There are many different types of massage therapy and while the uninitiated think they are all the same, nothing could be further from the truth. You can get different specialized types of massages depending on what your trouble areas are. Some of them don’t even require that you take off your clothes or lay down.
While massage has developed in many cultures over thousands of years, the typical type of massage here in the West is known as Swedish massage which was developed quite recently, in the beginning of the 19th century. This type of massage is characterized by long fluid movements that massage all the muscles in the body. While this type of massage is popular in the West, the Eastern countries have used massage as part of an overall health and healing program for thousands of years in many cultures.
You can enjoy different types of massage therapy everywhere from Hawaii to India to Thailand to Japan. In Hawaii, the traditional massage is called Lomilomi and involves the traditional use of hands as well as elbows, knees and maybe even some sticks and stones. Often times, the massage is accompanied by humming from the practitioner and you may even find that the session involves circulation stimulating techniques such as plunges in the ocean or sitting in a steam hut.
In India, massage therapy has been used for thousands of years and their technique called Marma Point uses a low pressure approach with circular motions to target 107 body points. This type of massage stimulates and relieves stress on the joints.
The traditional Thai massage was actually developed in India over 2500 years ago. This type of massage can increase flexibility as well as relieve tension in the joints and muscles. It involves stretching movements that are likened to those of yoga. After the stretching, the practitioner applies pressure with their hands and feet. While this might sound startling, it is actually quite gentle and is even a good massage technique for the elderly.
If you have a knot in your muscle, then you probably want to go in for a shiatsu massage. This type of massage which hails from Japan is a deep tissue massage where the practitioner uses fingertips to ferret out and relieve muscle stiffness. Pressure from the thumb and fingertips helps to improve the circulation literally working the knot out of the muscle.
A new offering in a lot of Western spas is a hot stone massage. This centuries old technique incorporates the movements of the Swedish massage along with hot stones that are placed alongside the spine. These stones are usually made of basalt which is a great conductor of heat. The hot stones on your body can have a soothing and relaxing effect which adds to the experience of the massage.
Even stressed-out office workers are being offered massages these days as perks from their company. Being that no one really wants to get undressed and lay on a table in front of their coworkers, the technique used for this is called chair massage. The recipient sits in a special chair which is actually very relaxing to sit in and made so that the massage therapist can get at the neck and back which are the primary target in this type of massage. This is a great benefit to the worker, and has benefits for the company to as it has been known to increase productivity and allow workers to work longer.
No matter what type of massage therapy you receive, they all have some things in common. Many of them are based on the energy meridians that run through the body. A lot of Eastern medicine aims to realign these energy points and this is why massage has often been used as part of their healing methods. Massaging the muscles, will increase circulation of blood flow to the muscles. This is what takes away the aches and pains. Increased blood flow will also increase oxygen as well as help remove toxins from the muscle. Many people report that they are both relaxed and invigorated after a good massage and massage therapy is now being acknowledged by many doctors as an important part of health care as well as a way to help recover from injury.