Types of Massage Therapy: Which One is Best for you?

Massage therapy‘s healing wonders are undeniable. From relaxation to helping in the recovery process, it’s not hard to explain the growing number of people visiting wellness spas for their massage sessions.

During a massage, your professional massage therapist will apply different techniques, usually gentle or strong pressure to your muscles and joints. Depending on your needs, your practitioner will involve your entire body or target only specific parts that need attention, especially tight muscles. There are no standard rules on how often you should get a massage, but your doctor or massage therapist will recommend what’s best for your needs. While massages for injuries are more frequent, relaxation or pampering massages may occur less often. Generally, it lasts for 30-120 minutes, with 60-90 minutes as the most common duration.

So, what are the types of massage? How do you know which one is right for you?

Types of Massage

1. Swedish Massage

Also known as “classic massage,” Swedish massage best represents the western standard for massage. Its main goals are relaxation and boosting well-being, using five techniques: kneading, stroking and gliding, rubbing, tapping, pounding, or vibration. Its health benefits include:

  • Lessening emotional and physical stress
  • Easing muscular strain by flushing out toxins
  • Alleviating chronic pain and back pain
  • Improving blood circulation throughout the body
  • Helping to keep tendons and ligaments supple, as well as improving range of motion

If you’re looking for a professional outdoor spa massage, you might want to try Bodywise Massage. It is located in the gorgeous city of San Rafael in California. You can choose a therapist from their certified and experienced practitioners with different specializations. Along with their open-air massage therapy, they also feature an unforgettable outdoor massage experience wherein you will have your massage session in a wellness garden while listening to the beautiful sounds of playful birds and falling water. The area is filled with various exotic and native plants that also serve as your protection from the harsh weather.

2. Aromatherapy Massage

This is ideal for individuals who need emotional healing. Using essential oils, your massage therapist will combine soft, gentle pressure on your whole body. Sometimes they will only focus on your shoulders, back, and head. Although your practitioner usually decides on the essential oil to use, you can let them know if you have a preference. This can help:

  • boost your mood
  • lessen stress and anxiety
  • minimize symptoms of depression
  • ease muscle tension
  • alleviate pain

3. Hot Stone Massage

Do you have muscle pain and tension or simply want to relax? The hot stone massage can be a healthy option. It is similar to Swedish massage, but it uses heated stones instead of or in addition to hands. During your session, they will place heated stones on specific parts of your body and sometimes hold a stone while they are massaging your entire body using Swedish massage techniques. Because of the added heat, Hot Stone massage may relieve more tension than the Swedish massage. Results are similar with an Aromatherapy massage.

4. Sports Massage

This is perfect for athletes or individuals who suffer from muscle injuries due to sports. You can also use this to lessen the risk of sports injuries. Additionally, sports massage may be used to increase flexibility and performance, relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.

5. Deep Tissue Massage

If you have chronic muscle problems like soreness, imbalance or injury, Deep Tissue massage is a good option. It aids in relieving tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, as well as anxiety. During your session, your massage therapist will utilize slow strokes and deep finger pressure to ease tension from the deepest layers of your connective tissues and muscles. Though it’s intense, you shouldn’t feel any pain or soreness.

6. Shiatsu Massage

This Japanese type of massage is best for those who want to feel relaxed and ease pain, stress, and tension. It works the whole body, but your practitioner may focus on specific areas that need extra attention. They will utilize their hands, thumbs, and palms in massaging while rhythmic or pulsing pressure is used. 

What does it do to your body?

  • decreases muscle tension
  • may ease headache
  • aids to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression
  • encourages emotional and physical relaxation and calm

7. Reflexology

Do you want to restore your energy levels? Then you may opt for Reflexology. This type of massage is also for relaxation. If you’re not comfortable being touched on your whole body, this may be your best option. It uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points of the hands, feet, and ears. This can last for 30-60 minutes.

8. Thai Massage

Using a sequence of movements similar to yoga stretching, your practitioner will use their fingers and palms to apply firm pressure to your body. You will be stretched and twisted into various positions that’s why it’s vital to ensure that you wear loose, comfortable clothing during your session. Thai massage can help improve your:

  • circulation
  • energy levels
  • flexibility

9. Prenatal Massage

Most women suffer from pregnancy body pains, muscle tension, and stress. Fortunately, Prenatal massage is a safe way for pregnant women to overcome these. If you’re one of them, you can have this type of massage anytime during your pregnancy period. However, it’s always best to consult your doctor before getting this massage. Also, ask your massage therapists if they offer this during your first trimester because some don’t allow during this period due to risks of miscarriage.

In your session, they will concentrate on some areas of your body such as your hips, legs, and lower back. You’ll either lie on your side or on a customized table with a cutout on your belly. 

10. Trigger Point Massage

Unknown to many, sometimes trigger points, which are areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, are causing pain in some parts of our body. Through focusing on relieving trigger points, Trigger Point massage can help manage chronic pain. They will use gentle and relaxing broad, flowing strokes, combined with stronger deeper pressure. It will involve your entire body but your practitioner will only focus on specific areas that need to be released.