When you think of getting a massage, you probably think of quiet music, fragrant oils, and tranquil lighting. You might also think that massages are purely an indulgence and serve no purpose other than relaxation.
But like all holistic medical practices, there’s much more to massages than meets the eye. Massages are an excellent remedy for many body ailments, and there are numerous techniques used depending on the need.
Read on for the top 10 types of massage and when you may find yourself in need of one.
1. Swedish Massage
A Swedish massage is perhaps the most well-known type of massage, ideal for a first-time experience. The Swedish massage technique involves using long strokes, kneading, and gliding with light to firm pressure to ensure total body relaxation.
Book a Swedish massage if you’re simply testing the waters of massage therapy, looking to reduce tension, or have no glaring issues to address.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
A step above a Swedish massage, the deep tissue massage uses more pressure and is aimed at releasing toxins built up in your muscles and blood. If you have muscle soreness, tightness, trigger points, or injury, the slow strokes and deep finger pressure reach the deepest layers of your muscles and tissue to relieve chronic pain.
If you’re in the light to medium pressure camp when it comes to a massage, a deep tissue massage can be too intense for you.
3. Aromatherapy Massage
If essential oils are a passion of yours, you’ll love an aromatherapy massage. Your massage therapist will use an essential oil diffuser and diluted essential oils on their hands so your skin can absorb the oils.
An aromatherapy massage can help boost your mood while easing your tension. Your massage therapist can suggest certain oils based on how you’re feeling, but be sure to let them know your favorites or any you might be allergic to.
4. Hot Stone Massage
A hot stone massage is another gentle massage to ease mental and physical tension. Much like a Swedish massage, it uses gentle pressure. But instead of just using their hands, your therapist will also use heated stones made of volcanic rock to help improve blood flow.
The stones are typically placed along your spine, feet, face, palms, and stomach. Cold stones may be used toward the end of the massage to soothe your skin.
A hot stone massage can also help ease chronic pain from arthritis or fibromyalgia.
5. Shiatsu Massage
Originating in ancient Japan, the Shiatsu massage uses fingertip pressure for pain relief. Freeing blockages to your natural energy flow, or Qi, is the primary goal of a Shiatsu massage.
Your therapist might use their knuckles and elbow in addition to fingertips to loosen your muscles, improve your circulation, and restore your energy.
Shiatsu massage can positively impact your nervous system, digestion, insomnia, and headaches.
6. Sports Massage
You don’t have to be an athlete to get a sports massage. A sports massage is good for people suffering from chronic pain in specific muscles due to repetitive or continued use, as well as multiple injuries.
If your job requires walking and standing for eight hours a day and lifting heavy objects, you might not necessarily be an athlete, but you could still have chronic injuries to a specific area.
A sports massage uses deep pressure and soothing strokes on targeted areas to heal overuse and increase performance.
7. Prenatal Massage
A prenatal massage helps release tension by the increased weight of a growing baby, can reduce mom’s blood pressure, and aids in flexibility for the impending birth.
You’ll lie on your side or on a specially designed table with a hole in the middle. Your massage therapist will avoid massaging your abdomen, hands, and feet because of various trigger points.
8. Chair Massage
If your neck and upper back are the primary sources of tension in your body, a chair massage is a great fit. These mini massages are done in a specially designed chair with your chest facing into the back and your head placed in a typical massage table hole.
For those who sit at a desk most of the day, a chair massage can help alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by hunching over a desk and looking down at screens or keyboards.
A reflexology massage focuses on pressure points in your feet, hands, and ears. This type of massage is good for anyone who is not comfortable being touched across their entire body.
It’s believed that these pressure points—when properly massaged—aid in the functioning of vital organs. Reflexology massage can improve circulation and nerve functions, reduce headaches, and boost your energy.
10. Lymphatic Massage
The lymphatic system is your body’s purifying system, and it’s crucial to your everyday health that it functions normally. A lymphatic massage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage, is a gentle massage to relieve swelling from your tissues retaining fluid.
This buildup of fluid can come from a recent surgery or medical conditions. Your massage therapist will use light pressure and will begin the massage away from your most affected area.
You should always consult your doctor to see if a lymphatic massage is the right choice for you.
Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care Work Together
Massage therapy is a tool we use at Oviedo Chiropractic to ensure the best and most personalized care for each of our clients. Our medical massage therapies include deep tissue massage, vacuum cupping, and more.