Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints to optimize health and wellbeing. Massage therapy treatment can have a therapeutic but also relaxing effect on our body and mind.
There is a large number of massage types as this industry is growing yearly but some of the massage techniques are ancient and track back in time. However, the oldest massage technique is the Swedish massage but today massage therapists combine many types of massage to treat and meet the needs and goals of their clientele in the best ways.
As many studies proved, massage therapy relieves pain, reduces stress, helps with anxiety and depression and contributes for relaxing purposes as well.
See below to learn more about massage therapy types, benefits and some few disadvantages you might come across when deciding to get a massage.
Some types of massage
This is a classic type of massage that is offered in most wellness centers, spas, clinics, and gyms. Sometimes Swedish massage therapy is synonymous with massage therapy. Swedish massage provides full-body muscle relaxation based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, and the therapist usually uses oil to massage your body. The therapists typically begin with broad general strokes while moving to more specific areas.
This type of massage is also referred to pregnancy massage and its goal is to promote relaxing feelings to expectant moms. Since women go through some changes during pregnancy, and they might suffer from back pain and swollen ankles, this type of massage helps as a reliever. For a safe treatment, opt for a licensed massage therapist. In addition, special tables are used for pregnant women to position their body comfortably. This type of massage may also help improve sleep during the night.
Although this type of massage is ancient, it was refined by American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram in the 1930s, according to Very Well. It is a specialized form of feet massage, during which you don’t have to get half naked as long as you remove your shoes and socks. It can be a beneficial massage, especially if you are on feet all day. The therapist uses fingers to put pressure on specific points of the feet and hands to promote relaxation in the whole body.
This is an ideal type of massage to help you reconnect with a close family member, a friend, or a romantic partner. The therapist will knead both of you as you’ree lying side by side. The typical massage technique that will be used is Swedish massage, but other types can also be combined. This type of massage usually has a romantic a.ka relaxing purpose, Groupon writes.
This type of massage is also known as yoga massage and is the most energizing massage from all the types. The client is fully clothed, and the therapist usually performs intense stretches on your body by moving you on different postures usually on a mat on the floor. It improves flexibility, the range of motion and can reduce stress. However, this type of massage can also relieve tense and stiff muscles and can be helpful in headache and back pain.
Aromatherapy is one of the most enjoyable and soothing experiences of massage therapy. The therapist usually uses essential oils while gently stroking your body. These oils are extracted from plants and are believed to have healing properties but they also promote relaxation. Aromatherapy is usually used for relaxing purposes but it also proved to help with insomnia, back pain, but a headache.
Massage Therapy Benefits and Disadvantages
1. It’s relaxing
Classic types of massage like Swedish technique, but other ones as well are proven to lower the production of the stress hormone (cortisol), thus helping us to feel relaxed. Moreover, massage therapy helps our body to release endorphins, the hormones that relieve pain and boost happiness. Therefore, a massage therapy session will not only make you feel more relaxed, but it may reduce fatigue and even improve your sleep during the night.
2. Improves posture
Most of the times the source of the pain that we feel in our body comes from poor posture habits. Massage therapy helps the body to get back to its proper position by loosening sore and tense muscles. Since people are working for long hours sitting on a chair nowadays, massage can be a great way to improve our body posture.
3. Reduces pain
Some of the message therapies are designed to identify the muscle pain in your body and then help to eliminate it. Sports massage, is specially designed for athletes to prepare them for better performances. However, treating sore muscles is not all that massage can do. According to different studies, massage therapy can reduce back and headache pain if done consistently.
4. Reduces stress and anxiety
Studies have found that massage therapy session helped people to reduce stress and lower anxiety levels. Various massage therapies have improved sleep in individuals, rejuvenated body energy and helped them achieve significant success in stress management.
5. Improves circulation
The hands-on pressure can move the blood through damaged areas of the body and lead to improved or proper circulation. In turn, the same pressure causes new blood to flow into tissues so that it can heal stiff and tense muscles. For such long term results, massage should be done consistently and regularly.
Disadvantages of massage therapy
Although massage therapy benefits outweigh its downsides like any other activity massage therapy has some disadvantages as well. Some of them are:
Massage therapy that is designed for healing or therapeutic purposes usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes. It might be time-consuming for people who are busy as you won’t be able to multitask during the massage therapy.
Another downside of massage therapy is that it costs a lot. Especially if you have to do it on regular basis. Health insurance usually doesn’t cover it and you may have to pay it from your own pocket.
In some types of massage therapies, the masseuse has to compress and intensely stoke your body. Since the pressure is high, it can leave you with unintentional bruises when you wake up the other day. However, make sure to freely communicate with the therapist any time you feel uncomfortable during the procedure.
From time to time – with the hectic life and sitting on a chair all day long – we all need a massage therapy and unofficially speaking, our body would really thank us.