There are many different types of massage therapy, from the classic Swedish style, to more personalized forms like Shiatsu or Structural Integration. When deciding what form of massage therapy is right for you, there are many considerations to make:
- Are you recovering from an injury?
- Do you have any health conditions?
- Are you looking for relaxation or stress relief?
- Do you have tight muscles, strain or postural problems?
- Are you trying to enhance athletic performance?
A certified medical massage therapist can help you decide what form of therapeutic massage will be the right technique to address your body and health needs.
1. Chinese Cupping
Cupping therapy dates back to many ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cultures. This involves a massage therapist placing special cups, often made of glass or silicone, on your skin for a few moments to create suction. The therapist can move the cups around your skin as a form of massage therapy, pulling the skin, tissue, and muscles up to enhance circulation.
Benefits include helping to relieve pain and inflammation, and increasing blood flow, relaxation and well-being.
2. Hot Stones
During a hot stone massage, a massage therapist places heated, smooth stones on specific points of the body. Rather than solely using their hands, massage therapists use stones to augment relaxation and loosen tight muscles.
When muscles relax, a therapist can more easily target areas of your body with muscle tension.
It is important to speak to your massage therapist as well as a medical healthcare provider before receiving this treatment, especially if you have medical conditions or are on a blood-thinning medication.
Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that uses pressure from the massage therapist’s fingers, hands or elbows along the body to keep the body’s energy force flowing freely. Tracing back to traditional Chinese medicine, the goal of Shiatsu is to stimulate acupressure points through many different techniques to work out tension from the back, joints and limbs.
During this massage form, you wear loose fitting clothing and no lotions or oils are used. Shiatsu is believed to be effective for treating arthritis, insomnia, and sciatica pain as well as increasing energy and promoting recovery from injuries.
4. Structural Integration
Structural integration is a type of bodywork that focuses on the fascia of the body. This connective tissue surrounds muscles, organs, nerves and other elements of our body and is designed to be elastic to move freely with muscles and bones.
When fascia loses elasticity, due to injury, stress or age, muscles can be pulled out of proper alignment, cause stress and pain to the body. Structural integration focuses on the fascia to lengthen, stretch and soften the tissue to help the body heal and restore postural balance.
A standard for most massage therapists, this is what most people think about when they first hear “massage”. Swedish massages aim to provide full body and muscle relaxation. Using a combination of long, gliding strokes, kneading, rolling, rocking and other circular motions, a Swedish massage can help relieve in the recovery of an injury as it targets specific problem areas of your body.
Often involving oils or lotion, the benefits of Swedish massage include relaxing the muscles, easing tension and boosting circulation throughout the body.
6. Lomi Lomi
A unique healing massage hailing from Polynesian culture, Lomilomi seeks to infuse spiritual energy and healing into the massage through touch. This form of massage therapy is performed with long, gentle strokes by hands or forearms. Lomilomi combines Swedish massage with deep-tissue techniques and range of motion work to push through blockages in muscle tissue and create movement in the spine.
7. Sports Massage
Sports massages can be used by athletes of all abilities to prevent or treat injuries, improve flexibility, and enhance athletic performance. Specializing in helping muscle pain or restrictions in range of motion, sports massage helps to manipulate the soft tissue to help active people make a quicker recovery from injury or stress.
Benefits of sports massage include increased blood flow, improved performance, better range of motion and increased flexibility. The form is similar to Swedish massage, but may also include compression, pressure point therapy and joint mobilization
Reno Massage Therapist
A certified massage therapist can help you decide which form of therapeutic massage will match the benefits that you are looking for. Reno massage therapist Patrick Hicks can understand your needs and work to achieve your goals.