The 14 Best Types of Massage Therapy
Different types of massage therapy
Did you ever have a massage but didn’t get what you expected? It was too deep or it was too light for you?
Massages are not something you experience every day, and when you decide to try it you want it to be an amazing experience. Especially when you make a spa gift certificate to someone who never had a massage.
So many types of massage and you have to choose only one. It can be tough.
First choose a type of massage from one of the following categories.
Massages that treat – They are painful and you may feel sore the next day, but they have a therapeutic effect on your body and a few days later you will feel much better.
Massages that relax – They relax your body and mind so much that you can even fall asleep during the massage. This type of massage is enjoyable and is great for those who want to try massage for the first time.
Here are 14 types of massage to be aware of when choosing the best massage.
1. Swedish massage
If you never had a massage before I would recommend to start with Swedish massage.
By far Swedish massage is the most popular form of massage.
Generically Swedish massage is often referred to as “relaxation massage”. A Swedish massage requires you to be unclothed because massage lotion or oil is applied on your body to minimize friction. Swedish massage is performed on a massage table.
The parts of the body that the therapist is not working on are covered with sheets.
Swedish massage is the best introductory technique for those who never had massage, because it doesn’t involve deep pressure and it’s a soothing form of bodywork.
2. Shiatsu massage
Shiatsu – all you have to do is press.
Shiatsu is a simplistic massage style.
It is performed on a mat on the floor and the patient is fully clothed as no oil is used.
The main technique in shiatsu is applying pressure using fingers, thumbs, elbows and knees to the acupoints which are situated along the meridians of your body. Each point is held for 2 to 8 seconds to improve the flow of chi and help the body regain balance.
The therapist uses his own body weight to apply pressure, so it can be quite deep in many places. Though the pressure is firm, there is usually no soreness after shiatsu.
3. Thai massage
Just like shiatsu thai massage is a simplistic massage style. The patient is fully clothed and oil is not used. The treatment is performed on a mat on the floor, because the therapist will have to change your position very often.
If you think you’ll lie calmly and relaxed during thai massage, you are wrong. Thai massage is one of the most dynamic form of massage.
The massage therapist will move your body quite a lot, positioning it into different stretching poses which are very much alike the yoga poses.
After thai massage you’ll feel like after a yoga class.
Besides the stretching there is also keen attention to acupressure points. It also includes compression of muscles and mobilization of joints.
4. Hot stone massage
Hot stone massage is one of the most relaxing forms of massage therapy, but it’s less therapeutic than Swedish massage, for example. The massage therapist is not able to feel how the muscles are reacting to the pressure.
Smooth warmed basalt stones are heated and are massaged over the body. The stones are placed on shoulders and on back muscles to increase circulation and promote relaxation.
Hot stones are quite soothing and relaxing, as they transmit heat deep into the body and loosen tight muscles and balances the energy centers in the body.
Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension but prefer lighter massage.
5. Lymphatic massage
Lymphatic massage aims to stimulate the body’s lymphatic system by applying light, gentle, repetitive strokes.
A healthy lymph system requires that muscle cells are able to contract smoothly in the walls of lymph vessels so that muscles can shepherd lymphatic fluid through the vessels, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body.
Lymphatic massage isn’t a good fit for those looking for a more intense, hard-pressured massage. Instead, it is excellent for those who want to detoxify their body or reduce the swelling post injury or surgery.
6. Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is another popular form of bodywork.
In the majority of cases people feel discomfort or pain during deep tissue massage. It’s ok to feel soreness or swelling in the regions that were massaged after a deep tissue massage. It should subside within a day or so.
Deep tissue is best to apply on certain painful and stiff regions on your body. The massage therapist applies slow, deliberate strokes that focus pressure on specific layers of muscles, tendons, or other tissues deep under your skin.
Though less rhythmic than other types of massage, deep tissue massage can be quite therapeutic — relieving chronic patterns of tension and helping with muscle injuries, such as back pain.
According to reflexology, all the organs of the body are mapped on the feet, hands or ears. Applying finger pressure on certain points it links to various internal organs and promotes healing.
Reflexology can also be performed on the reflex points on your hands and ears.
It can be a perfect therapy for those who spend long hours on their feet.
