Getting a massage everyday would be a dream for anyone. The benefits are insurmountable: improved balance, decrease in rheumatoid arthritis pain, relaxation, lower blood pressure, improved flexibility, improved sleep, improved circulation and overall improvement of the best parts of life. We spend 8 or 9 hours of our waking lives sitting at a desk.
This may not seem like a big deal, but the constant strain of sitting can cause damage to your lower back. For office professionals and those with a sedentary career, massages are crucial for maintaining optimal health. So is quitting that office job. (Kidding!) While many of us aren’t able to quit our day job and spend our days basking in relaxation, getting a massage is the next best option.
The world of massage offers a variety of techniques for all preferences. Some prefer the “hurt so good” intensity that comes with a Thai massage, while others prefer the soothing sensations of a Swedish massage. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what your completely unique body’s needs are. Listen to your body, select the right massage, get on that massage chair and enjoy the rest.
Here are 5 of the most popular massage procedure styles:
The Swedes are known for their cinnamon rolls, meatballs and yes, their massages. The technique was almost discovered by accident by Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish fencing instructor in the 1830s.
When he injured himself while fencing, he took the liberty of performing tapping, or percussion strokes around his hurt areas. He ended up curing his ailments in the process, at which point he developed the technique we know today as Swedish massage.
If you are aiming for a massage where you can fully relax, shut your brain off and let the soothing sounds of a guzzling brook on a Spotify playlist and the smell of candle wax take you away, then a Swedish massage is for you. It’s a technique targeted for those who have knots that need releasing.
This 60-90 minute massage involves kneading, deep circular motions, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart, tapping and light joint movements. Sometimes, the joints in the fingers just need to be loosened, especially if you’ve had your hands on a keyboard all day. But it’s okay, don’t quit that job. Just get a Swedish massage.
Hot Stone Massage
Who would have thought that hot rocks could be so therapeutic? It’s very similar to a Swedish massage, replacing human hands with that of hot Basalt river stones and gentle pressure. Sometimes even cold stones are used as well.
These stones have been smoothed out from centuries of river currents and are now silky enough to alleviate our stress. If you suffer from anxiety, back pain, depression and anxiety, you may find relief from these soothing touches of Mother Nature.
We’d recommend you undergo a hot stone massage on a cold day to melt away your tensions. We are confident you’ll find yourself sleeping like a baby thereafter. There are many benefits to this technique that will have you craving the softness of Basalt river stones for days to come.
We talked about earth. Now, let’s talk science. While Mother Nature fills your body with warmth, magnet therapy utilizes elementary particles and magnetic fields to help you extinguish that growing stress in your brain and body. Just how acupuncture uses thin needles to get the blood flowing, magnet therapy uses the natural magnetic charge that our bodies develop to ease pain.
If your magnetic field is out of balance because of, say, that pointless three-hour meeting (that should’ve really been an email), applying a magnet to your skin will shuffle your ions around in a relieving way. This application of magnets is believed to realign the electromagnetic field inside our very bodies.
Magnet therapy has seen positive results from those with carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and arthritis. These high-tech magnets can be worn in a variety of ways, including bracelets and necklaces. People who undergo magnet therapy usually have inflammation, injuries or chronic pain.
Somehow, humans found a way to harness particles for purposes of relief and it works. So the next time you find yourself pretending to pay attention on that conference call and contemplating your purpose in life, get on your computer, pretend you’re taking notes and book yourself an appointment for magnet therapy.
Deep Tissue Massage
Do you like Swedish massages but yearn for something deeper? Deep tissue massage takes deeper strokes and finger pressure that will help you alleviate that every day stress. Pressure is applied to your muscles and connective tissues in a way that might hurt a bit, but it’s a pain that’s worth it, especially if it’s ridding the more permanent pain in the long run.
Short pain in exchange for chronic pain? Yes, please. The many benefits of deep tissue massage include: improving limited mobility, easing chronic muscle pain, improving your posture and alleviating stress from micromanaging bosses.
In comparison to Swedish massage, both utilize similar strokes but they vary in their different uses and the amount of pressure that is applied. The technique is mostly used to treat chronic pain and sports-related injuries, whereas Swedish massage is used more to achieve relaxation and moments of zen.
As for pressure, deep tissue massage goes further than Swedish, which goes easy on your muscles with gentle strokes. Both of them, however, involve palm and finger action for kneading of the tissues. Deep tissue sometimes utilizes elbow and forearm action to bring on more pressure.
Deep tissue massage hones in on the inner layers of muscles, focusing on muscle and tendon injuries, pain and stiffness in the major family of muscles and joints. Meanwhile, Swedish tackles the superficial layers of muscle and the areas of the body where tension resides, like the neck, shoulders and back.
While on the topic of pain, let’s segue into Thai massages. These are perhaps the most painful and if you’re a fan of “hurts so good” sensations, then this might be your pick. During a Thai massage, you might find the masseuse walking on your back and using particular techniques with his or her own feet to apply pressure to your back. Thai massage involves extensive palm work, where your masseuse rubs his or her palms in circular motions on your problem areas.
This ancient therapy has been practiced in Thailand for thousands of years. The hurt so good technique was developed by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, who was an old buddy of Buddha with vast knowledge of medicine and human anatomy. This “Father Doctor” is known to be the inventor of Thai traditional medicine. Before or after a massage, Thai healers are traditionally known to give thanks to the Father Doctor.
Thai massages are great for those who like the idea of being turned into a human pretzel. You’ll be pulled and twisted until you hear things crack. If something hurts too much, don’t hesitate to let the masseuse know so that they can gauge your level of pain. You may even consider establishing a ‘safe word’ prior to your session. No matter the pain, it won’t be as painful as having to sit through your next Uptraining session at work, learning things you already know.
Full Body Lymphatic Treatment
Enough about pain. Let’s ease up on the twisting and pulling and talk about a more gentle massage, like full body lymphatic treatment. Don’t be turned off by its medical sounding name. This treatment is just as soothing as the others.
It was a technique that was created and mastered in Germany for the purposes of treating lymphedema, an accumulation of fluid that can occur after surgery. For that reason, it is highly recommended for those with this condition.
It begins with a light massage on the neck. The gentle strokes move in the direction of the lymphatic system flow. This allows accumulated lymph fluid to drain through the right avenues. It can last anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes and afterwards, you’ll feel an improvement in your immune and nervous system.
We are all unique in that our bodies are complex machines that each require their own attention. Furthermore, some of us have more tolerance to pain than others. The wonderful thing about massage therapy is that there are so many different techniques; we’ve only scratched the surface.
Before you sign up for a massage, be sure you understand what you are getting yourself into. Because while massages are meant to help us, some of them may actually make our injuries worse. So do your research, schedule an appointment and melt your stress away today.