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It’s common that some of my first-time clients come to me and ask, “Curt, there are so many different kinds of massages out there. Which one is right for me?” As my old teachers used to say, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. There ARE many options when it comes to massage therapy. In this post, I hope to identify which one may be right for you.

The most common form of massage is the Swedish Massage. Often the first massage technique that we therapists learn, it’s best known for its ability to bring the body into a state of relaxation. This type of massage is reserved to the upper most layers of the skin and muscle, and doesn’t involve deep tissue. A Swedish massage is an excellent choice for those seeking their very first massage.

A sports massage is great for preventing and treating sports-related injuries.

Next up is the Sports Massage. This type of massage is great for treating sports-related injuries, and can be effective in preventing injuries. During a Sports Massage session, muscles and ligaments are stretched and lengthened, resulting in improved athletic performance.  Just what every athlete wants, right?

Another well-known form of massage is the Deep Tissue Massage. A personal favorite for many, a deep tissue massage great for treating various types of chronic pain. As the name suggests, this massage variation goes deep into the muscle and tissue. One thing to note about this particular form is that due to the amount of friction used, patients may experience a slight degree of discomfort during or immediately following the treatment. But you shouldn’t worry – most people experience a little tenderness or soreness post-massage.

Up next? The Hot Stone Massage. Many of my patients really enjoy this detour from a traditional Swedish or Deep-Tissue Massage every once and awhile. This form of massage uses heated stones that are placed on certain points in the body. Widely believed to bring balance to the body, the heat from the stones relaxes tight and tense muscles. And it simply feels good!

Reflexology can help relieve tension in other related areas of our body.

Reflexology is more involved than simply massaging the feet, contrary to popular belief. It’s a natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears — and that stimulation and massage on these points will connect with various points throughout the body. Reflexology can relieve tension, improve circulation and help promote the natural function of the related areas of the body.

Aromatherapy Massage uses one or more scented plant oils, known as essential oils, to address specific needs. The massage therapist can select oils that help relax, reduce stress, energize and/or balance, based on the needs of the client. One of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy massage is lavender. Aromatherapy massage is an excellent choice for those with stress-related conditions.

Spa Therapies is a type of massage commonly found at spas and resorts. It may be a combination of other types of massage, including aromatherapy, deep tissue, reflexology, hydrotherapy and much more.

Thai Massage is like doing yoga, without you having to do any work! This style aligns the energies of the body using gentle pressure on specific points, where the therapist moves and stretches you into a sequence of postures. More energizing than other forms, it also reduces stress, improves flexibility and range of motion.

A Thai Massage is like doing yoga, without you having to do any work!

A form of Japanese bodywork, Shiatsu uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture energy pathways to perform a deep tissue impact. Each point is held for 2-8 seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain equilibrium. Although the firm pressure is applied, people are pleasantly surprised to find themselves uber-relaxed without any soreness post-massage.

We can’t forget Pregnancy Massage. Also known as Prenatal Massage, this form is used to help promote circulation, relaxation and reduce stress in expectant mothers. I must stress that it is critical that pregnant women use a professional to perform this massage, as too much stimulation may have a negative effect on the baby.

Prenatal massage can help expectant mothers with increased circulation and relaxation.

Of course, with any massage, you should first seek the opinion of your massage therapist. Tell them how you’re feeling. Do you feel stress, tension or pain in any part of your body? Do you have any current injuries and illnesses that the therapist should be aware of? Any reputable massage therapist will ask you these questions (and more) before your treatment starts. Hopefully, this post has helped you identify which style of massage therapy might be right for you!

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About Balanced Mind & Soul

Balanced Mind & Soul is a massage blog written by a practicing, nationally certified licensed massage therapist, and offers tips, pointers and information about improved health and wellness.

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