A Guide to Massage Therapy

Massage must be a part of your routine if you’re big on self-care. According to a survey conducted in 2020, 32 percent of individuals believe that massage is a form of pampering yourself and nothing more than that. Although that is true to some extent, massage therapies are known to help with several health conditions.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is a part of integrative medicine where a licensed massage therapist uses different techniques and tools to work around the soft tissues of your body, including connective tissues, tendons, and skin. Massage therapies are known to provide a healing experience for your body and help reduce the pain and muscle tension that may have built up for several reasons.

What are the Different Types of Massage Therapies?

Various massage therapies follow a particular method generally used to cure something specific. Our expert massage therapists at Eden Massage have put together a list of massage therapies for you.

1.    Swedish Massage

Swedish massage therapy uses a holistic five-stroke approach that is:

  1. Effleurage: This is used as a warm-up technique where the massage therapist uses gentle strokes to loosen up the knots in your body. It’s also used once at the end to soothe the muscles.
  2. Petrissage: This technique is the kneading movement. Your massage therapist will knead, roll, and lift your skin to regulate blood circulation. Petrissage is the most time-consuming step in a Swedish massage as it stretches and loosens your muscles.
  3. Tapotement: This is the rhythmic tapping or drumming technique. Even the word tapotement stands for tapping. The tapping technique helps with lymphatic drainage.
  4. Friction: In this technique, your massage therapist will apply pressure in a circular rhythm to soften and realign your muscles. This is best used for joints.
  5. Vibration: The vibration technique works best to soothe the nerves. The massage therapist will shake your skin with their palm to loosen up the skin and help it relax. They’ll use their fingers gently to soothe the skin in sensitive areas.

Swedish massage helps with nerve stimulation. It’s a great tension reliever and a mind booster. It’s usually the first choice of people who’re going for a massage for the first time. People who don’t use their muscles too often can develop lymphatic drainage problems. A Swedish massage will be helpful with that as well.

A massage therapist applying pressure to the right shoulder

2.    Deep Tissue Massage

Most massage therapies focus on relaxation, but deep tissue massage is one of the only therapies that focus on relieving muscle pain and improving stiffness in your body. In 2014, a study showed that deep tissue massage helped solve chronic lower back pain in 59 patients. Furthermore, it also helps with sports injuries, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, high blood pressure, sciatica, and tennis elbow.

Deep tissue massage has almost the same techniques as a Swedish massage but differs greatly when it comes to the amount of pressure applied. A Swedish massage is only used for relaxation purposes, but a deep tissue massage is used to treat chronic muscular pain.

Your massage therapist will mostly focus on problem areas you have identified beforehand. They’ll knead and use intense pressure to relieve pain from those areas. It’s normal if you feel a little sore after a deep tissue massage. Your therapist will probably suggest you use a hot towel or a heating pad on your muscles.

If you plan to go for a deep tissue massage, the safest way for you would be to consult your physician first because this may come with some precautions if you’re using blood thinners or have blood clotting issues.

A massage therapist applying pressure on the lower back

Recommended Read: Why is deep tissue massage getting popular?

3.    Sports Massage

People who get repetitive injuries should benefit from a sports massage. It’s generally used to prepare athletes before the game season. It helps after a sports injury as well. Or, if you’re prone to injuries, sports massage should be your go-to.

Sports massage helps increase flexibility, improve athletic performance, relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and release muscle tension. It’s usually done by applying pressure to specific problem areas. But if you want to get a full-body sports massage, that’s an option as well.

Recommended Read: What are the benefits of massage for athletes?

4.    Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage originated in Japan and is based on traditional Chinese medicine. This massage therapy involves applying pressure to sore areas of your body using fingers, thumbs, and palms. It applies pressure to specific pressure points in your body and helps heal different ailments.

Studies have shown that Shiatsu massage helps regulate our digestive system and reduce constipation in our body. It reduces our anxiety and helps cure insomnia to some extent. Shiatsu directly affects our nervous system, and that’s why it helps with migraines as well.

A massage therapist applying oil on the back of a woman

Recommended Read: Reasons you should get Shiatsu massage

What Should You Expect During a Massage?

You don’t have to do any specific preparation before your massage. The massage therapist you choose takes your medical history and asks you questions about your preferences and if there are any sore areas you want the therapist to focus on. The therapist will use their fingers to examine and pinpoint sore areas in your body before starting the massage.

Your massage therapist will ask you if you have a preference for an oil or lotion that should be used to reduce friction. Don’t forget to inform them about your allergies.

You can undress completely before the massage or wear loose clothing. That’ll depend on whatever you’re comfortable with. There will be some light music playing in the background to make the experience cozier.

Hire a Licensed Massage Therapist Today!

Our licensed and trained Asian massage therapists at Eden Massage will provide you with the best relaxing massage experience. We are focused on providing a holistic experience for your well-being. Our massage places are open in Fayetteville, NC. Contact us to learn more about our services!

Remember to breathe throughout the massage and relax!

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