What types of massage are there?

massage in action

Last week we explained why they’re so important. Now, it’s time for some fun, as we outline the four main types – all offered by us here at Lovoir.

Swedish massage

What is it?

Put it like this: In Sweden, it’s just known as a classic massage. And that is exactly what it is.

Is it for me?

Unless you don’t want to feel more relaxed while having your muscles soothed and circulation improved, a Swedish massage – the most popular type out there – is for everyone!

What should I expect?

Five types of massage techniques, including effleurage (rubbing your muscles in long gliding movements, pushing blood towards your heart), kneading and tapping. Using softer strokes on the more delicate part of the body and stronger strokes on the thicker muscles, it’s the ideal combination for relaxation. Coupled with essential oils to suit your skin type and calming music, it’s the perfect way to unwind.

You can either have a full body massage or choose just one specific area, with back, neck and shoulders the most popular.

Anything else?

Just an interesting piece of history for you! The name comes from the early 19th century, where a Swedish physiologist developed a system called “Medical Gymnastics”.

A study in The New York Times found that those who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced a significant decrease in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increase in the number of the white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

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Deep tissue massage

What is it?

Using strong and concentrated pressure on problematic areas, this technique is a more intense version of a Swedish massage

Is it for me?

Experiencing chronic tensions and aches – such as a stiff neck or back, tight legs or sore shoulders – that a classic Swedish just can’t alleviate? Then this might be just what the doctor ordered.

It usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic muscle pain or injury rehabilitation, to help reduce pain and increase mobility. Some examples include:

  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Whiplash
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Sciatica
  • Sports injury
  • Recovery from a fall
  • Muscle tension or spasms
  • Fibromyalgia

What should I expect?

We may use our forearms, elbows, fingertips, knuckles and hands – anything, really – to break down the rigid tissue responsible for the pain, inflammation and restricted movement you’re experiencing. As a result, you should expect to experience some discomfort. This is because scar tissue is being loosened, knots are being undone and layers of muscle are being moved back to the right place. Sounds traumatic, but you know what they say – no pain, no gain! Also, while we will exercise deep pressure throughout, we’ll do so alongside softer strokes, too.

Deep tissue does what it says on the tin, getting down to the deepest layers of tissue to help realign them. The result? A knock-on relieving effect for your bones, joints and muscles.

You may experience some stiffness or tenderness afterwards, but this shouldn’t last for more than a couple days. Stretching, applying ice to painful areas, drinking water and a warm bath can all help alleviate this.

Anything else?

Deep tissue has been found to be more effective in relieving musculoskeletal issues than a wide range of alternatives, such as exercise, medication and diet. Because it helps to relax muscles, it will also increase both blood flow and oxygen around your body, contributing to overall health.

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lady receiving an indian head massage

Image: Graceie/Pixabay

Indian head massage

What is it?

As its name suggests, this ancient therapeutic technique originates from India and is now incredibly popular in the Western world, too. This is – partly – down to its simplicity and flexibility. Despite only referencing the head in its name, an Indian head massage also treats the pressure points in your shoulders and neck. It incorporates the three chakras – mind, body and spirit – which are believed to be found in the throat, brow and crown.

Is it for me?

Does your head, hair and scalp need some TLC? Then absolutely! Some specific benefits include:

  • Hair health and growth, thanks to the increase in oxygen and nutrients delivered to the follicles
  • Headache reduction
  • Unblocked sinuses
  • Renewed energy levels
  • Muscle relief
  • Improved mental health
  • Memory boost
  • Brighter eyes
  • Better sleep

What should I expect?

A series of circular movements, strokes and stretches. It requires no equipment, meaning it’s very low maintenance but highly effective.

A safe and gentle therapy, a typical Indian head massage usually starts with the shoulders and upper back, using flowing motions to help relieve any stress and tension, before settling on the scalp. It then makes its way up the forehead and around the eyes. We finish it off with a luxurious warm oil, ultra-nourishing hair treatment – utter bliss!

Anything else?

It originates from an alternative Indian medicine system called Ayurveda (meaning the ‘science of life’), which hinges on the belief that the body and mind are intricately connected. As a result, an Indian head massage doesn’t only improve overall physical wellbeing, it can also help boost your mental health, too. In fact, it is now seen as a primary form of stress management.

Traditionally, it was used at weddings and births, particularly by mothers on their daughters.

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hands practising reflexology on a foot

Image:  andreas160578/Pixabay

Reflexology

What is it?

A safe, non-invasive, complementary touch therapy that dates back to Ancient Egypt, India and China, Reflexology helps promote deep relaxation and wellbeing. It is based on the notion that the feet are a micro-system of the whole body, meaning, in practice, that touching different points on them will positively affect other areas of the body which have been impacted by energy pathways becoming blocked.

There are different theories as to how it actually works. Some attribute it to nerve impulse – the idea that pressing one point sends a signal to the brain to impact a corresponding point through the nervous system. Others believe it unblocks peaks of energy, in a similar way to acupuncture.

Is it for me?

Reflexology is suitable for all ages and great for:

  • Reducing stress
  • Restoring balance
  • Improving sleep
  • Relaxation
  • Enhancing mood
  • Reducing pain
  • Hormonal issues
  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic illness
  • Boosting the immune system

Whether you use it to treat a specific problem, as a maintenance to keep that problem at bay or just as a wonderfully relaxing stress-reliever, Reflexology is for you!

What should I expect?

There may be moments of pain, but Reflexology is – on the whole – a generally relaxing experience, in which we’ll use specific finger and thumb techniques to apply pressure to various points in your feet. You may feel lethargic, nauseous or even a bit teary, but this won’t last long! Your feet may also feel a bit tender afterwards, too!

Anything else?

Reflexology is a very individual treatment, meaning we’ll try tailor it to you as much as possible, taking into account any relevant physical and psychological issues.

No matter what type gets your juices flowing …

It may not be for you if you’re pregnant, at risk of blood clots, have recently had surgery or have any other medical condition, so make sure to speak to us beforehand. It’s also not advisable to have a massage after eating a big meal or drinking alcohol.

Now that we’ve been through the various types of massage and their benefits, what are you waiting for?

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Featured image: Carjens/Pixabay

 

 

 

 

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