Swedish massage is only the beginning. Get to know the world of massage therapy options and choose the best one for you.
So your muscles are tense and you’re ready for a massage. But the tick boxes on the spa’s website seem endless. Swedish or deep tissue? Eastern-style or Western-style?
Get to know the different types of massages and discuss the right treatment with your Registered Massage Therapist (RMT).
Here are eight types of massage therapy treatments and their health benefits:
This is the probably most well-known form of massage. It’s meant to relax the body and increase circulation by massaging the soft tissues, according to the Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy. Massaging strokes include kneading, rubbing, vibration, and even stretching and bending of the joints. Swedish massage focuses on relaxing your muscles and joints without going very deep.
This type of massage uses more pressure to reach deeper into muscles and tendons. It targets the network of connective tissues that surround, support and inhabit muscles, bones, organs and nerves. Deep tissue massage can help relieve chronic pain, according to the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario. It can also help with pain and stiffness from arthritis.
Areas of muscle tightness or “knots” are the target during this treatment. It combines the techniques of Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. A trigger point is an area of the body that’s causing discomfort somewhere else, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can cause headaches and other symptoms.
Pregnant women often feel pain in their lower back, legs or hips and may suffer from swelling. There is evidence that massage can help pregnant women with mental health, low-back pain and labour pain. It can also reduce the risk of premature birth, according to the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
A sports massage is for athletes of all levels – from weekend warriors to elite performers. Some athletes get sports massages as a warm up before a high-intensity workout or game. These massages can help with blood flow, prevent injuries and improve recovery times, according to the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario.
Hot stone massage uses heated stones to massage and relax sore muscles with or without pressure. During this type of massage, the RMT will place smooth, flat stones on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually basalt, a type of volcanic rock that holds heat. RMTs using Swedish massage techniques sometimes use hot stones too.
Practiced by ancient cultures for centuries, an aromatherapy massage uses essential oils. Popular scents include peppermint, lavender, lemon, bergamot, and rose to name a few. Your RMT will use oils in Swedish, deep tissue or any other type of massage. Aromatherapy can help you relax and it may help with sleep, too. One study found that nurses working rotating night shifts reported better overall sleep with an aromatherapy massage versus aromatherapy alone.
Reflexology relies on the theory that parts of your body map to other areas of your body, the Reflexology Association of Canada says. So, for example, pressure on a certain part of your foot could help with stomach pain. The RMT will follow a reflexology map. The map shows which reflex point on the hand or foot will stimulate a particular organ or body part. Research in this area is limited. But there is evidence that reflexology can help with pain, mental health and sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Be sure to get the right treatment for you. Call our clinic today to find a registered massage therapist who specializes in the type of massage you’re interested in.