With so many massage options available how do you choose the best one for your needs (personally, I’d go for any that provide free babysitting)? We asked our resident massage expert Samantha Deveson to break our options down for us.
Here is an overview of some of the most popular types of massage:
- Ka Huna (Hawaiian) Massage: is a deep flowing, energetically vibrant and deeply relaxing whole-body massage. It provides a holistic approach to healing by balancing the body-mind in its physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions.
- Swedish Massage: Therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil. This is a very relaxing form of massage.
- Hot Stone Massage: Therapists place heated, smooth stones on specific parts of the body to warm & loosen tight muscles, balancing energy centres in the body. The therapist may also apply pressure, or use gliding strokes with the stones to areas containing muscle tension.
- Deep Tissue Massage: targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Therapists use slower strokes & friction techniques across the grain of the muscles. Deep tissue massage is used for very tight and/or painful muscles & connective tissue, postural problems & recovery from injury.
- Shiatsu: is a Japanese bodywork that uses finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians. Each point is held for two to eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance. While Shiatsu pressure is generally firm, it is quite relaxing and there is no soreness afterwards.
- Pregnancy Massage (also known as Prenatal Massage): certified therapists position & support the pregnant woman’s body in appropriate ways during the massage. Therapists modify the massage techniques according to the stage of pregnancy. This form of massage is used to reduce stress and swelling, relieve aches & pains, and reduce anxiety and depression.
- Aromatherapy Massage: consists of massage therapy with the addition of one or more scented essential oils to address specific needs. The therapist selects oils that are relaxing, energizing, and stress-reducing and so on.
- Reflexology: a certified therapist applies pressure to specific points on the foot that correspond to organs and systems in the body. Reflexology can be very relaxing & is wonderful for people with tired achy feet. Reflexology is very relaxing, especially for people who stand on their feet all day or just have tired, achy feet.
- Sports Massage: is designed for people who are fairly physically active whether it be in recreation or their occupation. Sports Massage prevents & treats injury and enhances athletic performance. A combination of techniques are used involving fast strokes & facilitated stretching. Treatment plans are staged around pre event training, events, & post event recovery.
- Remedial Massage: is the assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain and injury management. It is designed to balance muscle/soft tissue length, tension, tone which will in turn promote the return to normal joint/capsular/bone position; increase the flow of blood and lymph, particularly in the injured areas, therefore removing blockages, damaged cells, scar tissue and adhesions resulting from injury. Therapists use a combination of techniques including neural muscular trigger pointing and facilitated stretching.
In terms of the overall health benefits of massage, the most research has been done on Sports and Remedial Massage. Generally these therapists will know a number of modalities of massage and will incorporate them into the one treatment based on the client’s physiology and lifestyle.
When booking a massage I would recommend viewing your body like a car. You want to service it with a qualified mechanic who will use the appropriate tools and techniques. Although this may appear more expensive initially, it will save you money in the long run in terms of the health benefits you will reap.