Massage Therapy: Styles of Massage and Their Health Benefits

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Massage has been practiced for thousands of years and has been recognised as a form of therapy only relatively recently. Today, those who need or want a massage have a wide variety of styles to choose from, each using different techniques, movements, and pressure.

For many of us living in this fast-paced world, a massage is necessary for stress relief and for relieving tension. There are other options for this, such as yoga, practicing mindfulness or by taking a meditation course Sydney schools have to offer. Even though these are also beneficial, there are just some benefits you can get only from massage therapy. So what are the most common styles and what health benefits do they offer?

Swedish Massage

Arguably the most well-known style of massage, Swedish massage is meant to relax the muscles and joints without going in very deep, helping your whole body to relax while boosting circulation at the same time. The massage therapist will use kneading, rubbing, and vibration strokes, and may even stretch and bend the joints.

Deep Tissue Massage

This style targets the connective tissues surrounding and supporting muscles,  bones, organs, and nerves. That’s why it uses more pressure to reach deeper into the muscles and tendons when compared to Swedish massage.

Reflexology

This massage style builds on the theory that parts of your body map to other areas; for example, pressure on one part of your foot could help with, say, stomach pain. Or pressure on one part of your hand can help relieve a headache. A massage therapist specialising in reflexology will follow a map that shows which reflex point on the hand or foot stimulates which organ or body part.

Shiatsu

The word shiatsu translates to “finger pressure”, which is what the massage style is, in a nutshell. For shiatsu, the massage therapist will use varied, rhythmic pressure on certain points in the body believed to be important for the flow of chi, or the body’s vital energy.

These points are known as acupressure points, and applying pressure to them is said to help relieve blockages and let chi flow better.

Aromatherapy Massage

Ancient cultures practiced this massage style that uses essential oils for centuries. As you can tell from the name, it actually combines aromatherapy – the use of different aromas to help one relax while relieving certain health problems – and massage. Popular scents include lavender, lemon, peppermint, and bergamot, to name a few. Whatever massage style your therapist uses, if they use essential oils as well, then it’s an aromatherapy massage.

Health Benefits to Expect

While different massage styles are said to have specific health benefits – deep tissue, for instance, is said to help with chronic pain – there are benefits common to all of them. These include pain relief for back pain and headaches, as well as a decrease in pain and stiffness in joints and improved mobility and function. Overall, with massage therapy, you can look forward to feeling less stressed and more relaxed and at peace.

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