Using massage as a healing and soothing technique is a concept that dates back centuries. The health benefits are plentiful, and the recipient of the treatment leaves feeling eased, relaxed and rejuvenated. However, there are many different massage techniques today, each of which is best suited to specific needs and desires. In order to choose the one that best meets your needs, you will need to know more about each one:
A Swedish massage is the most common form of massage. It involves the use of long, firm, smooth stroking, kneading and moving in circles on the upper muscle layers (i.e. those just beneath the skin). This massage can be performed on the entire body, or just on the back, legs, neck or shoulders. An oil or lotion is used to enable the therapist to move his or her hands easily and without friction. This is a gentle, relaxing form of massage, ideal to work off pre-wedding jitters.
As its name implies, this type of massage involves using one or more essential oils (scented plant oils, like jasmine, grapefruit and lavender). The type of scent used depends on the desired objectives. Some oils soothe the body and mind, while others reduce stress and still others are designed to realign the internal balances.
Hot Stone Massages
This type of massage has proven increasingly popular in recent years. It prescribes the placement of heated stones onto certain pressure points on the body with the aim of loosening the muscles and balancing the energy centres. The stones are very smooth, enabling the therapist to apply some pressure with them, if required, without inflicting any pain.
Deep Tissue Massages
These massages are more intense as they are targeted at reaching the layers of muscle and tissue that are deeper down beneath the skin. Slow strokes are administered along the grain of the back. Deep Tissue Massages are designed for sportsmen and –women as well as for those with chronic muscle pain, postural problems or injuries.
This Japanese massage technique comprises the use of finger pressure on specific acupuncture meridians in a rhythmic, organised sequence. The fingers exert pressure on each point for up to eight seconds, which aids in energy direction and balance.
This type of manipulation is administered to the feet (and, occasionally, hands) without the use of oil or lotion. By applying pressure to very specific points on the feet, the healing effect is felt in the organ or limb corresponding to that area on the foot. For a chart on these pressure points and how they correspond to the body, click here:
- Bottom of foot
- Top of foot
A straightforward back massage is to massage as espresso is to coffee. It is a quick, relaxing, invigorating sample that achieves much of what a full body massage achieves. These usually take about 30 minutes and involve the technique of a Swedish Massage.
Make sure to chat to your beautician or health spa about the most suitable massages based on your requirements.
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