Massages are more than just indulgences. They’re proven health and mood treatments.
Massages reduce stress hormone levels, heart rate, blood pressure and boost mood and relaxation levels by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.
Common massage techniques can help you relax and trigger an endorphin release that raises your threshold for pain; and this can help people with all sorts of body pain, especially lower-back pain.
Swedish Massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. If it's your first time at the spa or you don't get massages very often, Swedish Massage is the perfect massage for you. A Swedish Massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist's personal style and what he/she wants to achieve.
In Swedish Massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes. These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up muscle "knots" or adhered tissues, called adhesions. Swedish Massage promotes relaxation, among other health benefits.
Before the massage, you should tell the therapist about any injuries or other conditions that he/she should know about. Things you would want to tell a therapist include areas of tightness or pain, allergies, and conditions like pregnancy. You can also tell him/her up front if you have a preference for light or firm pressure. It's best not to get a massage if you are ill.
After the consultation, the therapist instructs you to change your clothes and put on the disposable undergarment and then leaves the room. He/she will knock or ask if you are ready before entering. He/she will then instruct you to lie on the table, face up or face down, covering the middle part of your body with a bath towel. The therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on. This technique is called draping.
You usually start by lying face down with your head in a U-shaped face-cradle so your spine stays neutral. The therapist generally starts by working your back, using various massage strokes that include effleurage, kneading, friction, stretching and tapping.
When the therapist is finished with your back, he/she works the back of each leg. When done with that, he/she holds the towel up and looks away while you turn over onto your back; then he/she quickly covers you again. The therapist then massages the front of each leg, both arms, and generally finishes with your neck and shoulders.
Some therapists work in a different order, and all have their own style and techniques. If you only have 60 minutes, you can also ask them to spend more time on a certain area. If the pressure is too light or too firm, you should speak up and ask the therapist to adjust it. Swedish Massage usually includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension, but if you truly want deeper, more intensive work and firmer pressure, book a Deep Tissue Massage.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue Massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. Deep Tissue Massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish Massage, but the pressure will generally be more intense. It is also a more focussed type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots (also known as "adhesions.")
Will a Deep Tissue Massage hurt?
It shouldn't hurt, but it's likely to be a bit more uncomfortable than a classic Swedish Massage. You should always feel free to speak up if the pressure is too much for you.
It's important to drink a lot of water after a Deep Tissue Massage to help flush lactic acid out of the tissues. If you don't, you might be sore the next day.
It's possible that you might feel some soreness the day after a Deep Tissue Massage even if you do drink water. This just means a lot of waste products were flushed out of the tissues. It should pass within a day or so.
How fast will I get results with aDeep Tissue Massage?
It's important to be realistic about what can be achieved by Deep Tissue Massage. Many people ask for more pressure, thinking that if the therapist just pushes hard enough, they can get rid of all their knots in an hour. This just won't happen.
In fact, undoing chronic knots and tension built up over a lifetime is best achieved with an integrated program that includes exercise, working on your posture and ways of moving, relaxation techniques and a regular program of massage.
Finally, while Deep Tissue Massage is certainly valuable, you should be aware that gentle styles of massage therapy can also produce profound release and realignment in the body.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils that are thought to have healing properties. These oils are the concentrated essences taken from the flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves and barks of certain plants. There are about 400 essential oils, but only about 40 are commonly used in Aromatherapy. Aromatherapists believe Aromatherapy can boost well-being, relieve stress and help to refresh your body. In Aromatherapy Massage, essential oils are usually mixed with a carrier oil like sweet almond, apricot kernel, or grapeseed oil. A relaxing aromatherapy massage, for instance, might have lavender or bergamot, while a massage for sore muscles might include peppermint and eucalyptus. Before your first Aromatherapy Massage session, your massage therapist will conduct an initial consultation with you to learn about your desired outcome. They might ask about the current state of your work life, home life, physical health and mental state to learn about what you need.
How does Aromatherapy work?
There are a couple of theories to explain how Aromatherapy might work. The first is that you directly absorb the oils through the skin into your bloodstream. The oil can then travel through your body and have an effect on a specific organ or function in your body.
