The other morning I woke up not having had a particularly pleasant nights sleep. It had taken me ages to drop off and what sleep I did manage was quite fitful. I get tense and cranky when I don’t get my required number of hours in bed and that means that everyone around me suffers.
Sometimes a hot shower or a long bath can relieve my stress but on this occasion… that didn’t help. My relaxation tape of haunting sounds from the Andes didn’t help either, in fact it made me even more on edge… a chap can only take so many panpipes in one go.
A friend thoughtfully suggested I needed to get laid, which I could see the benefits of but didn’t really want to bother with the hunt and all those bodily fluids that entails. His next thoughts were perhaps what I really needed was a deep massage. To give myself over completely to another person who would simply smooth away my cranky stress and all I’d have to do was lie there and do… nothing.
This really appealed to me. It was something I hadn’t experienced before and I was willing to let a pair of firm hands relieve me of my building tension. Now I know that ‘massage’ can be a euphemism for sex but I thought, well, either way, I should come out of it feeling a lot better than I went in. However, a quick look on gumtree.com to find what was available locally surprised me as there are so many different styles of massage.
Eventually, I got in touch with one local therapist who said that his techniques combined a mixture of several different disciplines and we could decide which was best for me when I arrived at his place of work. Surprisingly I was both expectant and excited at the prospect and I was soon at his office discussing my needs. He explained the different styles and what they achieve and I said to him to just let me relax and forget about everything for a couple of hours. His calming hands got to work almost immediately and I came away totally relaxed, refreshed and not in the least bit cranky.
So, if you are in need of some instant and satisfying relief from the stresses of the day and quick hand job just wont suffice… let me recommend you place yourself into the hands of a professional and feel your mental anxieties disappear.
Meanwhile, here is a quick guide to the most popular types of massage therapy to help you figure out which massage therapy style is right for you naked relax.
Swedish Massage Therapy – This is the most common type of massage therapy in the United States. It is also known as Swedish massage or simply massage therapy.
Massage therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil.
Swedish massage therapy can be very gentle and relaxing. If you’ve never had massage before, this is a good one to try first.
Aromatherapy Massage – Aromatherapy massage is massage therapy with the addition of one or more scented plant oils called essential oils to address specific needs
The massage therapist can select oils that are relaxing, energizing, stress-reducing, and balancing, etc. One of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy massage is lavender.
Aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to stress-related conditions or conditions with an emotional component.
Hot Stone Massage – Heated, smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centres in the body.
The massage therapist may also hold stones and apply gentle pressure with them. The warmth is comforting. Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension but prefer lighter massage.
Deep Tissue Massage – Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. The massage therapist uses slower strokes or friction techniques across the grain of the muscle.
Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage.
Shiatsu – Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians.
Each point is held for two to eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance.
People are normally pleasantly surprised when they try shiatsu for the first time. It is relaxing yet the pressure is firm, and there is usually no soreness afterwards.
Thai Massage – Like shiatsu, Thai massage aligns the energies of the body using gentle pressure on specific points. Thai massage also includes compressions and stretches.
You don’t just lie there–the therapist moves and stretches you into a sequence of postures. It’s like yoga without doing any work. Thai massage is more energizing than other forms of massage. It is also reduces stress and improves flexibility and range of motion.
Reflexology – Although reflexology is sometimes called foot massage, it is more than simple foot massage. Reflexology involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot that correspond to organs and systems in the body. Reflexology is very relaxing, especially for people who stand on their feet all day or just have tired, achy feet.
Sports Massage – Sports massage is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to have one-it’s also used by people who are active and work out often. The focus isn’t on relaxation but on preventing and treating injury and enhancing athletic performance.
Combinations of techniques are used. The strokes are generally faster than Swedish massage. Facilitated stretching is a common technique. It helps to loosen muscles and increase flexibility.
Back Massage – Some massage clinics and spas offer 30-minute back massages. If a back massage is not expressly advertised, you can also book a 30- or 40-minute massage and ask that the massage therapist to focus on your back.