Types of Massage
Sometimes it can be confusing – you know you’re stressed and everybody tells you that you need a good massage, but what type of massage should you get? There are so many options available, how do you know which one will suit you?
That’s where your friendly massage therapist comes in – if you’re not sure, just call or drop in for a chat and we can help you find the perfect technique and style for your needs. If it’s your first massage, too, we can put you at ease and make sure you know exactly what to expect.
In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on some of the different types of massage and what they can do for you.
This is one of the most popular massages – it’s sometimes called the ‘relaxation massage’ which is a clue; it’s absolutely great for getting rid of stress and anxiety. It’s also a good one to try if you’re new to massage as it doesn’t work too deeply into your muscles and the techniques we use are all designed to relax and de-stress.
So what can you expect? Well, we use long, flowing strokes all over your body, combined with kneading, tapping and circular motions. We’ll also use oils or lotions to make the massage smoother, and feel great for you. If you’ve got tight muscles, aches and pains, we can increase the pressure where you need it more. Swedish massage is helpful if you’re experiencing pain from conditions like sciatica and arthritis, and it can also give your circulation a boost as all the techniques are designed to help get blood pumping around your body.
Hot Stone Massage
This is a supremely relaxing massage where the therapist uses specially designed warmed stones to increase its effects. This one is designed for pure relaxation and is an indulgent treatment that’s also great for first-timers. While you’re enjoying your massage, we carefully place the smooth, heated stones on different areas of your body. Sometimes they are also used as part of the massage to help get deeper into any troublesome areas; the heat from the stones helps loosen the muscles even more. This one will leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
Thai massages can be like a mini-workout so they are best for people who have had massages in the past but want to try something
different! Thai massage is an incredibly effective, energizing treatment where your therapist will use techniques like deep stretching, acupressure and yoga style positions to give you a really intense massage. Thai massage is really good for you if you have a lot of muscle tension, posture problems, or headaches caused by bad posture. It can feel a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt. Always tell your therapist if the pressure is too much, or if you’d like more.
Reflexology is so much more than just a foot massage. It’s based on a holistic therapy which teaches that there are pressure points on your feet which correspond to different areas of your body, and if there’s something out of balance in your body, working on the area of your foot that relates to it can help to relieve the symptoms. It’s also very calming. When you have a reflexology treatment, your therapist will work on these different pressure points, paying attention to any where she feels a blockage. Even if you normally squirm when your feet are touched, the specific techniques and pressure we use are really relaxing and most people say they find reflexology enjoyable.
Deep Tissue Massage
This is more of a remedial massage than a relaxing one; ideal for anyone who does a lot of sport or has very tight muscles. It can feel uncomfortable as your therapist will work deeply into your muscles and connective tissues to release any tension in them. It can feel slightly painful although people tend to describe it as a ‘good hurt’ – and you may feel a bit of soreness afterwards, especially if it’s your first deep tissue massage. Most people agree that it’s worth it as you’ll feel amazing afterwards!
Many massage therapy clients suffer from either acute or chronic conditions that affect the lymphatic drainage system where normal massage techniques are not suitable or ineffective. These conditions are therefore more appropriately addressed with manual lymph drainage than regular massage.
Clients who respond very favorably to manual lymph drainage include those with post-traumatic and post surgical swelling, also known as edema. Swelling from a soft-tissue injury causes significant discomfort and pain and slows the healing process. Manual lymph drainage addresses this painful swelling and significantly reduces overall healing time.
Post-surgical clients who can benefit from manual lymph drainage massage include those recovering from cosmetic surgeries such as face-lifts, breast augmentation, and liposuction and orthopedic surgeries such as joint repair or replacement. Manual lymph drainage massage is incredibly effective in reducing swelling even before appropriate muscle movement and function can be restored.
Reduction in swelling is not the only benefit this technique provides. According to a 1989 study, “Experimental and clinical studies of the mechanism of effect of manual lymph drainage massage therapy,” in the German publication Zeitschrift fur Lymphologie (Journal of Lymphology), manual lymph drainage improves lymph flow; since waste elimination is an essential function of the lymphatic system, it follows that improved lymph flow helps eliminate waste products and inflammatory mediators from injured tissue. This leads to less pain, reduced scar tissue formation and faster healing overall.
Manual lymph drainage massage is also very effective in a variety of autoimmune disorders where regular massage can be contraindicated, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. The most significant benefits of manual lymph drainage massage for these clients are a decrease in hypersensitivity and pain, as indicated in the study “Comparison of MLD Therapy and Connective Tissue Massage in Women with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” National University of Health Sciences, Turkey, 2009; a decrease in tissue congestion and inflammatory mediators; and increased range of motion. In addition, in many of these clients, manual lymph drainage promotes a more restful sleep pattern and less overall fatigue.
Manual lymph drainage massage also assists with stimulating the parasympathetic response in the body, so it’s indicated in situations where the nervous system has been compromised, such as with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. These clients will benefit from general stress reduction, detoxification and enhanced immune function.
Over the last decade, manual lymph drainage has come to be recognized for its profound benefits to oncology clients immediately after surgery and later during their ongoing recovery period. MLD reduces edema, helps control pain, relieves constipation caused by pain medications, provides general relaxation, reduces stress and improves sleep. Due to the complexity of treatment and care for oncology patients, massage therapists may need to coordinate with their client’s physician.
Oncology clients who have undergone lymph node removal as part of their cancer treatment often develop a very specific swelling called lymph edema caused by localized damage to the lymphatic circulatory system. While a manual lymph drainage practitioner is able to address simple, medically uncomplicated lymph edema, more complex clients—especially those with additional medical issues—should be referred to a physician or certified lymph edema specialist..