Types of Massage
Which Type of Massage Should I Choose?
There is a dizzying array of massage therapies out there and it can be hard to know which type to choose and which is going to be of benefit to you.
The first question to ask yourself is:
What do I want to get out of the massage?
You could be in need of a little bit of relaxation and pampering; alternatively, you could have a tight neck, shoulder or back and need the muscles released. Some massage therapies even provide emotional release so you may need to consider if this is what you are after.
All massage will promote circulation and blood flow through the body and bring about physical and psychological healing by manipulating the body’s connective and soft tissues. Pressure used ranges from gentle to deep – a massage therapist will usually ask which you prefer; and a therapist will use a variety of techniques during the massage. These can include stroking and gliding movements, kneading, and percussive or tapping motions. The therapist may also ask you to coordinate your breath with some of the strokes to encourage the release of tensions, physical or emotional.
Different Types of Massage
Here is a general overview of what you can expect from the different types of massage.
For relaxation, try Swedish, connective tissue, deep tissue, hot stone, pregnancy massage, or the forms of Hawaiian or Thai massage. In fact, most people report feeling a sense of relaxation after any form of massage. Essential oils are sometimes used and can have relaxing and stress-relieving effects. Alternatively you could ask for these types of massages to have to opposite effect – to invigorate and revitalise. The therapist can change the oils and types of strokes to have this effect.
For emotional healing and release, try Hawaiian, lomi lomi or kahuna massage – these can help connect mind, body and spirit. Deep tissue massage can also access deeply held tensions and emotional issues that are stored in the body. Sometimes simply the placing of hands on a person’s body will have a deeply nurturing and healing effect.
For injuries, try remedial, sports, connective tissue or deep tissue massage. Sports massage can in fact be quite vigorous and can be used to speed up recovery time after an injury. All these massage therapies will increase circulation, relieve tension, ease muscle imbalances and promote flexibility.
As you can see there is some cross over, with no one style of massage having a monopoly on what it will be good for.
Chinese massage is another type of massage to consider. It works with the body’s energy, or qi, and also with the mental body. Chinese massage focuses on points where qi gathers and can become stagnant. Massage techniques may activate and regulate qi and blood as well as to promote relaxation.
When considering massage during pregnancy remember that all types will not be suitable. Find a therapist who has specific training and experience in pre-natal massage. Pregnant women will have specific tensions and pains caused by carrying extra weight and the shift in the centre of gravity. The woman will need to lie on her side, or on a table specifically designed for pregnant women so they can lie on their belly.
All in all, getting any form of massage is a fantastic way of acknowledging and honouring your body, and you are sure to benefit from whatever type you choose.