Aromatherapy Massage is the alternative therapeutic technique which combines the natural therapeutic properties of the essential oils and the healing power of massage therapy. Aromatherapy Massage not only has powerful physical, emotional and mental effects but it is also described as a great relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Aromatherapy Massage has positive effect on a wide range of health conditions of nervous, circulatory, lymphatic, immune and muscular systems. Aromatherapy Massage is a pleasant method for mental clarity, relaxation, alleviation of stress and headache. It relaxes, balances, harmonizes and strengthens the entire body and supports the body in its own healing process and encourages a healthy immune system to fight infection. The subtle aroma of the essential oils fills the air around you during the massage!
Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands. Reflexology provides relaxation to the entire body, reduces tension and stress, decreases anxiety, enhances sleep quality, raises energy levels throughout the body, cleanses the body of toxins and impurities, improves concentration, increases blood circulation, reduces fatigue, relaxes the mind & body and restores the energy of the body for healing.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot Stone Massage is a specialty massage where the therapist uses smooth, heated stones, either as an extension of their own hands, or by placing them on the body while they massage other parts of the body. The heat can be both deeply relaxing and help warm up tight muscles so the therapist can work more deeply, more quickly.
Before the massage, the massage therapist sanitizes the stones and heats them. The stones themselves are usually basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat well, and have been smoothed by natural forces in the river or sea.
You usually start face down, with the therapist working on your back. First, the therapist warms up the body with traditional Swedish Massage. then massages you while holding a heated stone. As the stone cools, the therapist replaces it with another. The therapist uses many stones of various shapes and sizes, big ones on big muscles and smaller ones on smaller muscles.
The therapist might also leave heated stones in specific points along your spine, in the palms of your hand, on your belly, or even between your toes to improve the flow of energy in your body. Many therapists believe that the stones themselves have an energetic charge and that needs to be maintained by placing them in a spiral pattern; placing them in a full moon periodically.
Be sure to speak up if the stones are too warm or the pressure too intense. And you can always ask the therapist to stop using the stones if you don't like how it feels.
Who shouldn't get Hot Stone Massage?
Hot Stone Massage is not appropriate if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are on medication that thins your blood. You shouldn't get a Hot Stone Massage if you are pregnant or have sunburn. You also may want to reconsider if you are menopausal, as it may trigger a hot flash.
Thai massage is a system of massage and manipulation developed in Thailand, and influenced by the traditional medicine systems of India, China, and Southeast Asia, as well as by yoga.
The massage recipient changes into loose, comfortable clothing and lies on a mat or firm mattress on the floor. The receiver may be positioned in a variety of yoga-like positions during the course of the massage, but deep static and rhythmic pressures form the core of the massage.
The massage practitioner leans on the recipient's body using hands and usually straight forearms locked at the elbow to apply firm rhythmic pressure. The massage generally follows designated lines ("sen") in the body. The legs and feet of the giver can be used to position the body or limbs of the recipient. In other positions, hands fix the body, while the feet do the massaging. A full Thai massage session typically two hours or more, and includes rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body. This may include pulling fingers, toes, ears, cracking knuckles, walking on the recipient's back, and moving the recipient's body into many different positions. There is a standard procedure and rhythm to the massage, which the practitioner will adjust to fit each individual client.
The claimed benefits of Thai massage include relief from asthma, migraines, sprains, bruises, anxiety, relief of physical and emotional tension, improved sleep, improved flexibility, greater awareness of body and mind, and a release of blocked energy.
While Swedish massage permits the recipient to zone out and relax, Thai massage encourages the recipient to become more engaged and energized, for increased mindfulness.
Balinese massage is a full-body, deep-tissue, holistic treatment. Balinese massage uses a combination of gentle stretches, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and "qi" (energy) around your body, and bring a sense of wellbeing, calm and deep relaxation. Balinese massage uses a variety of techniques including skin rolling, kneading and stroking, and pressure-point stimulation, combined with the aromas of essential oils.
Balinese massage is a good treatment to choose if you want to experience a variety of massage techniques, need some help to relax, or if you're feeling a bit low. A relaxation massage with attitude, this treatment will help you feel calm, but it will boost your circulation and target knotted tissue to address physical issues as well.
You will feel relaxed, refreshed and re-energised after a Balinese masage. You will probably smell fantastic after all those essential oils, too. If you have the chance to lie down afterwards, take it. Soak in the wonderful feelings of relaxation and realignment for as long as you can.
Balinese massage techniques work to soothe damaged tissue, and relieve strained muscles and joint pain. The boost to your circulation will help reduce stress and rebalance your body, and the aromatic oils can also boost your mood. As this massage targets deeper layers of muscle, and boosts circulation, Balinese massage is useful for sports injuries.