There is massage at work, massages designed to reduce stress, those that help relax muscles, soothing massages and deep tissue massages. It is great to have so much choice but do you ever get confused which one to choose?!
A good massage can offer many health benefits and can provide physiological and psychological benefits. There are over 80 different massages styles. The following guide has been put together to help you navigate through some of the more common massages and what they are designed to achieve.
Massages for relaxation and stress relief
To sooth and comfort, generally promotes feelings of relaxation and stress reduction
Swedish or Holistic massage
A common type of massage, Swedish massage uses long and sweeping strokes at the start and end of the massage. There is kneading and rolling to work on the muscles, and friction. Pressure is sometimes applied to a particular spot using thumbs, fingertips or knuckles. You’ll find the therapist using rhythmic tapping, pounding or patting to revitalise sore and tired muscles.
Best for: People new to massage. Those who are feeling stressed and need relief and relaxation. Anyone that needs to improve their circulation.
Chair massages involve sitting face forward in a chair. The massage therapist will mostly work on the neck, shoulders and back. They can also work on the arms, head and legs too. No clothes need to be removed and they can be done when there is slightly less time. The chair massage can really get the tension out of your upper body. It is a very effective treatment and is often used for massage at work.
Best for: At work when time is limited. For those that are stressed and need a quick pick-me-up. When you don’t want to have to take your clothes off or get oil on your skin.
Foot massage or reflexology is based on the theory that specific areas on the feet are reflexes to other parts of the body, including internal organs. The reflexes are stimulated using thumbs and fingers. Reflexology can also be performed on other reflex points on hands and ears.
Best for: Getting the great benefits of a massage when you can’t have a full body massage. Those who are limited for time, another great massage at work option.
Massages for treating pain and specific conditions
For when you have knotted muscles and more specific ailments to be worked on.
Deep tissue massage
This massage applies deep pressure onto areas that are causing particular trouble. The therapist uses knuckles and elbows to get deep into the tissue. Deep tissue massage can be incorporated into Swedish massage and chair massage, at a spa or for massage at work.
Best for: This massage is good for anyone who may need work on a particular muscle, or for aiding the breakdown process of scar tissue.
Trigger point massage
Like deep tissue, trigger point massage focuses on specific areas of the body, particularly muscle tissue that may be causing pain in other parts of the body. For example a tight muscle in the neck could cause pains or aches in the head. The problem muscle is pinpointed and then cycles of isolated pressure and release are used to help relaxation. Massage therapists may use trigger point massage techniques in the Swedish, Chair or Deep Tissue massage delivery.
Best for: Naturally managing pain and stress from chronic injuries.
Massage for overall health and rejuvenation
These massages are specifically designed to give an energy boost.
Designed for the physically active, it combines Swedish, Shiatsu and other techniques to concentrate on areas required for sports activity. Athletes often get sports massages to prepare for an activity and help prevent injury, as well as treating injuries from sports. Benefits include physical effects – circulating blood and lymphatic fluids, as well as stretching muscle tissue and breaking down scar tissue.
Best for: Best for athletes and improving peak performance.
Shiatsu means finger pressure and is an ancient technique from Japan. It combines gentle stretches and finger pressure to work on different pressure points and fix imbalances of energy flow in the body. It can calm the sympathetic nervous system, improve circulation, relieve stiff muscles and alleviate stress.
Best for: This massage requires you to stay clothed and is best for treating ailments such as headaches, back pain and lack of energy