It seems as though there are hundreds of types of massage. Well, maybe not hundreds but there are quite a few. Have you wanted to go for a massage session but hesitated because you didn't know what type of massage to get? Massage can be used for all sorts of purposes and there are numerous techniques that range from deep relaxation to highly effective methods that relieve a wide range of muscular pains and dysfunction. Among the types of massage that are most popular are Lymphatic Drainage Massage, Myofascial Release, Head Massage, Acupressure, and Rolfing Structural Integration.
1. Lymphatic Drainage Massage - Lymphatic drainage massage is a type of massage therapy that assists the body in achieving a free-flowing lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a complex network of very tiny vessels and ducts that move fluid, called lymph, throughout the body and is responsible for carrying metabolic waste (toxins) away from healthy cells and carrying germ-fighters to cells when they are under attack by viruses. Though fluid moves through the lymphatic system, it does not have its own pumping mechanism like the circulatory system does therefore lymphatic drainage massage manually speeds up the process. Lymphatic drainage massage is usually very gentle and soothing.
2. Myofascial Release - Myofascial release is a type of massage designed to address restrictions in the connective tissue of the body called fascia. Restrictions in fascia limit movement in the joints, make your muscles seem stiff, constrict blood flow, contribute to postural abnormalities, and are often responsible for pain. During myofascial release the massage therapist applies sustained gentle to moderate pressure into the fascial restrictions. As the pressure is maintained the fascia softens and begins to release the restriction resulting in sensations of relief, increased circulation, and decreased pain.
3. Head Massage - Also known as Champissage or Indian Head Massage this type of massage is quite popular in Europe and is gaining popularity in the United States. Based in the principles of Ayurvedic Medicine, this type of massage is focused on the face, head, neck, and shoulders and is intended to release energy blockages. The energy blockages are believed to cause many common ailments including stress, pain, aches, and even hair loss. Head Massage is a very relaxing way to relieve common aches and pains.
4. Acupressure - Acupressure is a type of massage using pressure on the same specific points of the body as used in Acupuncture in order to reduce stress, tension, and pain while promoting overall health. During an Acupressure session the therapist uses fingers, knuckles, elbows, or a pressure bar to address the acupressure points with varying degrees of pressure. By stimulating points in various areas of the body energy flow is enhanced, circulation improved, and a sense of wellness instilled.
5. Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing) - Named for its founder, Dr. Ida Rolf, Rolfing is a technique used to improve the body's posture or structural alignment by manipulation of connective tissues during a series of sessions. Achieving structural integration by aligning the body's joints correctly in gravity is believed to improve overall health, and definitely improves the client's ability to move fluidly with less effort. In many cases improved structure decreases chronic pain. While many recipients of Rolfing report it as being somewhat painful to receive, advances in technique have reduced the amount of pain felt while receiving Rolfing.
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, Reiki Master, Certified Myoskeletal Therapist, and Certified Neuromuscular Therapist in San Antonio, Texas. To receive massage therapy and bodywork in San Antonio please contact Mr. Crabtree through his website at MassageByBen.com or his Massage Blog.