Written by Lisa Allen, MD
Raise your hand if a massage sounds like a touch of heaven right about now. Who wouldn’t have her hand up in the air? It is true that massage can be one of the most effective methods of relaxation, stress reduction, and even healing of the mind and body.
But which type of massage will work best in various circumstances? There are many different massage therapies available, and it will benefit you to understand the differences between them before you make an appointment with a massage therapist.
Swedish massage is probably the most common type of massage in the western part of the world. When you receive a Swedish massage, you will generally lie on a massage table, with a towel covering the areas of your body that are not receiving treatment. Massage oil is often used to reduce the friction and allow the therapist’s hands to glide smoothly over the muscles of your back. The massage consists of long, smooth strokes, and gentle kneading motions. This type of massage is rarely uncomfortable, and is almost always a relaxing experience.
It is most effective in eliminating tension, decreasing stress and relieving minor aches and pains.
Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage is not as relaxing as a Swedish massage, and can actually be a bit uncomfortable during the treatment and for a couple of days afterward. Deep tissue massage will move beyond the surface muscle layers that the Swedish massage addresses, to work the deeper layers of muscle and tissue.
This type of massage can be highly effective for those with deep, chronic muscle tension or pain from repetitive motions. This is also often the massage of choice for those who suffer from postural problems that can lead to discomfort and even pain. If you have issues with recurring tension headaches or pain from a repetitive motion of one type or another, deep tissue massage may be the right treatment for you.
Hot Stone Massage
Although this type of massage has been used for centuries, it has only recently come into vogue in the
United States and other western cultures. When you receive a hot stone massage, you will lie down on the massage table, and your therapist will smooth massage oil across your back to allow the stones to move easily. Each stone that is used will be absolutely smooth and flat, and will be heated before it is placed on your back. Your massage therapist will hold the stone first to ensure that it is not too hot for your skin. These massages can be quite relaxing, and are good for those suffering from tension, stress or minor pain.
A massage treatment can be a wonderful method for alleviating stress and tension, and reducing chronic pain. Selecting the right massage for you will ensure that you receive maximum benefit from your treatment time.