How Do Different Styles of Massage Benefit You?

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The word massage conjures up different thoughts for different people.

All massage can be therapeutic to your body, when it is in a healthy state, while certain techniques may be more applicable, if you are suffering from a specific injury or pain.

Perhaps, it seems some techniques are more popular than others, but it really comes down to what you as an individual need for you.  It is so much more important to discover what style for what need will actually help you.

Length of time, whether they use lotions or oils, stones, aromatherapy or other tools, depends on what you are looking for in your experience.

For this post, we will start with the most well-known and common massage therapy: Swedish massage.

This type of massage involves using oil or lotion accompanied by  soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on the topmost layer of muscles. It might also be combined with movement of the joints. Swedish massage can be both relaxing and energizing, by relieving muscle tension. These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up muscle “knots” or adhered tissues, called adhesions. It can be somewhat helpful after an injury.

The four common strokes of Swedish massage are:

  • Effleurage: is to skim or move lightly on, it is used to relax soft tissue. It warms up the muscles, before deeper work is done.
  • Petrissage: is used to knead and apply pressure with massage movements, to squeeze, wring, and roll, to compress deeper muscles. Movement is slow and rhythmic; the fingers and thumb are usually doing the movements, although sometimes other tools are used. It follows effleurage.
  • Friction: deep, circular movements that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other, it helps with blood flow and breaks down scar tissue. The purpose is to maintain the mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle; it is deep and must be applied transversely–across muscle fibers.
  • Tapotement: This may be executed by one of the five styles, which include:
    • Cupping, which make your hand into a cup to gently tap the affected region.
    • Beating is using a closed fist, which lightly hits the area.
    • Tapping uses just the fingertips.
    • Slapping using the fingers only to gently slap the muscles.
    • Hacking, is using the edge of the hand on pinky finger side.

Tapotement is generally used to “wake up” the nervous system; it can also be a stimulating stroke, which releases lymphatic build up in the back.

For a relaxing massage, especially if you do not get massages often, this is one where it is not too deep in the tissue work, so a Swedish massage can be the right choice.

Check out our next post on another massage technique: Myofascial Release. If you are interested in learning more about our current massage offerings, please email carina@profitnessnetwork.com