You’ve probably heard about different types of massage: Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu, hot stone, Ayurvedic and many others. Some of these techniques are designed to be pleasurable and relaxing, while others focus more on restoring circulation and muscular function. People often wonder what type of massage they should go for — and in truth, this depends on your needs and goals. Not everybody is the same.
- Working the legs
A qualified professional in a therapeutic setting will often pay extra attention to the legs. Why? Because massaging the legs has fantastic overall effects for the body. By massaging up from the ankle toward the knees and higher, the body’s lymph nodes are stimulated and cleansed. Circulation can be drastically improved throughout the legs using professional methods, relieving symptoms of pain and stiffness that people often experience in these areas. If a patient has suffered injury in one or both legs, therapeutic massage can be a valuable way accelerate healing.
- Deep tissue
It really is as good as it sounds. Sustained and strong pressure relaxes tense muscles throughout the body, improving circulation and muscular function. Your therapist should look for areas of the body’s musculature that are particularly knotted, stiff and/or painful and work to loosen and relax those areas gently. A properly administered deep tissue massage can be one of the most pleasurable forms of therapy out there, and it also has amazing health effects. Deep tissue massage has the power to release body toxins, improve circulation, and even make your immune system stronger. Pressure points in the hands and feet can also bring relaxing and therapeutic effects to other parts of the body.
Swedish massage relaxes muscles by applying pressure to deep muscle and bones. A masseuse will rub your body tissue in the same direction as the flow of blood to the heart which will aid in improving your circulation. The lymph system relies on muscle action rather than the pressure of blood being pumped to carry fluids back to the heart, so the extra assistance of a Swedish massage will provide your muscles with some relief. It also will improve circulation by speeding the return of blood and lymph from your extremities. Although the chief goal of Swedish massage is to improve circulation and speed up the return of lymph and blood, it also helps to remove metabolic waste from your circulatory system and can shorten recovery time for muscular strain by flushing the muscle of lactic and uric acids.
- Trigger point
For people who have been injured or subjected certain muscles to excessively forceful or repetitive movements (as is the case with many sports injuries), certain areas and muscles can become chronically tight. A qualified massage therapist can find trigger points that release and calm these problem areas, bringing tangible relief and improvement of symptoms.
Reaping the full benefits of massage
If a medical institution as reputable as the Mayo Clinic urges patients to find out about the healthy benefits of therapeutic massage — which it does — there’s every reason to find out for yourself. Under the guidance of the right professional, massage is truly a useful and relaxing tool for wellness.