Having a massage can be classed as a personal treat, pampering if you like, however there is far more to it than that if you delve into the realm of health and wellness. The potential health benefits of massage therapy are actually incredible if you take into account this is all dealt with non-intrusively and there is no medication involved, though one has to take on the concept that our health relates to our whole self, body, mind and spirit. Once we learn to connect the dots the positive outcomes can really rise to the surface.
Most common benefits of massage therapy
- Stress relief
- Pain relief
- Reduction in toxins
- Improve sleep patterns
- Boost energy
- Improved memory
- Enhanced immune system
- Improved circulation
- Increase flexibility
- Reduce depression and anxiety
- Reduce inflammation and swelling
There are an incredible number of massage therapies out there and it can be an overwhelming decision as to which one is right for you and your purpose for heading in this direction. The following are the most available types of massage and information on them which may help you to make an informed choice.
Swedish massage therapy is the most widely known and popular full-body massage. People who are new to the concept of massage may appreciate this form due to it being relaxing and gentle. If you suffer from tension, minor aches and pains, stress, minor anxiety then this could be a good choice for you. A 60-90 minute session usually involving oils will hopefully leave you feeling relaxed yet energised. During a Swedish massage tense muscular areas can be relieved by using light-pressure kneading, long strokes in the direction of the heart, occasional light tapping, deep circular motions and gentle movement of the joints.
Indian Head Massage
Sometimes called ‘chair massage’ this is an excellent type for newcomers to the therapy. These massages can be performed anywhere, fully-clothed, and seated in a regular (but comfortable) chair. The focal points of the massage are head, neck and shoulders. This is a traditionally Ayurvedic treatment which is also reported to promote hair growth. Oils are optional as are not absolutely necessary to the treatment but also because you may want to fit one in between your working hours, which is entirely feasible with this type of treatment. Best suited to relieving stress, promoting relaxation while boosting energy, this light to medium pressure massage is perfect for a regular, quick fix as they can be completed in 10-30 minutes.
Deep tissue massage
Similar to the Swedish style of massage therapy, the deep tissue style treatment will involve more pressure from the fingers and deeper strokes to achieve the desired effect. The purpose of this type of massage is get to the more intense problems such as muscle pain (even chronic), soreness, minor injuries, and anxiety. A deep tissue massage focusses on exactly that, your deep tissue – the deepest layers of your muscles and connective tissue. A deep tissue massage generally lasts 60-90 minutes.
This type of massage therapy connects well to our emotional being as well as physical; if you feel there are elements of your reasoning towards healing that are emotional then this could be the type for you. Aromatherapy taps in to the psyche via touch combined with natural essential oils which can help to alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, give you an energy boost, make you feel lighter on your feet at the same time as reducing muscle tension and pains which may have been caused by stress. This will generally be a 60-90 minute full-body massage.
Hot stone massage
This is another relaxation-style massage therapy, where hot stones are placed directly on the body in order to relieve muscle tension, aches and pains. Also quite similar to the Swedish style method, this type of therapy uses the heated stones to manipulate the soft tissue by applying a gentle pressure whilst moving around the whole body and especially affected areas in sweeping and circular motions. The therapy also improves circulation and relieves stress and usually lasts around 90 minutes.
If you suffer from repeated injuries to the same area or are sports orientated and often suffer minor muscular injuries or strains then a sports massage is a good option. It can also help to prevent such injuries as it can help to increase performance and agility. Depending on your particular issues your therapist may focus on particular points on your body or a sports massage can be a full-body massage utilising deep pressure as well as relaxing strokes, usually these massages will last for 60-90 minutes.
Relaxing the blood vessels in the body can help the blood to flow more easily thus delivering oxygen and chemicals to the organs as well as removing waste and toxins throughout the body. Reflexology can help put the body into a deeply relaxing state so that healing and rebalancing can begin to take place. Reflexology is great for people looking to relax or restore their natural energy levels. It generally involves a range of pressure levels on different pressure points, predominantly on the feet but also the hands, and ears and can last anywhere from 30-90 minutes.
This is a traditional Japanese massage therapy designed to promote both physical and emotional calm by relieving stress, aches, pains and tension. Stress, anxiety and depression can take a back seat after this type of massage and can be greatly reduced over time and multiple sessions. The focal point during Shiatsu is the whole body, as well as any specific areas that may need attention, but intensified at certain points using pulsing or rhythmic pressure. Shiatsu typically lasts for 60–90 minutes.
A slightly more active and intense massage with the intention to relieve pain, stress, and tension. On top of this it can increase and promote flexibility, blood circulation, and boost energy. Thai massage works on stretching out your entire body as well as using firm pressure via the hands. Generally lasting from 60-90 minutes this ancient healing system combines acupressure, stimulation and manipulation of our energy lines or meridians, and assisted yoga postures by way of stretching, kneading and pulling your body. Rather than muscle manipulation the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked. Practitioners of Thai massage ought to have good experience as this is an intense treatment which requires deep knowledge. Treatment effects are enhanced when the patient is fully relaxed and breathing deeply.
I personally recommend trying them all, see how you feel and attempt to incorporate your favourites into your personal healthcare regime. You’ll feel better!
Online Holistic Massage Therapy Course
Our course is open to both ‘practicing therapists’ and individuals who have an interest to learn this skill. This in-depth course will lead you step-by-step through the treatment sequence and teach you everything you need to know in order to become a professional in the field.
You might wonder how you can complete a hands-on physical therapy like massage with an online course…well, there is a link in our course material to an instructional massage video which demonstrates all the practical massage techniques that you need to learn presented by a professional therapist.