This is the most common type of massage. It uses smooth and gentle motions on superficial layers of muscle.
Among its many benefits are:
- improved circulation
- pain relief
- release of tension
It can be very relaxing and is considered a good choice for someone new to this type of therapy.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage but uses slower motions with more pressure on specific areas. Its purpose is to break down bands of painful tissues in muscles in order to increase circulation, range of motion and relieve pain.
There is usually some soreness after this type of massage. When it is used to treat athletic injuries, it is called “sports massage” and incorporates assisted stretching.
Pre-Natal or Pregnancy Massage
Therapists who have been specially trained in this type of massage know what is safe for both the baby and the mother.
Massage helps expectant mothers with various difficulties such as:
- joint pain
- back pain
Pre-Natal Massage uses specific techniques to support and position the body, and it never uses the deep tissue type of motions.
This type of massage concentrates on the feet, applying pressure to spots that correspond to other parts of the body.
There is no tickling because firm pressure is used, but not to the point of pain.
The purpose of Reflexology is to relieve stress and tension in various parts of the body through the use of particular zones on the feet. It soothes tired feet and improves circulation, along with the added benefit of overall relaxation.
This style of massage uses finger and thumb pressure more than the palm of the hands.
One style applies pressure to specific spots based on western anatomical knowledge; the other is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine applying pressure rhythmically to acupuncture sites.
Hot Stone Massage
This specialty massage uses heated smooth stones. These are applied to the body with gentle pressure to warm and relax muscles and to improve circulation.
The therapist may simply place the stones on the body, or apply pressure or even massage the back with them. Sometimes the stones are used as a preliminary way to relax the muscles before hands are used for massage.