Massage is an incredibly versatile form of therapy. It can be used from everything from treating specific conditions, like low back pain and depression, to providing profound relaxation of body and mind. There are hundreds of types of techniques of massage. Here is a summary of some of the more common massage techniques and intended uses.
Common Massage Techniques Focused on Relaxation
The most common form of massage therapy, Swedish massage is great for the following:
- An introduction to massage – the gentle kneading, rolling, and sweeping strokes provide a gentler stimulation to body tissues than a deep tissue massage, making it an excellent technique for first-time massage clients
- Relaxation and Stress Relief – by working more superficially than targeted deep-tissue massage, Swedish massage is able to provide a full-body massage in 60 minutes, making it incredible for relaxation.
Hot Stone Massage
This form of massage incorporates hot stones to stimulate and warm the body tissue. Great for:
- Relaxation and Stress Relief – the heat and weight of the stones work to relax body tissues.
- Grounding – the placement of the stones brings your attention to specific points on the body which helps ground you.
- Assisting targeted muscle release – By warming tense muscles, the hot stones can help your therapist release muscle tension and knots.
Common Massage Techniques Focused Pain and Specific Conditions
Deep Connective Tissue
This form of massage, also called deep tissue massage, works to release tense muscles with long slow strokes that wait for the body to release on deeper levels of tissue. Great for:
- Treating specific spots or zones – a therapist will typically focus a deep tissue massage session on one or two areas of the body, such as low pain or neck and shoulders, rather than trying to cover the entire body.
Like deep connective tissue (DCT), neuromuscular therapy (NMT) works on a deeper level to treat more specific patterns of tension, trigger points. NMT is even more targeted than DCT, the therapist using NMT is highly trained to find and apply pressure to specific points of tension that, when released, can relax entire areas of tension in the body. Great for:
- Treating specific areas of tension – when used alone, or in conjunction with a technique like deep connective tissue, the targeted release of knots and areas of muscle spasm has a rippling effect throughout areas of the body connected to the trigger points treated.
By combining several techniques, sports massage is used before an athletic event to prepare the body for peak performance. It is also used after physical exertion to help the body recover. Specifically this form of massage:
- Prepares the athlete for an event – by circulating blood, stretching muscles to prevent injury, reducing anxiety prior to the event, flushing the lymphatic fluids, and reducing pain and stiffness.
- Accelerates the healing process after an event – the same techniques applied prior the the event can be used to accelerate the healing process post event.
This massage modality focuses on the hands and/or feet. Its based on a system of zones in the hands and feet that map into areas of the body. By applying pressure to specific points on the hands and feet, the entire body can be stimulated. Great for:
- Treating difficult to access areas – by affecting the entire body through hands and feet, areas that are painful or difficult to access can be treated.
- The most incredible hand or foot massage – many people love feet massages. With a reflexologist, you’ll receive highly trained touch that is at once relaxing, stimulating, and healing.
At Advanced Massage Professionals in Gainesville, we offer all of the above techniques, including several more. See our Services and Techniques pages for more information on all of the massage techniques we provide. Stay tuned for our second installment where we’ll talk about some less common massage types and techniques such as myofascial release, Active Release Techniques, craniosacral therapy, and Thai foot massage.