Nothing spells out “relaxing” more than a good massage. There are many kinds of massage therapy techniques and of course, each of these techniques are good for specific purposes. Therefore, it is always in your best interest to learn all about these different techniques in order for you to discern and decide for yourself which type of massage suits you best. It will depend on your needs and what kind of benefits you expect to reap out of massage therapy.
Here are the seven most common types of massage and what you should expect from each one:
1. The Swedish Massage
The Swedish Massage is considered by many to be the most popular type of massage. This particular style of massage is credited to a person named Johan Georg Mezger. It is worth noting that the Swedish Massage is known as such only in English and Dutch speaking countries. The rest of the world knows this type of massage as the “Classic Massage.”
The Swedish Massage uses five primary techniques including effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration/shaking. If you have ever had a massage therapy done and you had no idea what type of massage it was, there is a good chance that it was probably a Swedish type of massage.
- Lymphatic Massage
This type of massage is known for using light, gentle strokes. This is the type of massage that your therapist might give you if you ask for light pressure without specifying what kind of massage you want administered. The aim of the lymphatic massage is to stimulate the lymphatic system of your body. This type of massage relaxes the muscles so that the lymph vessels can more efficiently deliver the lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Danish doctors Emi and Estrid Vodder are credited with the creation of this type of massage.
- Thai Massage
If you prefer harder pressure when you are being massaged, then you might want to go for a thai massage. Don’t worry, your therapist won’t go crazy and use muay thai elbows and kicks all over your body. This type of massage has no universally-accepted routine, but it is generally characterized by harder pressure, rhythmic application of pressure and stretches similar to yoga. This massage cannot be credited to a single founder, but the founder is said to be Shivago Komarpaj from over 2500 years ago.
- Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage is characterized by application of slow friction combined with deep finger pressure. Its aim is actually to relieve tension in the muscles as well as aches and pains in the joints. People who complain of stiff joints in particular problem areas of the body can benefit greatly from a deep tissue massage. The massage can be localized to the problem area such as the head, neck, shoulders, and the joints of the limbs. It may also be used with other types of massage as a part of a complete package.
- Myofascial Release
This type of massage aims to improve the functionality of all of the body’s different systems. The “fascia” is a thin layer of tissue that covers the muscles. By stimulating the fascia and releasing it from tension, the muscles and joints of the patient can benefit from a greater range of motion. Janet G. Travell was the first to mention this type of massage in literature back in the 1940s. The techniques involved in myofascial release include the use of the knuckles and forearms in order to move the fascia all around the body.
If you prefer your massage to be a more mystical experience, then Reiki is the type that you should choose. Hands-on holding positions are used in order to stimulate the Ki energy inside the body. It can be a relaxing and therapeutic experience with proven results. The Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui is credited with developing this technique. The western variant of Reiki is more systematized while the Japanese version is more intuitive.
The study of reflexology maps all of the organs of the body into areas on the feet. Therefore, the practice of reflexology massage necessarily focuses on applying pressure to these areas. This is very similar to pressure point needle therapy. Doctor William H. Fitzgerald first popularized this type of therapy in the US way back in 1913.