8. Sports massage
Sports massage is not designed for relaxation purpose. It is firstly designed for people who are involved in physical activity, especially athletes.
Sports massage uses a variety of approaches to help athletes in training before and in between events during an athletic competition to warm and loosen their muscle. After the competition it may help to facilitate recover and rehabilitate injuries.
Many athletes receive regular massage to help optimize performance by improving flexibility, increasing range of motion and improving muscle balance.
The main focus is on enhancing athletic performance.
9. Aromatherapy massage
In aromatherapy massage essential oils are incorporated into the oil that is massaged into your skin.
Single or mixed essential oils are used in aromatherapy massage to address specific needs. To achieve better therapeutic results the massage therapists usually uses a mixture of essential oils for the treatment.
Aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to stress-related conditions with an emotional component.
10. Lomi lomi
Lomi lomi is a Hawaiian form of massage and has many similarities with Swedish massage. It’s a very relaxing type of massage.
During the lomi lomi session the therapist is repeating a prayer which means that there is no conversation between the therapist and the patient.
The important part of this bodywork is that the practitioner focuses on the client using loving hands and loving heart. Lomi lomi facilitates healing on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels and it views all these aspects of the body as one.
In lomi lomi massage the person lies directly on the vinyl of the table and not on a towel, and rather than being covered completely by towels, is covered by a small sheet or towel leaving most of the body exposed during the massage.
Rolfing is painful. It’s tough to go to these sessions.
Rolfing is an uncomfortable deep massage. Many patients report soreness in muscles and joints after rolfing, but it’s truly a massage therapy technique that is highly recommended to any chronic pain sufferer.
The theory behind rolfing is that the body’s aches and pains arose from basic imbalances in posture and ailment, which were created and reinforced over time by gravity.
For example, our modern sedentary lifestyle has resulted in poor posture and the body’s muscles develop patterns of unnatural contractions. Rolfing aims to restructure and realign the body with it’s center of gravity and with the earth.
12. Cupping therapy
Cupping is a great alternative for those who don’t enjoy massage. In massage the therapist pushes the layers of the tissue in, while in cupping massage the tissues are sucked out.
The therapist uses oil on your back to facilitate a better slide of the cups on the body. The therapist creates vacuum inside the cup and puts them on the back of the patient. The therapist slowly moves the cups along the meridians on the back facilitating blood flow and getting some fresh oxygenated blood to the area.
If you need a deeper kind of massage, try ashiatsu.
In ashiatsu the massage therapist literally is walking on your back and uses bars to support himself and vary pressure and weight.
This technique uses the principles of shiatsu, but the technique is performed barefoot on the back on the recipient’s body.
14. Ayurvedic massage
Ayurvedic body massage uses warmed oil and applies continuous strokes and techniques, which is very relaxing. But that’s not all.
Before the massage is necessary to take a hot shower to soften and loosen the skin. After an hour of massage the client takes a hot shower to wash up the oil, following a steam bath for around 10-15 minutes and returns to the massage bed where the therapist applies a warm herbal scrub on the body. The client lies still for 10 minutes while the scrub exfoliates and becomes absorbed by the skin. Once the scrub is dry the client takes a hot shower to remove the scrub.
You may feel sleepy and weak and will certainly be slowed down a great deal.
This article comes from MassageDreams
Lymphatic drainage: The Secret to Self Body Healing
by Ion 7 Comments
Lymphatic drainage system
Your family and job responsibilities makes you so busy that at the end of the day you fall in a couch with swelling legs, stressed and fatigued.
You consider these health issues as minor problems. You don’t have time to stress about that, and you hope they won’t turn into bigger health problems.
It’s like living in a city where you are terrified to use the subway, or being mugged outside your apartment, and an overwhelming tide of junkies.
Every time you go out, you are at risk to becoming a victim of a crime. Still you let your kids go to school and you go to your job. You know it’s dangerous, but you hope police will provide you with the security. But what if it doesn’t?
You have no security, and you move to a safer city.
Your health system works exactly the same. If you don’t pay necessary attention to it, expect unwanted surprises.
The secret weapon
The minor aches and pains, low energy or susceptibility to colds and flu is due to sluggish immune system.
There is a system inside your body that filters out and destroys toxins, bacteria, viruses, germs and passes them through the regional lymph nodes, where this fluid is filtered, purified and concentrated. It defends the body from illnesses and diseases. The lymphatic system.
