Come Back to 'Life' with Massage Therapy
Halloween is a beautiful time of year filled with so much imagination, candy, and ghouls…. but what’s truly scary is the amount of stress and anxiety many of us carry with us every day. Sometimes it just weighs us down so much that we lose all motivation to be productive and keep moving forward. So, what can we do when we feel like there’s nothing to do? Find ways to unwind and relax our minds so that we become well-rested, recharged, and ready to go!
Many ghouls and goblins are skeptical of the whole massage therapy circuit and whether it’s truly effective for overall stress relief. Because there are so many techniques and tools for massage, we’ve broken down massages, their best uses, and what may be the best choice for you. Check it out!
Swedish massage is a full-body massage that is perfect for those just now stepping into the massage scene. Outside of beginners, Swedish massages are also great for those who are sensitive to touch. It uses light pressure in a kneading motion rather than digging deep to relieve muscle tension. If you have minor aches and pains and are just looking for a good relaxation outlet, this is the massage for you. It is also an excellent technique for those who experience a lot of tension relatively often. For those who will need more repetitive sessions, you may like the pressure and healing effects of this style.
Like the Swedish massage, this massage type also uses light pressure to relieve aches and pains. Shiatsu massages are a Japanese practice and have an emotional healing aspect that others don’t. This style promotes calmness, a reduction in stress and anxiety, and reduces muscle pains. For those who want a more targeted massage, the therapist can fixate on particular muscle groups to promote healing in those areas as well. You can also remain fully clothed for a Shiatsu massage in case you are worried about undressing during your appointment.
Aromatherapy massages are used for emotional and mental healing as an addition to the physical massage. Massage therapists will use a diluted form of essential oils that are safe to the touch and will be absorbed through the skin throughout the duration of the massage. You will also experience essential oils in the air that also promote a calming experience. Essential oils are known to improve your mood and to reduce stress and anxiety. Effects will vary on the essential oils chosen and if you aren’t sure what to choose, your massage therapist won’t steer you wrong. Each have their own healing properties and benefits to the user. For example,
Thyme – reduces fatigue and a nervous mind
Lavender – aides in relaxation and a deeper sleep
Rosemary – improves circulation, memory, and can prevent unwanted muscle spasms
The “Fun Uncle” of massage and the lazy person’s yoga, a Thai massage is a little different than the massages you hear about every day. Instead of the normal massage techniques, this massage style employs pulling, stretching, and other movements to promote pain relief and relaxation. For those struggling with mobility or a lessened range of motion, this style will help with flexibility and get those joints moving more fluidly. You must be willing to surrender control as your massage therapist stretches and moves your body into positions that will best stretch and relieve your body of aches and pains.
This Asian technique works to align chakras and your internal energies so that there are no imbalances, further improving your overall well-being.
In contrast to Swedish massages, more pressure is used during deep-tissue massages to reach, you guessed it, the tissues deeper within the muscle. This is where connective tissues are targeted as well. These support the normal binding and support functions throughout the body, so you want to treat muscles quickly if any built up tension resides here. This is an excellent option for those suffering from injury as well as it promotes a steadier blood flow in the muscles and can aid in quicker healing. If you are sensitive to touch, this method is not recommended for you as they use deep stroking, sweeping motions on the skin to get a release of knots deeper down. For those who don’t mind the extra pressure, you should not be in pain during the massage so if you feel your massage therapist is using too much force, speak up! They value your feedback and want to give you a pleasurable experience.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massages are great for relieving muscle tension and promoting a better blood flow. Much like a Swedish massage, this technique uses light but steady pressure to remove knots in the muscles but uses stones as a tool in prepping the trouble areas prior to the massage. By applying heat to knots before massages, the knots are already primed and loosening up even before pressure is applied. Massage therapists may also choose to use cool stones intermittently or a warm stone as an actual tool during the massage process, using the stone to knead the knot. This is excellent for relieving stress, reducing pain, and eases chronic pains you may experience every day. However, if you are recovering from a recent surgery or injury, hot stone massage is not recommended for you. In this case, improved blood flow with flood the injury and produce even more swelling and inflammation than before.
Reflexology sounds like a made-up science but it’s actually a technique commonly practiced by many massage therapists. It releases tension in the hands and feet because soreness in these muscle groups are said to be connected to and caused by disruptions in other organs or body parts. In Chinese practice, other medical issues within the body can be determined by the deferred pain found within the hands and feet. To relieve these body aches and pains, you can apply prolonged pressure to the corresponding pressure point until the pain melts away. This is an excellent method for promoting healing within the body and is said to be more effective in post-surgical patients than body massage for pain relief.
Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point therapy uses continual pressure to relieve knotted muscles, improving overall muscle movement. By applying firm pressure for 30-40 seconds on a knotted muscle, you can feel the muscle release, relieving pain caused by the tension. You can do these massages anywhere, especially at home if you are working from home. It doesn’t require much energy and is a very quick massage technique if you’re in a time crunch. Some resort to using a wall and tennis ball for pain relief but there are actual massage tools that make that practice obsolete. A Body Back Buddy or DaVinci tool, for example, use that targeted pressure mentioned above to release tight knots in the muscle. Both are excellent for trigger point therapy, but if you want a more intuitive experience straight out of the box, we recommend trying the Body Back Buddy Elite which treats trigger points all over the body in no time flat!
There’s truly a massage technique for everyone, with all kinds of stresses, anxieties, or chronic pains. Find the one that best suits your needs and a massage therapist you trust. You may realize you love it and now have a new favorite hobby!
Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!
Brazier, Yvette. "Aromatherapy: What you need to know." Edited by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D. Medical News Today, 20 Mar. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10884#visiting_an_aromatherapist. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.
Cronkleton, Emily. "What Are the Different Types of Massages?" Edited by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D. Healthline, 14 Nov. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/types-of-massage#trigger-point. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.
Scotti, Ariel. "4 Hot Stone Massage Benefits That Totally Surprised Us (And 1 Important Reason to Skip Them)." PureWow, 15 Dec. 2019, www.purewow.com/wellness/hot-stone-massage-benefits. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
Wong, Cathy. "Reflexology Overview." Edited by Rochelle Collins, DO. Very Well Health, 13 Nov. 2019, www.verywellhealth.com/reflexology-what-you-need-to-know-89995. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.
---. "Very Well Health." Edited by Meredith Bull, ND. Thai Massage Technique and Benefits, 29 Mar. 2020, www.verywellhealth.com/thai-massage-90010. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.