When you think of massage, you probably think of relaxation and luxury. After all, not everyone can have the extra money and time to go to a massage therapist and get one on a whim. What a lot of people don’t know is that massage actually has more benefits than simple pleasure and relaxation – it actually brings a lot of health benefits that can improve your overall well-being, too.
There are several types of massage performed by different certified therapists and it’s always ideal to understand what they entail so you know what you’re getting. To understand the most popular types of massages, here is a list of 5 of them:
1. Swedish Massage
The most popular and most relaxing of all massages, Swedish massage incorporates the use of long and flowing strokes on the back of your body, mostly in the direction of your heart. It also involves kneading strokes, as well as circular movements to invoke a deep sense of relaxation.
This massage can help to lower levels of stress, promote circulation, and can even help with pain management.
Tiffany Field, the director of the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute has done over 100 studies on the medicinal benefits of massage but many doctors remain skeptical. They often ask how a nontraditional form of medicine like massage can be medicinal when it is plain pleasurable? However, in Field’s research, results have always shown statistically significant data on massage, which is what science accepts as research.
Swedish massage is a great example of an alternative form of medicine that’s pleasurable and improves health.
2. Thai Massage
This type of massage incorporates yoga-like stretches with the therapist pulling your body in different directions. This includes pulling fingers, toes, and ears, cracking your knuckles, and walking on your back. This massage is especially beneficial for those with muscle aches and joint problems.
Thai massage can help improve your flexibility and loosen joints, as well as to increase your energy levels and overall health.
The main premise of reflexology is that your feet and hands have points that are associated with your internal organs. Thus, this ancient Chinese practice applies pressure on these points to open up energy flows and release blockage that causes distress to your organs.
If you try this massage for the first time, it can be painful as therapists often use tools to apply stronger pressure on your feet, fingers, and palm. After a few rubs, you’ll find that pressure on the area won’t hurt as much anymore – said to be proof that the blockage has been opened and release of the toxins has occurred.
4. Tantric Massage
One of the fastest growing types of massages today, tantric massage is taught to couples who want to reawaken their senses. It’s a whole body massage that fosters emotional and physical healing.
There may be different kinds of massages for every session but an example would be running your fingertips across your partner’s back to stimulate a feeling of intimacy and trust.
The therapist’s job is to awaken the seven chakras of the body and soul and when awakened can produce a deep bond and unity for lovers.
5. Shiatsu Massage
Originating from Japan, it revolves around the same premise of reflexology but using acupuncture points on the body. And instead of needles, this massage uses the fingers and thumbs to apply pressure on these points.
Stretching, rolling, and grasping are also incorporated and mostly done on the back, legs, and feet.
Shiatsu massage is said to be good for lowering levels of stress and rejuvenation of the body. It can also improve overall health by fixing energy imbalances.
Massage is increasingly known to foster good physical and emotional health. According to an American Hospital Association survey in 2003, massage is actually the most common nontraditional form of therapy in hospitals in the US. Studies have shown massage to be very beneficial in the speedy recovery of patients from surgery and helps to alleviate symptoms of pain with cancer patients.
Though there has only been a small number of scientific studies that provide evidence of the many health benefits of massage, the proliferation and the significant results in people’s healths for many years show that if you want to relieve stress, pain, and improve your overall health, massage is a simple and accessible solution.
photo credit: Flickr.com (Witches Falls Cottages)
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