hospitals.

For thousands of years, aromatherapy massage has been used to incorporate muscle relief and olfaction to promote healing.    A regular massage with scented carrier and essential oils can help dissolve accumulated stress and toxins.   Certain aromas aid in relaxation, while others calm nerves or promote mental alertness.     A favorite scented oil used for aromatherapy massage combines olive oil and orange blossom. Olive oil is well known for its healing properties, both when taken internally and used to lubricate the outer body, while orange blossom oil is a scent that has been used as a stress reliever for years.     Together, olive oil and orange blossom offer luxurious skin conditioning with the added benefit of soothing stress-reduction.

Share your thoughts with us. What are your favorite massage techniques, and why?

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March 12, 2014 |

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