While there are many distinctly different massages professionally trained massage therapists can offer their clients, Swedish massage is unquestionably one of the most recognized and popular massages techniques offered.
Swedish massage is good for you
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s study on massages found that people who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced some remarkable and quantifiable health benefits, including:
- a significant decrease in the stress hormone cortisol,
- a boost in the number of lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that are necessary to protect the immune system
- an increase in the oxygen levels in the blood
- an improvement in overall circulation
- a release of chronic muscle tension
- an increase in joint flexibility
What does a Swedish massage feel like?
During a Swedish massage, your therapist will first apply massage oil or lotion to your body and then employ long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. These purposeful movements help to warm your muscle tissue, release tension, and release those tight “knots” you may have been experiencing in your neck, shoulders, or back. In addition, Swedish massage may also incorporate the use of other techniques: circular pressure that is applied by his/her hands and palms, a firm kneading of the muscles, a percussion-like tapping, and even stretching of the joints and muscles.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Deep tissue massage focuses on the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue in your body by using firm pressure and slow, deliberate strokes. People who suffer from chronic pain, high blood pressure, or muscle injury and overuse tend to benefit most from deep tissue massage.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic condition or serious injury, you can experience numerous benefits from regular deep tissue sessions. These benefits include:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced stress hormone levels
- Enhanced mood
- Better relaxation
Additionally, deep tissue massage helps to break up scar tissue, which is often the cause of continuous pain and stiffness after surgery.
What to Expect During a Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue is similar to Swedish massage, but uses slower, deeper strokes. The massage professional may even use specially designed massage tools or their elbow in certain areas to apply pressure.
Be sure to communicate openly with your massage therapist about the pressure they’re using and your comfort level. Some pain is to be expected, but it should be manageable and should never feel like you’re “bracing” your muscles.
Source: 2Book Inc.
Although geared towards athletes, sports massage can be of benefit to a wide range of people
Sports massage therapy is a form of deep tissue massage that often also incorporates myofascial techniques to assist in correcting imbalances and problems in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and in connective tissues. The therapy works most of the muscle groups in the body but is concentrated on areas of particular concern.
Sports massage is used to correct specific problems and provide relief from muscle and joint injuries. It can also be used as a recovery aid between workouts to enhance performance by promoting flexibility, increasing endurance, aiding in the prevention of further injuries and can even help reduce fatigue and recovery time after injury.
Compared to other massage techniques, one of the main unique benefits of sports massage is its increased ability to target the muscle-tendon junctions. As described in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a study in 2010 found that even a 30-second massage improved the range of motion in the hip-flexor. It is suggested that to gain the maximum benefit from sports massage, it should be a part of an overall training and recuperation regime and that it should be undertaken around once a week.