There’s nothing like a good massage. Lying on a table while hands knead and tap the tension out of you, soothing music playing. It’s relaxation, a time to let someone else take care of you, a time to let go. It also comes with many health benefits.
The fact that massage feels good can help relieve anxiety and depression. In addition, massage therapy can relieve your physical and mental tension, relieve muscle soreness, heal muscular injuries such as sprains, cure chronic headaches, relieve carpal tunnel syndrome, help with post-surgical rehabilitation, help relieve fibromyalgia and more. But, which type of massage is right for you…?
The most common type of massage, Swedish massage relieves muscle tension and therefore it can be relaxing and energizing. It improves circulation and can help flush toxins out of the body. And, it can relieve pain and help muscles heal properly.
In a Fall 2010 study done at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, blood tests showed that participants who had a Swedish massage with moderate pressure experienced decreases in stress hormones and increases in white blood cells, indicating a boost in the immune system. Based on the study’s finding, the author concluded that massage might be effective in treating inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Deep Tissue Massage
More intense than Swedish massage, deep tissue massage gets deeper into layers of muscles, tendons and other tissues. Deep tissue massage can relieve chronic patterns of tension and helping with muscle injuries. Drinking lots of water after a deep tissue massage can help flush lactic acid out of the tissues.
Hot Stone Massage
During a Hot Stone Massage, the therapist places warmed smooth stones on certain areas of the body, such as acupressure points. Benefits of hot stone massage include muscle relaxation, pain relief, improved circulation, and stress relief.
Also referred to as Thai yoga massage, a Thai massage is done with the client fully clothed on the floor. It’s essentially an assisted yoga session in which the therapist uses his or her body to move the client into a variety of positions, stretching and applying gentle pressure to muscles. Sometimes we don’t know how far we can stretch until someone assists us, and so benefits of Thai massage include improved flexibility along with improved posture and balance, stronger joints and relief of muscle tension. Thai massage also helps detoxify the body, boosts the immune system, increases blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.
In Japanese, shiatsu means “finger pressure.” Shiatsu is similar to acupuncture but uses finger pressure on acupressure points instead to stimulate the body’s energy pathways (meridians). In addition to promoting relaxation, shiatsu can provide relief from headaches, migraines and menstrual cramps. It improves circulation, which alleviates symptoms caused by arthritis, and also has positive effects on skin, helping it to remain moist and smooth. Shiatsu can help prevent illness through increased blood and lymph circulation, aiding the digestive system, and immune system strengthening.
These are just a few of the massage types available. Whichever you choose, you’ll be reaping the benefits of relaxation, which in and of itself is a reason to lie on the table…
Looking for a great spa? Check out the View the Vibe Spa Guide to find the best in Toronto.