6 Popular Massage Styles for Massage NewbiesMay 4, 2023
There are many different styles of massages out there. Your favorite type will depend on personal preference or what your body is craving for at that moment. If you are new to massage, then the choices can seem overwhelming. We have compiled a list and descriptions of the most popular styles of massage sg so you are armed with at least a basic knowledge.
1. Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is the foundation for many Western styles of massages, including sports massage, deep tissue massage, and aromatherapy massage. The name originates from the Swedish inventor of the technique in the 1800′s.
Generally, a Swedish massage is received nude and covered with a sheet. The therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on, a technique called “draping.” However, a modest client may feel more comfortable keeping their underwear on and that is perfectly acceptable.
The massage therapists use massage oils or lotions to facilitate smooth, gliding strokes called effleurage. Other classic Swedish massage moves include kneading, friction, stretching and (sometimes) tapping. These are the basic strokes and the therapist flows from one technique to another with light to moderate pressure.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage therapy focuses on reaching and affecting deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue.
Typically, it is used in aiding chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, tight back muscles, and sore shoulders.
Most of the strokes are the same as those mentioned in the Swedish massage, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper. The therapist uses thumbs and elbows to gain deeper penetration to muscle tissue to target adhesion’s (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesion’s to restore normal muscle function and movement. It’s normal to feel some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage but this should resolve in a day or so.
Deep tissue massage is often used by athletes and active people to keep the body free of injury and ready for action.
3. Sports Massage
Sports massage does have some aims in common with other forms of massage. It is important for the therapist to have a complete understanding of anatomy and physiology of the muscul0keletal systems. By understanding these systems and the effects of exercise, intelligently applied massage may benefit the sports person and becomes an integral part of the athlete’s training program.
Again the basic strokes are similar but applied in a more therapeutic manner depending on the athletes requirements. Stretching is incorporated into the massage and the therapist may focus on one part of the body rather than the whole.
Sports massage can be performed 45 mins before an event, an hour after the event and as part of an athletes regular training program.
4. Lomi Lomi Massage
Lomi Lomi is a Hawaiian style of massage. Perhaps this can best be understood by one of the alternate names for Lomi Lomi, and that is “Loving Hands” massage.
To understand the depth of Lomi Lomi massage, it helps to have an understanding of the Hawaiian philosophy called Huna, and how the philosophies of Huna relate to bodywork and healing. Huna is simply the belief that everything seeks harmony and everything seeks love.
Lomi Lomi penetrates gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous, flowing strokes, totally nurturing the body and, enabling the recipient to relax, give in and simply be. So technique is an important part of the massage, but much of the work is done by love, the therapist focusing on the client using loving hands and a loving heart.
The combination of total energy, long continuous flowing strokes, and loving touch, relaxes the entire being. The aim is to assist in a letting go of old beliefs, patterns and behaviours that cause limitations, which are stored in the cells of our body.
5. Shiatsu Massage
When visiting a practitioner of shiatsu massage, wear thin, loose, and comfortable clothing, such as cotton or linen. In a traditional shiatsu massage you can expect to lie flat on the floor, a beaded mat, or a futon.
Shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from the imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”) through the body.
The practitioners will use their fingers and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points on the body’s energy pathways, known as meridiens. They often use other techniques such as rocking, stretches, and joint rotations. Another therapy type called acupressure is based on the shiatsu system of massage.
6. Thai Massage
Thai massage is an ancient type of massage first developed in India thousands of years ago and was performed only by Buddhist monks. The Thai culture later adopted the same techniques into the modern form of the massage practiced today.
As with a shiatsu massage, wear thin, loose, comfortable clothing, as you can expect to lie flat on the floor, a beaded mat, or a futon.
Thai massage is more energizing and rigorous than more classic forms of massage and is often called Thai yoga massage.