12 Types of Massage: Which One Is Right for You?

Are you feeling stressed or sore? Or do you suffer from chronic pain?

If so, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a certified massage therapist. Massages can provide your body and your mind with much-needed relief and relaxation. It can also pinpoint specific areas of pain and discomfort and work to reduce or remove them.

But if you are new to massage therapy, it can be overwhelming to get started. There are many different types of massage and it can be hard to choose.

And you definitely don’t want to get the wrong type of massage. Some are better suited to specific types of people or problems.

If you are wondering where to get started on your journey to relaxation, check out these 12 types of massage to learn which one you should get first.

1. Swedish Massage

The most common type of massage, and one of the most enjoyable, is the Swedish massage. It’s also known as massage therapy or a regular massage.

Swedish massage utilizes gentle pressure in the form of long, smooth strokes on your muscles. Your therapist will also use kneading and circular motions. The use of massage oil allows for a friction-free, enjoyable massage.

If you don’t know what type of massage to get or are new to massages, Swedish massage is the go-to choice. If you are sore or are looking to relax and lower stress, it’s a perfect choice.

2. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massages aren’t quite as gentle-feeling as a Swedish massage, but are just as important. Your massage therapist will target deeper layers of muscle, particularly in areas where you are sore or in pain.

Deep tissue massages are perfect for athletes or those who perform manual labor who repeatedly use the same muscles or perform the same motions. The techniques used in a deep tissue massage can provide much-needed relief for areas that are especially tight, stiff, or painful.

3. Lymphatic Massage

Massage therapists use lymphatic massages to improve lymphatic flow throughout the body. Lymphatic fluid helps maintain your body’s fluid levels and removes waste. People who suffer from inflammation often find the most relief from a lymphatic massage. 

Your trained massage therapist will use gentle techniques, such as gliding or stretching over the body, to stimulate the lymphatic system, much of which lies in your neck and armpits.

4. Myofascial Release Therapy

Under your skin lies a layer of fascia. It’s a connective tissue that covers the muscles and allows for freedom and range of motion.

Myofascial release therapy is the kneading, stretching, and pulling of the skin and muscles in a pain-free way in order to release tension in the fascia. It can provide much-needed pain relief as well as help heal scar tissue.

5. Neuromuscular Massage

A neuromuscular massage, or trigger point massage, works by pinpointing specific areas of strain deep in the muscle. These strains, also called trigger points, can be the source of many different painful symptoms, including headaches and muscle strains.

Strong pressure and friction are then used to release these deep strains. It’s best for those with specific injuries or muscle tightness.

6. Infant and Pediatric Massage

An infant massage can be done completely by a certified therapist, both the therapist and a parent, or just the parent of a child. The massage can help the child and parents bond on a deeper level and can benefit infants immediately and as they age.

Pediatric massage can help bring relaxation and comfort to hospitalized children or those suffering from medical conditions. As they can be traumatizing events, this healing touch massage can support them physically and emotionally. Plus, it can help with many different chronic conditions.

7. Pregnancy Massage

A pregnancy massage can aid an expectant mother to treat aches, swelling, and pain during pregnancy. It can also help to rescue anxiety, stress, and depression. 

8. Reflexology Massage

Reflexology involves applying pressure to specific zones of the hands and feet. As pressure is applied to the different zones of the feet, nerves send signals to different parts of the body to aid with pain and relieve tension. Certain hormones can be released during the massage, such as dopamine, helping to reduce pain. 

9. Cranio-Sacral Therapy

If you suffer from conditions such as constant migraines, IBS, constipation, or sinus infections, you should consider Cranio-Sacral Therapy. This gentle form of massage focuses on the head, neck, and back.

The technique and focus areas can aid the flow of fluid throughout the central nervous system, helping to heal the body.

10. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy utilizes fragrances from all-natural essential oils to provide therapeutic benefits. During an aromatherapy massage, specific essential oils are massaged into your skin.

Many different oils provide physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Depending on the oils used, you can expect feelings of calm and relaxation, lower stress, improved mood, pain relief, and many other benefits.

When used on the skin, oils are absorbed by the skin, which leads to many positive effects. During an aromatherapy massage, you’ll also enjoy inhaling the aroma, which aids in providing relief as well.

Prior to the massage, you can express your concerns and goals with your massage therapist. This will help them create the perfect oil blend for you.

11. Hot Stone Massage

During a hot stone massage, heated, smooth stones are placed on specific parts of your body. Gentle pressure may also be applied by the massage therapist.

The stones can warm and loosen tight muscles and help achieve energy balance throughout the body. Hot stone massage can also improve blood circulation and improve sleep. It’s perfect for those who struggle with tense muscles but prefer a less invasive, more gentle massage.

12. Thai Massage

Thai massage continues to increase in popularity. It is also called assisted yoga and has been practiced for thousands of years

Your trained massage therapist will stretch, and pull your body, as well as apply strong pressure. Through this process, your body will be placed into many yoga-like positions.

You can expect a reduction in joint stiffness, tension, muscle and back pain, and decreased headaches. This massage is more active and less relaxing than other types, and might not be recommended to those who are new to massage.

Determining the Best Types of Massage for You

With so many incredible options to choose from, you might be wondering how to decide. Maybe you feel multiple types of massage are perfect for you. 

In that case, the best option is to schedule an appointment or consultation with a qualified massage therapist to discuss your current condition, pain, and desired results. They’ll be able to recommend the best option for you.

Many of these modalities can be combined in a single session.  When you are making your appointment, your therapist should have a clear understanding of what goals you wish to achieve and areas of your body that are under duress to tailor your session perfectly for YOU.

You can contact us today at the Sanctuary of Integration Wellness Center to schedule an appointment.

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