Message therapy is an ancient healing art dating back thousands of years. It involves the application of various manipulation techniques to the many muscles and soft tissues of the body. There are many different techniques and types of massage, but the intention is usually the same—to reduce stress and fatigue and improve circulation and healing. This is beneficial for both those looking to relax and those looking for relief from painful or annoying health conditions.
Depending on your situation and desired outcome, different types of massage may be more beneficial than others. Two of the most common massage kinds are superficial massage and deep tissue massage. Each includes different methods, techniques, and outcomes.
For those looking to relax and relieve physical or emotional stress and tension, superficial massage is usually best. Superficial massage is also commonly referred to as “Swedish massage”. It is arguably one of the most common types of massage within the United States. During a superficial massage, the massage therapist uses various soothing strokes, circular movements and kneading motions to loosen up any knots and tightness in the superficial layers of muscle. The primary goals of this type of massage are to improve circulation and help the person relax. This type of massage can also be accompanied by aromatherapy, heat and ice massage, or hot stone massage.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is another common massage technique. Different from superficial massage, however, deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. During a deep tissue massage, the massage therapist will often use many similar strokes and techniques as those used during a superficial massage, however, often with more pressure. The primary goal of this type of massage is healing. Deep tissue massage is used for those who have been injured, for chronic muscle tightness and pain, and for postural problems. It is recommended that in the days following a deep tissue massage that a person drinks lots of water and takes time to stretch in order to help flush impurities out of the body and prevent soreness.
Benefits of Message Therapy
There are many reported physical and mental benefits of message therapy. Some of the most common include:
- whole body relaxation
- increased blood circulation and healing
- loosening of tight muscles
- improved ability for mental relaxation
- stress relief
- increased range of motion
- released endorphins
- pain relief