Massage therapy is a wonderful way to engage in self-care. It offers a variety of health benefits including reduced muscle tension, reduction of stress hormones, increased joint mobility and flexibility, improved skin tone, and improved recovery of soft tissue injuries.
Massage therapy is also a great way to relax after a long workday and a great way to give your body some TLC if you work on your feet or sit at a desk all day. During your massage, your massage therapist will apply gentle or strong pressure (based on your preference and type of massage) to your muscles and joints.
On top of all of the benefits, massage therapy is also offered in many different types, so you can find something that you enjoy and that works for your needs. These eight different types of massage therapy offer a variety of health benefits:
Type #1: Deep Tissue Massage Therapy
Deep tissue massages are usually recommended for individuals who suffer from more chronic muscle problems like neck pain, backaches, and shoulder tension. During a deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will apply strong pressure and slow strokes so they can really target the deepest layers of your muscles.
The more you go to massage therapy appointments, the more relief you will see from your aches and pains. If you’re just starting out, deep tissue massages are the highly recommended types of massage therapy for beginners.
Type #2: Swedish Massage Therapy
A Swedish massage uses gentle pressure to work your muscles and is a great option if this is your first massage. These types of massage therapy offer a great deal of relaxation and has been proven to be an effective method for getting rid of knots (and let’s be honest – who doesn’t have knots?).
During this massage, you can expect your massage therapist to use a variety of massage therapy techniques including long strokes, kneading, and circular motions. You can always start out with a Swedish massage so you get more comfortable and then start exploring other types of massage therapy from there.
Type #3: Trigger Point Massage Therapy
Speaking of knots, trigger point massage is an effective way to relieve knots. When you have painful trigger points throughout your body, it can often result in various conditions including muscle pain and headaches.
Another great option for people who suffer from chronic conditions, trigger point massages (also known as areas of tightness in muscle tissue) apply a moderate amount of pressure combined with deeper pressure to treat muscle tension. It works by deactivating trigger points throughout the body.
Type #4: Cupping Therapy
Cupping therapy is used during massages to relieve pain, increase movement, and increase blood flow. During cupping therapy, your massage therapist will first identify a particularly stiff area in your body and start to work it by suctioning an area off using a plastic cup.
The cup will stay in place for a few moments and then is gently removed. You will not feel pain from this technique so don’t worry about that.
Type #5: Reflexology Therapy
Reflexology is a type of alternative medicine (also called zone therapy) that applies pressure to your hands and feet by using different hand techniques. This type of therapy is based on the premise that pressure applied to the feet travels through different zones in the body via nerve signals.
It’s not recommended to use these types of massage therapy for more severe conditions, but it is effective for pain relief and muscle tension.
Type #6: Aromatherapy Massage Therapy
An aromatherapy massage is a type of Swedish massage that uses scented essential oils (often mixed in the massage oil) since they are believed to have healing properties.
These scents also help with relaxation, making this a very popular massage therapy option. Some of the different conditions this type of massage therapy is known to treat are digestive disorders, headaches, insomnia, and muscle pain.
Type #7: Hot Stone Massage Therapy
These types of massage therapy involve using hot, smooth stones to relax and loosen tight, sore muscles and target tension. The heat in the stones promotes blood flow, reduces pain, relieves stress, and is an effective way to relax. During a hot stone massage, your massage therapist will place the stones on different areas of your body using gentle pressure.
Type #8: Sports Massage Therapy
Sports massages are used to treat people who have injuries from repetitive movements, often a result of sports. Not only is this type of massage therapy used to treat sports injuries, but it can also help athletes increase their performance by increasing flexibility.
During this style of massage, your massage therapist will use both deep and gentle pressure to relieve muscle pain, tension, and promote flexibility.