Everything you should know about massage isn’t as basic and readily available as you thought. When last did you see a massage therapist? You’ve probably heard about the benefits of massage from your mom and friends – so why haven’t you booked a session? Not to worry, I’m here to help you make the decision – you’ll send a thank you note to me afterward.
The idea of being under the hands of someone might feel weird to you – and hey, you might have to go buck naked. But, the benefits of a massage session far outweigh the discomfort and unease you are thinking about.
Read on and find out a comprehensive detail of what your massage sessions will feel like.
The Right Type of Massage For You
Massage therapy isn’t a new kid on the block. It has been practiced in most cultures, especially the western and eastern culture for several centuries. Historians have rightly affirmed that massage was used as a tool in relieving pain back in the days – and it works! Massage comes in different forms – Swedish, sports, clinical massage, and sorts – all of which has its individual uses and benefits. So, sit back and relax, you are going to enjoy this.
Swedish massage is the general feel-good massage you get in spas. It is the most common type of massage in the United States. Your massage therapist employs the use of her hands, forearms, and elbows to manipulate superficial layers of your muscles – it creates a supple feel to your muscles – which is why it is called feel-good massage.
Primarily, Swedish massage is used for physical relaxation, reduced muscle tension, and increased joint range of motion. This form of massage is relatively safe and linked with improved quality of sleep – most people sleep off on the massage table. It’s that calming and relaxing!
If you are new to massage, you should start with this.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is often used in chronic issues like injury rehabilitation and muscle pain. It focuses on a specific region.
It is used in treating conditions like low back pain, repetitive strain injury, postural problems, and muscle tension. Physical and massage therapists employ the techniques of deep tissue massage like sliding and friction in treating specific conditions like osteoarthritis pain, fibromyalgia, and sciatica, among others.
You can probably figure out from the name that this technique originated from Japan. You are right.
Ashiatsu is a massage technique performed with bare feet – ‘ashiatsu’ literally means foot pressure in Japanese. Using the feet provides a more in-depth and broad pressure on muscles, relieving tension, and strain. Reduced deep-seated pain, improved flexibility, muscle stretch, and long-lasting effects compared to other forms of massage are few benefits of ashiatsu.
Reflexology works with acupuncture points on the feet and ankles – its theory states there is a corresponding body part to every acupuncture point in the feet. The spot between the big toe and second toe for headache relief, the neck of the foot for menstrual cramps, sole for bladder pain.
Reflexology has been around for some time and is quite famous. British scientists tried to explain this phenomenon in the 1890s but only came up with a nerve mapping of the body. Anyway, while we may not know precisely how, we know it works – the wonders of science.
Sports massage is specifically tailored towards athletic training and performance. It provides loads of benefits, especially pre and post sporting activities and in prevention and management of injury.
Sports massage works with almost the same techniques and methods as with deep tissue massage. Although, in sports massage, techniques are targeted at injuries specific to sport as compared to deep tissue massage.
Myofascial release is a clinical massage. It’s a form of massage used to relieve tightness in the fascia – a tissue covering of muscles and organs. Fascia tightness results in pain and reduced joint range of motion. All of which is resolved by the sustained pressure from myofascial release – think of this form of massage as foam rolling.
Now that you know a bit about the six basic types of massage (that doesn’t make you an expert yet though), here are few things your massage therapist will rather have you know:
It’s okay to be naked
Of course, it’s not comfortable to be clad in just your birthday suit while a stranger’s hands are all over you, but trust me, it’s normal. Your therapist is a professional and understands the ethics of the profession, so relax and strip!
To relax, you have to breathe easy
It may be tempting to hold your breath while your therapist works out a knot in your muscles. If you do this, you’d frustrate the efforts of your massage therapist and deprive yourself of the benefits of the session.
Drink lots of water after your session
By now, you should know the tremendous benefits of staying hydrated. Drinking water post-massage is similar to drinking water post-workout. It is beneficial in building muscle tissue and removing metabolic wastes.
A warm soak before your appointment is a great idea
To fully enjoy your massage session, you should prepare beforehand. A long, warm soak will help you relax and clean up. You and your therapist will appreciate your cleanliness – for obvious reasons! Remember, you are going buck naked.
Be comfortable with unexpected body functions
The primary goal of massage is to get you relaxed. A bit of grumbling in your GI tract, and even flatulence, isn’t a thing to be ashamed of. But hey, it’s courteous of you to let your therapist know before letting go. Additionally, sexual arousal is quite common during a massage session. So, you have nothing to be embarrassed about – your therapist is a professional and will manage the situation appropriately.
I believe you have a grip on everything you should know about massage. Next time a friend invites you along to the spa, jump on the chance to enjoy this enthralling experience. Believe me; you’ll soon be scheduling multiple appointments.