Massage therapists work in hotels, day spas, resorts, clinics, hospitals and a host of other venues. These professionals usually complete a twelve-month study and training program to prepare them for the job. What massage therapists do as professionals benefit a number of people including those who would like to relieve stress from their muscles after a long day or week at work. Aside from relieving stress, therapists can also straighten out the kinks in one’s muscles due to tension.
Athletes who suffer from sports-related injuries benefit from the ministrations of massage therapists as they go through a series of sessions to restore the elasticity of the affected body parts. Massage in general also has a slew of benefits including relaxation, improvement of posture, improvement of the body’s range of motion, lowering the heart rate, balancing cortisol or insulin levels, lowering blood pressure, relieving headaches and strengthening the immune system.
5 Most Popular Massage Therapy Techniques
Next, let’s take a look at the top five most popular techniques used by massage therapists:
- Deep Tissue Massage
For patients who are experiencing posture-related problems or are suffering from chronic pain, deep tissue massage is recommended. For this, the massage therapist goes deep into the layers of the muscles. They target the connective tissue using intense pressure but short strokes. After a deep tissue massage, the patient might feel sore but the long-term benefits are well worth it.
- Hot Stone Massage
When you visit a day spa, a hotel or a massage establishment, a hot stone massage is one of the services offered. For this, smooth, black stones are slightly heated and placed on the shoulders and back. The temperature of the stones is slightly over 100 degrees, and the purpose of applying the heated stones is to increase blood circulation and promote relaxation. This is usually done with other massage techniques like Swedish. Otherwise, the therapist simply applies light pressure to the stones to enhance the soothing effect on the muscles.
This is probably one of the most common massage techniques used by therapists. The science comes from China, where reflexology refers to a form of foot massage. The therapist applies pressure to the points on the feet which the Chinese believe to be connected to specific body organs. The purpose of reflexology is to promote overall health, relaxation and healing.
If reflexology is a massage technique from the Chinese, Shiatsu is from the Japanese. Here, pressure is applied to acupressure points in the body in order to relieve stress and pain. This is more intense than a Swedish massage but does not have the soreness associated with deep tissue massage.
- Swedish Massage
Finally, there’s Swedish massage which is the most popular. Also called relaxation massage, the technique involves using long, flowing strokes towards the heart. Lotion or oil is used to minimize friction between the skin of the therapist and the patient. Those who are booking a massage for the first time would do well to go with Swedish, because the other techniques might be too advanced for their bodies.