Have you ever wanted to go for a massage therapy session but didn't know what type of massage to get? Massage therapy is a very diverse field of work and there are many types of massage to choose from that range from full-body stress relief to highly targeted methods that relieve muscular pain and dysfunction. Five of the most popular types of massage are Swedish massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Sports Massage, and Neuromuscular Therapy.
1. Swedish Massage - this is the most common type of massage in the United States and perhaps the world. Swedish massage is known for its long gliding strokes, kneading strokes, friction strokes, and percussion as well as joint movements that feel great while improving range of motion. It's most often thought of as a "spa" type of massage but it's much more than that. Swedish massage is great for reducing stress, improving circulation, improving range of motion of your joints, and helping you actually feel better in your own skin. Swedish massage can range from light pressure to a heavier pressure depending on your comfort level. It's more than just a "feel good" massage it is very therapeutic.
2. Deep Tissue Massage - right behind Swedish massage in popularity and availability, Deep Tissue Massage is one of the best known and most often requested types of massage. This massage shares some strokes and techniques with Swedish massage and is used to root out chronic tension in the deeper musculature and connective tissues that contribute to pain and loss of range of motion in joints. While some massage therapy practitioners use a heavier, sometimes uncomfortable pressure in Deep Tissue Massage it should be noted that a more moderate pressure can reach deep tissues and achieve great results with little discomfort.
3. Hot Stone Massage - this type of massage is probably the most relaxing and luxurious massage being given today. Heated basalt stones are added to the massage and are used by the massage therapist to perform a mini heat treatment as well as gliding massage strokes that seem to melt away stress and tension.
4. Sports Massage - just like it sounds, Sports Massage is geared toward athletes at every level from professional to the "weekend warrior" and those who strive for a higher level of fitness. Rather than a specific form of massage, Sports Massage is generally a combination of massage techniques tailored to the athlete's needs. The Sports Massage might be applied to one area to relieve pain or might be more general in nature to assure overall performance.
5. Neuromuscular Therapy - also called "NMT" or Neuromuscular Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy is a well known massage technique for relieving muscular pain, and muscle spasm throughout the body. Neuromuscular Therapy is effective with myofascial trigger points causing "referred" pain that originates from someplace other than where it's felt. This technique uses very targeted compression and friction massage techniques, positioning, and stretching to release the myofascial trigger points in muscles as well as restrictions in tendons, muscular attachments, and sometimes fascia surrounding the muscle.
All of the massage techniques described here can help you receive the health benefits of massage. Of course there are many more massage therapy techniques available that are relaxing, stress reducing, and that relieve chronic tension and pain. You actually don't have to know what type of massage to ask for, you just need to know what you want to achieve. Do you just want to relax? Reduce muscle soreness? Relieve pain? Improve posture? Ask your massage therapist what they recommend for your particular health needs and get massaged today.
Ben Crabtree is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Advanced Myoskeletal Alignment Therapist, Reiki Master, and Certified Neuromuscular Therapist in San Antonio, Texas. For massage therapy and bodywork in San Antonio please see Mr. Crabtree's website at MassageByBen.com