What is massage therapy and what can it do?
Massage therapy is the skilled manipulation of muscles and connective tissue. It relieves physical pain, promotes healthy circulation, reduces stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and increases focus and alertness.
What types of massage are there?
Here are a few of the many types of massage:
- Swedish Massage uses lotion or oil and involves fluid strokes over the entire body. This is what likely comes to mind when someone hears “massage.”
- Zen Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork. It uses acupressure from the thumbs and fingers along meridian lines through the body.
- Deep Tissue Massage is perhaps misnamed. It does not depend entirely on the depth of pressure, but works with the deeper structures of the body to help with postural alignment and muscular and joint pain.
- Sports Massage targets specific structures of the body to rehabilitate sport-related injuries. It is also used before and after sporting events to aid warming up and cooling down.
- Thai Massage involves a variety of stretches and compressions to increase flexibility and energize the body.
- Reflexology works on points in the feet and hands to affect the entire body.
- Chair Massage combines elements of several types of massage and is performed in a chair instead of on a table or mat.
Which type of massage is right for me?
Everyone has their own specific needs and desires when it comes to massage therapy, and that makes this question impossible to answer for everyone. The best way to find out is research. If one of the types mentioned above sounds interesting, click the links above to learn more about it. Or better yet, contact a local massage therapist and tell him or her about your needs so he or she can advise you. Don’t be afraid to ask around for multiple opinions.
Do I have to be naked to receive massage?
No, many clients leave on their underwear while receiving massage. I always encourage my clients to undress to the level of their comfort. The client remains dressed for Shiatsu, Thai, and Chair massage.
What should I do during a massage?
Two things: Relax and Communicate! Of course, relaxing can be different from person to person. Some clients will chat and others prefer to remain silent. Falling asleep is perfectly normal and nothing to be embarrassed about!
A massage therapy session is for you, and communication will help create the session that you want. Offer feedback on the depth of pressure, where the therapist is working, and what feels good or not. No matter how skilled a massage therapist is, you are the final authority for how things feel in your body.
What’s the difference between a masseuse and a massage therapist?
A massage therapist is a health care practitioner who has completed 500 to 1000+ hours of training and is certified by a national board and licensed to practice in his or her state. “Masseuse” and “masseur” are archaic terms for female and male massage practitioners, respectively, and have often been used by individuals with no certification, sometimes with a sexual connotation. Sexual conduct is absolutely inappropriate in a massage therapist/client relationship, so modern massage therapists abhor these terms.