Massage is as old as human civilisation and has served in almost all cultures as an alternative to traditional medical interventions. Massage has been known to have numerous benefits, with a specific impact on the nerves and muscles. Massages also provide psychological relief from stress and anxiety. It is advisable to have regular, planned massages in order to reap the maximum benefit from the process.
Massage, due to its presence across all countries of the world, shows a staggering range of diversity. It is estimated that there may be up to 80 different forms of massage. There are both modern and indigenous styles of massages and choosing the most appropriate style from the wide variety of choices could be difficult. Curated below are six of the most popular massage styles.
1. Swedish massage
Swedish massage is by far the most popular massage style employed worldwide. It is alternatively referred to as Classic massage. The style uses four cardinal strokes to stimulate the skin and muscles. The strokes are smooth, lightly pressured and are administered using the palms and fingers of the hand. It is known to improve blood flow.
2. Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage engages the eponymous deep tissues and targets muscle stiffness and tension. The strokes used here are deliberate, slow and focussed on a particular pain point or tense knots of muscles. The symptoms caused by chronic muscle injuries are often relieved by this style of massage. This is an intense massage as the deep tissues are manipulated.
3. Shiatsu massage
This massage of Japanese provenance eschews deep tissue engagement or sweeping strokes. The massage therapist rather engages the acupressure points of the body. Pressure is applied at these sites in a controlled manner leaving the client feeling light and refreshed. The imbalances in the flow of energies are corrected with this type of massage.
4. Thai massage
Thai massage involves the greatest amount of passive activity for the client. This massage style relies on the movement of the body for muscle relaxation. The therapist plays puppeteer and flexes and extends the limbs of the client into therapeutic poses. This results in a feeling of litheness as the muscles are relaxed and supple.
5. Sports massage
This variation of the Swedish massage is popular among persons who may be amateur or professional athletes. This massage helps alleviate the physical stress placed on the body by sports. The focus here is on injury prevention and rehabilitation, with stretching of muscles incorporated into the routine.
6. Trigger point massage
Also called Trigger point therapy, this massage style sharpens the focus onto the muscle fibres responsible for causing pain in a localised part of the body. The technique used here is that of application of cycles of pressure over the affected part.
These six styles of massage have found popular acceptance and are time-tested solutions. While a whole gamut of massage styles exist, these can be relied upon to make one’s massage session truly effective.