Common Massage Therapy Techniques
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Massage therapy is consistently one of the most popular options for self-care because it includes known therapeutic benefits as much as it does a degree of pampering. But if you’re new to the massage world or are on the hunt for something new, setting that first appointment can be a little daunting. To help ease some of the unknown prior to scheduling a massage appointment, it is beneficial to know what type of massage you need first. Here are seven of the most common types of massage therapies offered.
In the United State, a Swedish massage is the most common type of full body treatment. During a Swedish massage treatment, the therapist utilizes a number of different movements to relax and rejuvenate the body, including longer smooth strokes, circular movements, or hand kneading. Each of these motions provide therapy to the outer layers of the muscles being treated in a gentle manner. Massage oils and lotions may be used to assist with the process. For first-time massage patients, the Swedish treatment is often the starting point.
Similar to a Swedish massage, aromatherapy is an all-body treatment that includes the use of one or more essential oils. Aromatherapy address specific needs, such as increasing energy, prompting relaxation, reducing stress or balancing the mind and body. Patients who are seeking treatment for conditions that carry an emotional aspect may want to consider aromatherapy massage.
During a hot stone massage, the therapist places smooth, heated stones on specific areas of the body in an effort to treat tight muscles. Hot stone massage treatment works to balance energy centers found throughout the body, and the warmth of the treatment creates a soothing and deeply relaxing experience. Individuals best suited for a hot stone massage are those with tense muscles but an overarching need for gentle treatment.
Massage that includes deep tissue components focuses on treating the deeper layers of the muscles as well as the connective tissue within the body. Slow massage combined with some friction is used during deep tissue treatment, which promotes realignment within the muscles. Those with chronic aches and pains in the neck, lower or upper back, legs or shoulders benefit most from deep tissue work.
Massage work that is focused on the feet is known as reflexology. The theory behind this type of massage therapy is that the feet encompass certain reflex areas that correspond to other parts of the body, such as certain glands or organs. Applying pressure to reflex areas found within the foot encourages health in the corresponding areas of the body through energy pathways. Reflexology offers a relaxing experience for any patient, but is often recommended for those who spend a substantial amount of time standing or walking each day.
As one would expect, a pregnancy massage is designed for expectant mothers dealing with some of the uncomfortable aspects of carrying a child. Trained massage therapists focus on modified techniques meant to properly position and support the soon-to-be mother’s body throughout treatment. Receiving this type of massage during pregnancy helps reduce anxiety and depression, lowers stress levels, relieves aches and reduces swelling.
Unlike other massage therapies, a sports massage is not focused as much on relaxation. Instead, individuals receiving a sports massage can expect treatment that works to prevent and treat injuries related to athletic activities. Massage therapists performing sports massages use faster strokes combined with facilitated stretching to loosen the muscles and encourage flexibility. Individuals who regularly participate in sporting events or work out often may want to consider a sports massage as part of their ongoing treatment.
Everybody differs in the need for massage therapy, but understanding which techniques are appropriate for types of aches, pains and stress relief is the first step toward healing. If you are considering adding massage therapy to your self-care routine or are considering a change to your current treatment technique, contact Lakeland Family Chiropractic for a consultation or to get a massage at our office in Auburn.