The Right Massage for You
I was super tense and hours of computer work had hunched my back to Quasimodo status. I knew a massage would help, but with so many types available it was hard to choose the right one. After all, a good massage is more than just a backrub. So armed with a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of curiosity, I set out to experience the different massage styles for myself.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of a Swedish massage and although it didn't quite work out all the kinks, it did help reduce my stress level. By far the most popular of all the massage types, Swedish massage involves working the body using long, systematic strokes. These strokes warm up the tissue, loosen up tight muscles and offer a wonderfully relaxing experience. The gentle nature of a Swedish massage, as well as its non-invasive technique, makes this a great alternative for everyone, including those new to a massage or someone who just wants some light pampering.
There are times when a light touch just isn't enough. I needed someone to work deeply into my muscles so I tried a deep tissue massage. Like the Swedish massage, the masseuse works on the tissue with long strokes but uses very firm pressure working the fascia and the muscles underneath, relieving physical conditions such as back pain and sore muscles. I can say it did help loosen some of my tightness, but it wasn't nearly as pleasurable as a Swedish massage, and the pressure can be uncomfortable or even painful if a person is not used to it. However, the intense nature of this massage would make it ideal for athletes or those with a more muscular build.
Hot Stone Massage
A hot stone massage can be quite the treat, especially if your muscles are sore and in need of some attention. In a hot stone massage, smooth rocks are heated to a temperature of 120 to 140 degrees and are placed on specific areas of the body. The heat from the stones penetrate the skin with warmth, increasing blood flow and soothing aching muscles. I found the heat very soothing, however my body felt cold once they were removed. Still, the warmth penetrating into the skin was a wonderful experience and if you're looking for a different type of massage, a hot stone massage might be right up your alley.
Shaitsu is an ancient form of massage from Japan that focuses on restoring balance and increasing vital energy or "Qi". In a shiatsu massage, the masseuse works on acupressure points to release tension and trapped energy throughout the body. This involves kneading, tapping, stretching and applied pressure, and to get to these specific areas, the masseuse may use their hands, elbows, or even feet. I was fully clothed during the experience (which was nice) and I have to stay I stood up straighter afterwards and my tense muscles felt even better the next day.
Before getting any massage, it's important to sit down with the masseuse to discuss your specific needs and the areas you'd like focused on in order to receive the full benefits. Also, if you have any medical issues, it's best to consult with your doctor prior to receiving a massage. Whatever type of massage you choose, the right one will help you relax, unwind and feel better overall.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.