What is lymphatic system?
Capt. Ajit Vadakayil wrote a wonderful post about how lymphatic system works Yoga and Ayurvedic Massage for Draining.
The lymphatic system in your body is a series of connected nodes, ducts and organs that play a vital part in your immune system.
The human arteries are like a two-lane highway bringing nutrients, oxygen and fluid to the body part. The vein is a one-lane highway taking away the used blood, and the lymphatic channels are the other one-lane highway draining away the lymph fluid.
Two lanes in together, but two out lanes separate out. Blood is responsible for collecting and distributing oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the entire body where lymph is responsible for collecting and removing waste products left behind in the tissues. Plasma leaks out of the capillaries to surround and bathe the body tissues. This then drains into the lymph vessels.
So colourless lymph is essentially recycled blood plasma. The biggest lymph vessel is the thoracic duct, which empties back into the blood circulation. At the cellular level, the lymphatic system is a pathway through which fluid flows from the intercellular spaces into the blood.
The lymphatic system has vessels just like our circulatory system, but does not have a pump like the heart for the circulatory system. In order to clear the “lymph” (the clear extra cellular fluid that is collected by the lymphatic vessels and filtered by the lymph nodes), the lymphatic system must be pumped manually.
What is lymph
Lymph is a clear fluid that travels through your body’s arteries, circulates through your tissues to cleanse them and keep them firm, and then drains away through the separate lymphatic system.
So lymph is basically the fluid and protein ( plasma ) that has been squeezed out of the blood. The lymph is drained from the tissue in microscopic blind-ended vessels called lymph capillaries.
What is lymph node
Lymph nodes are the filters along the lymphatic system. Their job is to filter out and trap bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, and other unwanted substances, and to make sure they are safely eliminated from the body.
Blood nourishes the cells with nutrients, oxygen and proteins. In case there are too many proteins within interstitial spaces, fluid will start to accumulate, causing edema. The lymphatic drainage removes proteins and keeps edema down.
Since there is no pump for the lymph to drive through the system it relies on the contraction of smooth muscles tissue lining the walls of lymph vessels.
So, you have to be more physically active not because you want to look good, but because you want to be healthy.
Movement is life
There are basically two ways to drain the lymph through the lymphatic system.
1. Sport for better lymphatic drainage
If you have a sedentary lifestyle than your major concern is becoming obese. You are obsessed with fitness and exercises because you have to get in shape.
You exercise as a way to lose weight and be accepted in the society. Social and psychological benefits motivate you instead of your personal health. Did you notice that?
And here is the trick.
Following this logic, if you have a body weight that is average for your size, then you don’t need to exercise. You don’t associate exercises with immune function, cell metabolism, or disease prevention.
Exercising has evolved as a chore, something that is not enjoyable but must be done, rather than a lifestyle.
Concerning the lymphatic system, exercising is more important than you think. Your body is very dependent on muscle contraction and expansion for the circulation of nutrient-containing fluids throughout your body.
In case you can’t think of any suitable sport to practice you can sit on a washing machine. It vibrates the whole body and that’s the equivalent to helping with the lymph drainage. (Joking)
2. Lymphatic drainage massage
In case of lymph drainage massage you will be surprised by the light pressure the therapist will apply with his hands. You might wonder if that is helpful.
As the lymphatic system is located directly beneath the skin the therapist will apply extremely light circular pumping movements to stimulate the lymph flow.
Lymphedema specialist Joachim Zuther in his article The Science behind Manual Lymph Drainage in the Treatment of Lymphedema says:
Compared to traditional massage, the pressure applied with manual lymph drainage is much lower in intensity. The goal of these techniques is to manipulate the lymphatic structures located in the subcutaneous tissues. In order to achieve the desired effect, the pressure in the working phase should be sufficient enough to stretch the subcutaneous tissues against the fascia (a structure separating the skin from the muscle layer) located underneath, but not to manipulate the underlying muscle tissue. The amount of pressure needed in MLD is sometimes described as the pressure applied stroking a newborn’s head.
This stuff is hard, people
If you treat yourself with pills, opt for a quick relief instead of treating the root of the problem and think you are in a perfect healthy condition.
You are wrong.
Every pill has side-effects.
