Many don’t realize how many forms of massage and bodywork exist (a lot), but before you start stressing about what type of massage you should receive, keep in mind that an experienced massage therapist typically has knowledge across multiple techniques.
A good massage therapist will listen carefully to your complaints and will use multiple techniques to address your issues.
Having said that, there are times when you’ll want to find the best massage therapist for a specific issue, or perhaps you’re the adventurous type and want to experience different forms of massage.
When considering which techniques are of most interest to you, it can be helpful to think of massage in two distinct ways, Relaxation vs. Therapeutic.
Massage for relaxation or stress relief
If you’re feeling tense, overworked and underappreciated, a massage can be a great way to get yourself back into a happier, more relaxed state. The benefits of massage are numerous, including lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation to tight areas, and creating an overall sense of well being.
The most popular massage technique in this category is Swedish massage, which uses long, gliding strokes along with muscle kneading and a few other methods. Another popular form of massage in this category includes hot stone massage. Relaxation massage is one of the few things in life that feels good and is good for you.
When you have an acute or chronic injury, are experiencing pain, or are looking for help with a specific condition, you’ll want to get a better understanding of which techniques will be most effective. Painful issues commonly treated by massage include sciatica, back and neck pain and muscle strains. Effectively treating these issues requires a very good understanding of muscular anatomy and deeper, more specific massage techniques.
Among the most popular of these techniques are Acupressure and Neuromuscular massage. Practitioners trained in this method understand how the nervous and muscular systems work together and can effectively treat a number of painful conditions in very targeted and specific ways.