A massage is one of the most relaxing treatments you can book yourself in for at a salon, from a soothing Swedish massage to a more knot blasting sports massage there’s something out there for everyone. The physical act of receiving soothing strokes from another human being releases a relaxing and nurturing hormone which …
A massage is one of the most relaxing treatments you can book yourself in for at a salon, from a soothing Swedish massage to a more knot blasting sports massage there’s something out there for everyone.
The physical act of receiving soothing strokes from another human being releases a relaxing and nurturing hormone which can make us feel fully at ease and restful in both mind and body, promoting a lasting feeling of well-being and good health. With such a vast range of massage types and techniques out there it’s hard to decide which would best suit your needs, here we run through the many types of massage and their benefits:
Hot stone massage – A very popular spa treatment, the hot stones were originally warmed by fire and used by Native Americans to treat and heal aching muscles as the warming sensation helps to free knots and niggles combined with a therapeutic massage. The hot stone massage was revived and brought to the modern market by Mary Nelson who branded the now infamous LaStone Therapy which uses traditional Native American spiritual components and requires therapists to be fully trained with a certificate of authentication. Whilst a hot stone massage is deeply relaxing the stones can be very hot (the clue is in the name…) and some may find this a little uncomfortable but like with all therapeutic massages, the real difference is a few hours or a day after when your body truly feels the benefits. The stones are usually made of basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs heat and retains it well making them perfect for this treatment and the massage incorporated with the treatment is usually a Swedish massage, using the stones to ease tension and help energy flow through the body by being strategically placed along the spine and on muscles.
Swedish massage – Probably the most asked for massage, and well known is the traditional Swedish massage which is available at most salons and spas and can be adapted to be either relaxing or more intense with the amount of pressure used. A Swedish massage is a really great treatment for beginners as it is basically massage in the simplest form and with the receiver calling shots on how much pressure is applied they are guaranteed to walk away feeling relaxed, de-stressed and with an open mind to try a more intense massage. The masseuse will use long, flowing strokes with warm hands and usually with the aid of oil or lotion to provide a deeply relaxing treatment, concentrating on smoothing out any knots or tension with a deep, sweeping motion. Gentle kneading is also used to free any tough spots but this massage technique is mainly used to relax and revive a weary body. The HoMedics QRM-360 Swedish Style Massaging Chair is a very cost effective way of having a Swedish massage in your very own home as it comes complete with 3 different functions depending on how deep your want the pressure and also a remote control so you can change the format with ease.
Thai massage – Most Thai spas/treatment centres are known for their beautiful scent which instantly relaxes you as soon as you step inside, the lemongrass oils used for the treatments have many health benefits and the aroma fills the room for an added luxurious treat. As you would imagine, Thai massage originated in Thailand with Thai monks performing the treatment as a component of Thai medicine and takes the craft from India where it was developed by Jivaka Kumar Bhacca who was a physician to Buddha. A Thai massage has been said to be like a yoga class but without any of the physical work as the therapist bends and stretched your body in a series of yoga-like poses to free your body of stress, knots, tension and niggling pains. Oils such as Lemongrass Massage Oil are used to prepare the skin and help the practitioners hands to glide over the body with ease leaving skin soft, smooth and rejuvenated. A Thai massage is usually performed on a padded mat on the floor unlike more traditional massages which uses a table, using a mat close to the floor enables the therapist to use his/her full body such as knees, elbows and even feet to carry out the treatment.
Sports massage – A sports massage is exactly what it says on a tin, a stealthy, deep massage designed for after strenuous exercise to reduce injury and as a cool down for aching, tired muscles. A regular sports massage is highly important to any sportsman as it also aids recovery, resulting in a better performance and lower risk of injury keeping the body in optimum condition. Not only is a good sports massage good for the physical condition of the body it can release tension and anxiety from the mind, again resulting in better performance as stress levels are reduced. A sports massage targets knots and muscle tension in the back, shoulders, legs and arms, concentrating on freeing the body of built-up tension in a deep, rhythmic motion that is highly relaxing after high energy activity in which most of the major muscle groups are used.
Indian head massage – Based on the ayurvedic system of healing, Indian head massage has been practised for over a thousand years as a way of providing relaxation and healing to Indian families. Brought to the mainstream in recent years an Indian head massage can be deeply relaxing as all the stress and tension gathers in the back of your neck resulting in either a stiff neck, aches and pains or a dreaded headache which most of us suffer with after a particularly stressful day. Unlike most traditional methods of massage, the receiver sits fully clothed in a chair for an Indian head massage with the masseuse applying gentle pressure in a circular motion with their fingers all over their head, neck, scalp and shoulders. In some cases the face is massaged too, especially around the forehead and ears as these are pressure points which when massaged correctly have an instantly uplifting effect on the receiver to release stress and tension. A great tool to use at home or on a partner/friend is The Genie Head Massager, a simple design that really targets pressure points to provide a deeply relaxing head massage with minimal effort.
Reflexology – The ancient Chinese practise of Reflexology has become widely popular in the western world due to it’s modern holistic therapy which can relieve stress, pain and restore a sense of well-being in the receiver. The treatment works on the Chinese principle that certain areas on your hands or soles of your feet, which are known as the ‘reflex zones’ correspond to other parts of the body and can be used to help heal pain and medical conditions simply by treating the feet. Reflexology is a bit more in-depth than most traditional massage techniques and each session will require a consultation so your practitioner can get an idea of your medical history and any issues you may have before the treatment is carried out and also to inform you just what Reflexology is and just what’s involved in the process. Reflexology is so much more than just a foot massage, it has been said to be able to treat stress, anxiety, back pain, migraines, asthma and even irritable bowel syndrome.
Shiatsu massage – Another well known and widely available massage treatment is Shiatsu massage, the physical therapy of helping the body to naturally strengthen and heal itself with the power of movement and massage. Originating from Japan the treatment works on the physical and mental aspects of the body using light, deep and rhythmic touch as well as comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust to the body’s physical outer structure and balance the inner energy flow. To mimic the effects of a Shiatsu massage, the HoMedics Full Back Shiatsu SBM189 is a really wise investment as it’s portable and provides deep kneading and soothing heat to relieve tired muscles, ideal if you’re on your feet all day and feel the strain on your back or work in an office in which you’re sitting in the same position for hours on end.