Massage treatment has been around for time immemorial. Historically, every culture and community has practiced massage techniques for relaxation and muscular stress relief. The science behind it is simple — massage manipulates the muscles and soft tissues of the body. It boosts your physical health and provides mental relaxation, improving overall health.
But with so many massage techniques available, it is easy to get confused. To help you decide, here are ten of the most basic and effective massage techniques.
Different Types Of Massage
Whether you are new to getting massages or have been reaping its benefits for years, you may need to get more familiar with the wide variety of massages available. Each serves a different function and offers various mental and physical benefits.
So, before booking your next massage session, check out the 19 types of massages available.
• Swedish Massage
• Hot Stone Massage
• Aromatherapy Massage
• Deep Tissue Massage
• Sports Massage
• Trigger Point Massage
• Shiatsu Massage
• Thai Massage
• Prenatal Massage
• Couples Massage
• Chair Massage
• Lymphatic Drainage Massage
• Cranial Sacral Therapy
• Abhyanga Oil Massage
• Myofascial Release Therapy
• Percussion Massage
• Head And Scalp Massage
• Foot Massage
Benefits Of Regular Body Massages
Massages are often treated as a luxury but are more of a necessity. Massages offer several health benefits, and it is easy to say that the more massages you take, the better your health will be.
Here are some health benefits of regular massages:
1. Stress Relief
Massages help release feel-good hormones like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. It imparts a feeling of well-being and helps the person become calmer and more relaxed.
2. Increase Blood Circulation
Massages alleviate muscle tension and help improve blood circulation. Besides increasing the nutrition supply to the muscles, it also enhances the blood supply to the bone. This helps improve the function and strength of the skeletal system.
3. Reduce Pain and Swelling
People often take massages to address chronic back and joint pain due to a pre-existing health condition. The feel-good hormones mentioned earlier are also natural pain relievers.
4. Promotes Better Sleep
The relaxation that massages offer promotes better sleep. Therapists often recommend that patients with insomnia try acupuncture and reflexology therapy for better slumber.
5. Increases Immunity
It helps lower cortisol levels, strengthens the immune system and helps fight illnesses and diseases. Massages stimulate the production of immune cells and distribute them throughout the body. This helps drain the lymph nodes and filter out dead cells, waste products, and possible pathogens.
6. Improves Flexibility
Body massages involve the manipulation of joints and purposeful movements, which improve the flexibility and elasticity of tissues and stimulate joint fluid production. These break up scar tissue and help regain flexibility, especially after injuries.
Increased flexibility is especially beneficial for aging individuals, as the likelihood of injuries increases manifold with age.
7. Helps Maintain A Good Posture
When the body is not structurally aligned properly due to staying in the wrong or bent position for a long time, it results in a bad posture.
However, massages help free up restrictions in tissues, making them more flexible and helping them align properly. It also helps reduce muscle tension and fatigue so there is less friction and compression between joints. This results in a reduced probability of developing arthritis or degenerative changes.
8. A Healthy Heart
Massages help calm the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates involuntary responses like blood pressure. It also activates the rest and digest mode of the parasympathetic system, which regulates heart rate and blood pressure.
A massage produces vasodilation, which results in increased oxygen supply to organs and increases blood flow. This relaxes the cardiovascular system and improves overall heart health.
9. Boosts Focus
As massages regulate heart rate, improve circulation, and clear the mind, they help improve focus.
10. Digestive Wellbeing
Stress can take a toll on the digestive system as well. Regular massages offer immediate results in cases of bloating, digestive issues, and constipation. It also provides long-term benefits of better digestion and increased absorption of nutrients.
11. Improve Pregnancy Outcomes
Pregnancy is a stressful time for the mother. This stress can lead to various other issues. However, massages induce relaxation, relieve pain, lower stress levels, and increase physical activity, which improves the overall pregnancy outcome.
12. Healthy skin
The gentle friction that the hands, oils, powders, and lotions provide helps exfoliate the skin. Stress can trigger many skin diseases like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. As massage challenges stress and helps patients relax, it also indirectly tackles many skin conditions.
However, some skin conditions cannot and should not be treated with massages, so it is ideal to consult a physician before starting a treatment.
10 Most Basic And Effective Massage Techniques
The massage therapist uses mastered movements and pressure to achieve the desired results during the massage session.
Some of the most commonly used techniques are:
Technically known as Petrissage, this technique involves the therapist using the palms or thumbs to apply pressure and pull away the muscles from the bone. It is a straightforward technique; however, they must pay close attention to the pressure, intensity, and speed.
This technique involves moving the thumb in a circular motion and applying pressure. It is mostly used to release pain and stress for localized parts and to stimulate blood circulation.
When performed at low pressure, it treats stiff muscles and joint pain. Greater pressure helps alleviate discomfort and stiffness in deep tissues.
This technique involves long gliding strokes performed with open palms and is almost always a part of massages. It is performed at the beginning or end of a therapy session but can also be the only technique used.
Usually, the strokes are gentle and involve using oils or lotion to warm up the body and ease the muscles. However, the therapist may also use greater pressure to loosen muscle knots.
This technique uses rapid and rhythmic taps or touches to loosen tight muscles and increase blood circulation.
Fisted or cupped hands may be used to perform the technique. Alternatively, both palms can be joined so that the hands are side by side. This ensures that only the fingertips and the edges of the palm touch the skin.
The technique is not used when the client is looking for a relaxing experience. It is mostly used for athletes as a sports massage to remove muscle stiffness.
5. Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points are tiny knots or tight spots in tissues that cause pain in other areas in the body. This happens because these knots reduce the blood flow, further enhancing the pain and restricting movement patterns.
Trigger point therapy addresses these knots. It aims to stimulate blood flow, decrease pain, relieve muscle tension, and improve mobility.
In this technique, the therapist uses the fingers to directly apply pressure on the trigger point. They hold it for some time till the client experiences a reduction in pain or tightness.
6. Vibration Or Shaking
This is also a rhythmic technique where the therapist uses the hands when massaging a large surface area like the back or chest. They use their fingers for the face and mimic vibrations by shaking the area at high speed.
As too much pressure is not ideal, the technique is often used for a soothing session. It is recommended for patients experiencing a high amount of pain.
7. Myofascial Release
Myofascial tissues are thin but tough, fibrous connective tissues that shield and support muscles and bones throughout the body. Strain, repetitive motion, injury, or disuse may damage them. When damaged, they create trigger points and cause a lot of pain.
In myofascial release therapy, the therapist uses touch to identify damaged tissues. The damaged tissue is rigid, while the healthy tissue is pliable and elastic. The therapist uses pressure, stroking, and stretching to increase blood flow and flexibility, dissolving the trigger points.
In this technique, the therapist will rub both hands on the body. The movements are quick, and the fast strokes generate heat. The warmth promotes circulation and stimulates muscle nerves. It is generally used only for areas the therapist thinks require deeper work.
The therapist forms this technique by laying hands on the affected area, pushing down on the tissue, holding for some time, and releasing. The pressure can be light or deep, depending on the client. This technique is effective for deep tissue massage and stress relief.
10. Skin Rolling
This technique involves rolling the skin, which results in increased flexibility and decreased pain. It also releases muscle tension. The therapist gently pulls the skin and rolls it in a continuous forward motion.