In the end you have to take responsibility for the way you live. Your health is the mirror of what you eat, what you do and what you think.
On this path we wrestle not with problems in our way, but with ourselves. Physical strength, stable sleeping schedule and healthy nutrition – are the building blocks of an unshakeable health, and if you want to understand it, you have to change your “quick relief” habits.
It’s a great achievement, one that’ll challenge you your entire life. Assuming you’re willing to try, of course.
Most people won’t.
They’ll feel virtuous and think, “Oh, I really should pay closer attention to what I eat and how much I move”. And maybe they’ll start exercising for a week or two, but they’ll give up. Because it’s hard. It’s boring.
I really hope you are different. I’m hoping that one day you’ll run and jump like a happy child who doesn’t remember last time you were sick.
The world needs more examples of that.
Will you be one?
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Thai Massage Helps Stroke Patients
A study undertaken at the University of Newcastle, Australia, on the therapeutic effects of Thai Massage amongst stroke patients in Northern Thailand has shown "significant" improvement after one month and three months of treatment.
The improvements came in the levels of pain, emotion and sleep levels amongst patients.
The researchers added herbal treatments and physical therapies to the Thai massage programme and the research looked at 62 patients (55% men: 45% women; average age 59: average time since the initial stroke was 15 months).
One of the authors explained:
"This unique stroke rehabilitation program has produced significant improvements in activities of daily living, mood, pain and sleep patterns of stroke patients. These findings warrant the need for further research to compare patients undergoing this program of rehabilitation with patients undergoing more conventional rehabilitation programs."
Investigators recently set out to determine quantitatively if a rehabilitation program using traditional Thai massage, herbal treatments and physical therapies could improve activities of daily living, mood and sleep patterns, and pain intensity of stroke patients over time.
This was a prospective cohort study, conducted over a three-month period, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov. Patients were recruited from a 42-bed rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand, which admits mainly stroke, head-injury and spinal patients for rehabilitation.
There were 62 patients enrolled in the study, with 55 percent being male, according to the abstract. The average age of patients was 59 years. The average time since the initial stroke was 15 months.
Among the results seen were "significant" improvement after one
month and three months in pain, emotion and sleep levels.
"This unique stroke rehabilitation program has produced significant improvements in activities of daily living, mood, pain and sleep patterns of stroke patients," the abstract noted. "These findings warrant the need for further research to compare patients undergoing this program of rehabilitation with patients undergoing more conventional rehabilitation programs."
"Rehabilitation of stroke patients using traditional Thai massage, herbal treatments and physical therapies" was conducted by investigators at the School of Medicine and Public Health, at the Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, in Australia.
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Are Massages Worth Your Time?
Mother nature has given you all you need to feel well, but after a while it needs your help
Over the years many people come to healers and massage therapists after they were announced the verdict that they need to undergo a surgery. They literally say “Save me!”
I have no doubt that you understand how important massages are, but you place them the last on your to-do list, and you never do it. Until an illness hits you and you can’t move or sleep well because the pain doesn’t let you.
I’ve asked these people how you should tackle massages, acupuncture, cupping therapy and other alternative practices. Are these practices a way of treating us when we already got sick, or they are a way of strengthening health and preventing diseases?
I’m glad I asked because collectively they give some great insight below.
Scott A. Gould LMT from Hand Over Hand Massage & Wellness
When someone looks at the information presented about massage therapy and other modalities in the field of complementary and alternative medicine, a long list of the benefits will inevitably be found. For example, massage therapy can act as a pain reliever while increasing mobility and helping to break up excessive scar tissue. While these benefits are proven true, how the information should be used comes into question. Should the benefits of alternative medicine and massage therapy be sought out as a form of treatment for a condition or to prevent that condition from occurring?
So far, most of the injuries and conditions that I have worked with are not traumatic. That is, most of them are chronic conditions or conditions brought on by overuse and repetitive motion. While massage therapy can definitely help in the recovery process, it can quite often be a slow and painful process. In most instances, I am sure that massage therapy may have prevented a person from experiencing this turmoil in the first place. People should definitely seek out the benefits of massage and alternative medicine as a form of prevention whenever possible. The benefits of massage as form of treatment for illness, injury, and disease are great. I think, though, preventing these from happening is even better.
