Getting a massage is no longer a luxury. In fact, massage has some very significant health benefits that can have a direct impact on your overall well-being. These benefits range from specific, targeted physical impacts on overall mental health improvements.
What is Massage?
Massage is an overarching term that applies to any form of stimulation, including rubbing and pressing. The focus of that pressure is applied to your tendons, muscles and ligaments. There are several types of massage, all of which are done with different techniques to provide unique benefits. Overall, massage pressure can be of varying degrees ranging from very light touch to deep pressure.
There are also several different types of massages, such as a Thai massage from a place like Jasmine Traditional Thai Massage, which only has masseurs from Thailand.
What to Expect
If preparing for a massage, you don’t worry too much about getting ready. You will likely be asked a series of questions by the massage therapist. This ensures the therapist knows of any potential health conditions you may have. You may need to avoid certain types of massage if you have some specific health conditions.
The therapist will then discuss what techniques he or she will use and will direct you to undress to the level needed for the massage type you have selected. You then lie on the table and cover yourself with the provided sheet. Some massage types will have you in a seated position, but most will take place while you are laying down.
Most massages will include lotion or oil, which serves to limit the friction between you and your massage therapist. If you suspect you might be allergic to any of the ingredients in the lotion or oil, you should make sure to alert your therapist.
Each massage can last anywhere from a quick ten minutes to a full hour and a half or longer. This will depend on what you’ve selected. You then want to try and quell any anxiety and just let yourself enjoy the massage.
Types of Massage
It seems like there are endless types of massage available. That said, there are 7 that seem to be the most popular in 2019. They can target different areas, apply different amounts of pressure, and offer very specialized and differentiating techniques.
Just as the name suggests, this massage uses hot stones to enhance the overall experience. Warm stones are typically held in the hands of the massage therapist and are also placed on various points of the body.
The heat emitted from the stones can help to loosen tight or painful muscles and can prove to be quite relaxing. This massage isn’t ideal for everyone as it can interfere with the effects of some medications and conditions.
When you think of traditional massage, you are most likely thinking of a Swedish massage which is grounded in the ideas of physiology and anatomy. Usually, this massage uses oil or lotion and can use five different strokes. It is very helpful for relieving pain and discomfort following an injury and can be used as a means of relaxation for the whole body.
This is a version of Swedish massage, but most often uses massage oil that has been mixed with essential oils for a more fragrant experience. Not only do the essential oils give you a more pleasant-smelling experience, but are also thought to provide some healing advantages as well.
Though the healing properties of essential oils tend to be controversial, they are largely thought to aid in the relief of things such as insomnia and other sleep issues, headaches, and digestive issues.
As the name implies, this massage focuses on deeper muscle tissue. This is a very deliberate form of massage, with a specific focus on targeted areas and muscles. It can be most effective for people who have ongoing pain issues or injuries. It should not be a painful massage but is a bit more intense than a standard Swedish massage.
Thai massage is quite unique, in that it is a mixture of several other types of movement, such as yoga and stretching. You want to ensure that you choose a reputable location for Thai massage, as it is quite specialized.
Shiatsu is a very specialized form of massage, with a focus on targeted areas of the body. There is a rhythm maintained during this kind of massage, and the massage therapist usually puts pressure on certain points for anywhere from 2 to 8 seconds each.
Shiatsu massage is intended to focus on designated acupressure points, helping you feel more balanced. With this massage, you don’t need to get undressed and there is no lotion or oil used. Its therapeutic benefits include helping to speed up injury recovery, stimulating the digestive system, and increasing overall physical energy.
This massage focuses largely on the feet and hands, with particular attention paid to specific reflex areas. Those areas are believed to be connected to other parts of the body. Reflexology is used to stimulate certain systems of the body while reducing overall discomfort and stress.
There are many benefits to massage, some of which have to do with the physical body and some that are related to overall mental health. Benefits can often feel subjective, but overall, the following ailments have been thought to at least partially improve with the assistance of massage:
- Joint issues
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Various digestive issues
- Injuries from sports activities
There are a variety of benefits that can be felt by massage, even if only anecdotally. There are several different types of massage so that if you are trying to ease the pain or discomfort of one particular ailment, it is likely you can find a targeted massage technique to help.
Not only is massage believed to help with physical ailments but can seemingly also have an impact on mental health, most specifically anxiety. Overall, massage can certainly aid in relaxation and serve as a time-out from everyday stressful activities.