Everyone knows massages can work wonders for your body. Massage therapy has been proven to not only relieve pain, but can also improve posture as well as help treat certain ailments and conditions like migraines or balance issues. But what you may not have known is that there are a multitude of different types of massage, all specializing in different types of treatments. We here at La Parfait Spa in Boca Raton have highlighted some of the most popular forms of massage therapy to help you find the right style for your next treatment.
Swedish massage therapy is often the most popular and well known form of massage. Most spas and gyms that offer massage therapy will have Swedish massage available at their facility. This form of massage is based off of human anatomy and physiology, which is how a living organism functions, to help loosen tight muscles, allowing them to relax. The massage therapist will use oil or lotion to aid with relaxation and prevent discomfort from friction.
Swedish massage utilizes five different strokes: effleurage, friction, vibration, petrissage, and tapotement. The massage therapist starts with effleurage, which is broad, smooth strokes that canvas the entire surface that’s being worked on (i.e. back, leg, shoulders, etc.). The therapist then moves to more specific movements to work on problem areas. They do this by using petrissage, which is kneading and rolling, and friction, specifically small, circular motions. Therapists also use tapotement, drumming like motions on the area that’s being treated, and vibration, rocking movements, to help muscles relax and make you feel as good as new.
Injury rehab, general relaxation, pain management, increasing flexibility
Hot Stone Massage
This form of massage therapy, as in its title, uses the help of heated stones to loosen muscle knots, also referred to as adhesions. Basalt stones are often used as they hold heat well and are placed in strategic areas around the treated area. This helps the muscles to relax, allowing the massage therapist to reach adhesions faster than a masseuse using a different form of massage would be able to. Therapists can also hold the stones and use them while massaging the treated area with Swedish massage strokes. The stones can be placed anywhere on your body, such as your back, face, stomach, and chest.
If you have a lot of muscle tension, then hot stone massage may be perfect for you. It may not be perfect for everyone however. With any form of massage, always ask your doctor or healthcare provider if receiving massage therapy is suitable for you. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, or if you use a blood-thinning medication, get a licensed medical professional’s opinion before you book your hot stone massage.
Relieving muscle tension, injury rehab, reducing stress, general relaxation
Unlike western forms of massage that focus on anatomy, Shiatsu and other eastern or Asian forms of massage center around the idea of energy flow. Originating in Japan, this form of massage therapy borrows ideas from ancient Chinese medicine to help stimulate your body’s energy flow and translates to “figure pressure”. Therapists do this by applying pressure to specific areas of the body, also known as acupressure points. Kneading and light tapping are also popular methods in Shiatsu massage.
Unlike Swedish and hot stone massages, Shiatsu massages are performed either on the ground or on top of a short massage table. There is no oil or lotion involved in this style of massage therapy, so patients are instructed to wear loose fitting clothes. The massage therapist usually uses their fingers, but will incorporate their hands or elbows as needed. Therapists typically hold pressure for about five seconds, but can hold the pressure point for anywhere up to eight seconds. The goal of Shiatsu massage is to open up energy pathways known as meridians. If these meridians become blocked, then we start to feel tension and discomfort in our bodies.
Relieving muscle tension, relieving headaches, pregnancy discomfort, relieving chronic pain
Sports massage uses a combination of Swedish and other massage techniques, but the strokes are generally faster than traditional Swedish massages. This form of massage therapy is designed to enhance an athlete’s performance by manipulating the soft tissue in your body. Each one is tailored to help that athlete’s body with their specific sport, such as chest and back for football players, legs for soccer players, and arms for tennis players. If you don’t play sports, sports massage can still help get rid of tension or pain in your muscles.
Sports massage is typically used to help treat injuries, especially those caused by constantly working out. They’re also perfect for increasing blood flow as well as flexibility. Along with Swedish massage strokes, a therapist conducting a sports massage may also use friction and compression to help relieve pain and tension.
Injury rehab, relieving muscle tension, athletic performance, increasing flexibility
Deep Tissue Massage
One of the most focused forms of massage therapy, deep tissue massage targets adhesions that are deep within the muscles and tissue. Massage therapists performing deep tissue massage use emphasized strokes that are much slower than Swedish massage techniques. Unlike other types of massage therapy, deep tissue massage is primarily used for injury rehabilitation rather than relaxation. Because the massage therapist uses more pressure during the procedure, relaxation isn’t the primary focus during a deep tissue massage.
Deep tissue massages do benefit a number of other aspects however. Aside from injury rehabilitation, deep tissue massages can also help lower blood pressure, remove scar tissue, increase mobility in your joints, reduce pain caused by arthritis, and improve posture. Though deep tissue massages are more intense than other massages, pain is not supposed to occur. Tell your masseuse if you experience pain during your massage to correct the problem. Also, people that have been diagnosed with blood clots, have recently had surgery, or chemotherapy should consult with a doctor before scheduling a deep tissue massage.
Injury rehab, pain management, relieving chronic pain, relieving muscle tension
We here at La Parfait Spa hope this list helps you find the right massage therapy for you. If you’d like to schedule some massage therapy in our Boca Raton location you can view some of our treatments, learn more about La Parfait Spa, or contact us to answer questions about any of our spa treatments.