Abram Herman, Social Media Coordinator at ABMP
I believe that massage has a place as both a preventative and a treatment-oriented therapy. When my body is angry at me from overdoing it, massage is the most effective way I’ve found to get back to feeling 100%. There is nothing better than getting all of your knots and soreness worked out by a professional massage therapist.
At the same time, I don’t skip my massage appointments just because my body is feeling good that day—therapeutic touch does wonders for mental health as well, and a stress-free, relaxed person will be better able to cope with damage and sickness when it does become a problem. Modern medicine is starting to understand that a holistic approach to health may be the most sustainable method for maintaining long-term wellness, and being proactive about overall health is smarter than reacting after things reach a critical point.
Massage helps me reduce stress; reduced stress makes me sleep better; more sleep gives me more energy reserves; more energy reserves make my body more ready to combat adversity. That is why I believe in massage as part of an overall health and wellness strategy.
Mark Gerardi, Energy Healer/Teacher at Luminous and Healthy
Each person has a choice about the best way to handle their health care just as each of us can choose how we deal with our vehicles. Some people do absolutely no upkeep or periodic maintenance on their cars, they simply keep refilling the gas tank and driving until their car breaks down and then they take it to a mechanic because now they have a serious problem… that could have been avoided with minimal upkeep.
The traditional western approach to health care is to wait until you are sick and then go see a doctor who will treat your symptoms. Just as regular oil changes and tune-ups keep your engine running at optimal performance, massage and other alternative forms of healing can help to release the toxins in our tissues and keep energy flowing which will keep the body in a balanced and healthy state of being.
Sometimes the cost of upkeep can be our excuse for not doing it. However, consider the cost of dealing with a more serious issue. Bottom line; preventive maintenance is worth the investment in yourself.
Think about it, if you were going to buy a used vehicle wouldn’t you want the one that had been maintained regularly?
Make it happen
I know you want things to happen by themselves.
Maybe you live a healthy life or maybe by nature you have good health, but why not keep an eye on it? In the end, if you want to feel well you have to be disciplined about your health. It means having massages at least two times a year, keep a regular exercising routine and pay attention to your eating habits.
Discipline is doing what you don’t like to do, but nonetheless doing it like you love it.
If exercising, stretching and massaging and eating healthy are absent from your lifestyle, we can pretty well predict the results.
I want you to become an example to follow. Be the one that inspires others by simply feeling good continuously for five or ten years without having to visit doctors.
The world needs more evangelists like this.
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Background: Spiritual Healing is widely available and used, but is a neglected area for research and its biologic and psychologic mechanisms are not understood. The side-effects of long-term hormonal therapy for breast cancer are onerous and have been reported to lead to “drug holidays” that could diminish the long-term treatment benefits. It was investigated whether Spiritual Healing could support patients with breast cancer undergoing this treatment.
Methods: The qualitative observation study took place in a specialist research facility in a general hospital. Spiritual Healing was provided by 4 healers registered with the National Federation of Spiritual Healers. Twelve (12) patients with breast cancer undergoing long-term hormone treatment and who found the effects onerous, self-referred themselves and were given ten weekly sessions of approximately 40 minutes each. Data collected included participant's daily records, direct observations noted by healers, the researcher's field diary and a one-to-one semi-structured interview.
Findings: The positive effects of Spiritual Healing included alleviation of the physical side-effects of their treatment, increased energy levels, enhanced well-being, emotional relaxation, and re-engagement with precancer activities. Although 1 participant admitted considering a drug holiday prior to joining the study, none of the participants felt tempted to stop their hormonal treatments while receiving Spiritual Healing.
Conclusions: These qualitative findings indicate that Spiritual Healing has the potential to support patients with breast cancer in the maintenance of their long-term orthodox treatments. Further research is needed to test Spiritual Healing as a cost-effective complementary therapy, for those undergoing long-term cancer treatments.
Fiona Barlow, PhD, MBACP(Accred),1 Jan Walker, PhD,2 and George Lewith, MD, FRCP3
1Health Experiences Research Group, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
2School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.
3School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.
Address correspondence to:
Fiona Barlow, PhD, MBACP(Accred)
Complementary and Integrative Medicine Research Unit
University of Southampton
Aldermoor Health Centre
Southampton SO16 5ST