You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a massage…and that’s kind of the same thing
Massage therapy is not only a great way to relax and unwind but it can also be an effective way of tending to your aches and pains and stretching out those tight muscles. However, there is an entire world of possibilities when it comes to massage and knowing exactly which massage is right for which ache is a difficult art to master. This guide will give you insight into exactly what each type of massage entails, allowing you to make a fully informed decision at your next salon appointment.
Swedish massage is perhaps one of the most popular forms of Western massage available and it is widely practiced around the world. This type of massage uses various different strokes in an attempt to release muscle tension, increase blood circulation and revitalise your body. Is it one of the more relaxing forms of massage, and your therapist will most likely pair this treatment with classical music and dimmed lighting to ensure you get the most out of your time with them.
Hot Stone Massage
In a hot stone massage soft, smooth and gently heated stones will be placed on various key points around your body. Therapists tend to use these stones as an extension of their own hand, running them up and down your muscle and using them to create a warm, flowing motion across the skin. Alternatively, these stones can also be placed across areas of your body such as your stomach or your back to improve circulation as well as the flow of energy around your body. Hot stone massage is a great way of relaxing tight muscles, subsequently allowing the therapist to work more deeply into the muscle.
Sports massage is perhaps one of the less relaxing types of massage. Sports massage tends to take more of a medicinal approach to massage, using techniques that will benefit you in the long-term, but that might not be too pleasant in the short run. This form of massage is often combined with trigger point therapy — a treatment that seeks out the ‘knots’ in your muscles and attempts to release any areas of built up tension. Sports massage is the perfect option if you’re looking to tackle any pain around your body, rehabilitate from an injury, or if you are suffering from tension headaches.
An aromatherapy massage is one of the most relaxing forms of massage. Aromatherapy massage uses highly concentrated plant oils, utilising plants such as chamomile, lavender and rosemary to treat your body’s various needs. Each of these plant extracts have different medical properties and uses. For example, lavender is considered to have calming effects on the mind and body, whereas rosemary is seen as possessing more energizing properties. These oils are massaged into the skin using long, flowing strokes, allowing you to rest, relax and enjoy these stunning scents.
Thai massage is a unique form of massage that does not include oils or lotions, and both the therapist and the client remain fully clothes. Often described as ‘the lazy man’s yoga’, this form of massage therapy stretches the muscles using assisted yoga movements. The client remains passive throughout the treatment, whilst the therapist manipulates the body, pushing it in areas where pressure is needed and stretching out the muscles as required. Thai massage can be quite painful if you have never experienced it before — but the afterglow of a good Thai massage is unparalleled.
Shiatsu is a Japanese form of treatment that involves applying pressure around the body using thumbs, fingers and palms. A Shiatsu practitioner may also knead, soothe, tap and stretch your body in an attempt to access your body’s ‘Qi’. Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) is the underlying principle in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine and is considered the ‘energy flow’ around the body. Shiatsu attends to the client’s Qi, as well as alleviating any built up tension and/or stress, attempting to restore the overall balance of the client’s entire body.
Author bio: Lucy Vardy is the owner and lead therapist at Moon and Stars Beauty Therapy. Lucy believes that those who take the time to focus on their wellness are happier and more productive.