Recently, I had a meeting with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile. We had some pleasant time; we drank some coffee and chilled out — just regular stuff. I was little late, since my sore back got the best of me, and I had a hard time getting up from my afternoon nap.
As always, I tried to stretch a bit despite feeling sore and rushed to the meeting. We were having a nice time, but it wasn’t long before she realized I was in pain. My lower back start to hurt after an hour of sitting (you know the story: sedentary working position, not stretching, yadda-yadda-yadda).
As it turns out, my friend happened to have a degree in massage and started her own business in this field. She was on her way to becoming a certified expert, and she suggested that I come to her studio to get a proper massage, free of charge. “Why not?” I said, with a big smile on my face. “Let’s do this.” I faked the smile, because I was afraid, hoping that the massage wouldn’t be unpleasant.
Fast-forward 24 hours: I’m lying on the table, getting a full body massage, concentrated on my lower back, buttocks, and legs. My friend was really skillful. But boy, how it hurt.
I was trying to play the tough guy role for a bit of time, but at some point, the pain on my lower back was excruciating. “Breathe, and relax Dejan. Just relax,” she repeated. “Your muscles and tissues are getting repaired. Soon you’ll feel much better.” The smell of the oil in the room was great, the atmosphere was calm, and the pain slowly started to fade.
While I was on that table, I started thinking about how we neglect our bodies. We run during the day, focused on being productive, getting more stuff done, putting our body and our health behind. We sit for many hours in our chairs in front of our screens, just thinking about the numbers, the revenue, or whatever. We neglect our health until it starts to hurt. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Have you had moments like these in your life?
This experience inspired me to research massage techniques that we can have or do to help us get closer to the sensation of excruciating pain followed by heavenly relief that massage brings into our lives. It turns out that there are a lot of methods of massage and a bunch of benefits we’re totally missing out on.
Here Are 10 Effective Massage Techniques to Try Right Now
1. Swedish Massage
When it comes to therapy, Swedish is the most popular type of massage among the people who go to the massage parlor. The goal of the Swedish massage is to relax your body and release stress. The best part is that you don’t have to go to the massage parlor to get this massage because it’s easy to perform. All you have to do is to make a circular pressure using your hands and palms, followed by firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, and of course, a lot of bending and stretching. If this is confusing for you, here’s a Swedish massage tutorial so you can learn it faster.
The intended benefits of the Swedish massage are not only to relax your body, but also to increase the level of oxygen in your blood significantly. Also, the number of toxins in your muscles will decrease while your circulation and flexibility will improve.
2. Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy massage is the gentlest type as it requires a lot of oil and relies on intoxicating aroma and relaxation. This kind of massage is a beautiful way to express care and to relieve your loved one from everyday stress. Even though it is gentle and probably the most relaxing massage out there, you should know that aromatherapy massage can be a bit dangerous as a lot of different oils (made from various herbs) might impact the body. Make sure that neither you nor the one who’s getting a massage from you are allergic to any of the herbs that oil that you’ll be using contains.
There are many benefits of aromatherapy massage, and they go from stress relief to the memory improvement (if the right type of oil is used). For example, if you are using calendula oil, you can improve your healing and recovery from illness. By applying citrus essential oils, your digestion issues will disappear. Check out the ultimate guide for herbal oils to find the perfect oil for the best aromatherapy massage experience.
3. Simple Back Massage
Back massage can be done without any training at all; it is one of the easiest tissue stimulating massages. Everybody likes a good back rub. To give one, study this detailed guide on how to do it (with pictures included). Besides providing some good relaxation, this type of a massage provides some of the following health benefits:
- Thanks to the back massage, you might get rid of the lower back pain. After a long day at the office, your muscles are most likely to be tense, so once you go home, even a quick back massage can help you remove or reduce the annoying lower back pain.
- If you have a problem with migraines, an upper back massage can help you get rid of them. Basically, any pain that is located on your back can be easily removed or reduced with this kind of massage.
4. Reflexology Therapy
Reflexology treatment involves applying the pressure to your feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques. This type of massage is based on points and reflex areas on the feet and hands that reflect an image of the entire body. This basically means that a foot or hand massage can affect any health problem that you might have.
Since this kind of therapy is mostly focusing on your body nerves, medical experts would advise you to use TENS unit — Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit. There are a lot of those units available for sale. To get the best one for yourself, check out the latest and most recommended TENS units. With the proper usage, these units are life changing — from dental, back, arms, and legs pain, to hormonal disbalance change. TENS unit can change your life.
If you are new to TENS units, but you would love to get yourself one and learn how to use it, check out the ultimate guide to TENS units . With a bit of research and learning, you will start to change your life. Not only that you will feel relaxation after the reflexology therapy, but it will also improve your circulation and energy levels. Reflexology treatment can improve your bladder function and reduce urinary tract issues.
5. Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is the best type of therapy when it comes to realigning deeper layers of your muscles. If you are dealing with constant pain or contracted areas such as a stiff neck, upper and lower back pain, sore shoulders or leg muscle tightness, it would be smart to get a deep tissue massage as soon as possible, since it will help you a lot.
If you’ve never had a deep tissue massage before, it would be smart not to eat heavy meals before the massage and to avoid doing any hard activity after the massage. This is essential because your body can receive it better without a heavy load on the stomach and relaxation after the deep tissue massage.
By getting a deep tissue massage, you can get rid of chronic muscle pain or improve your injury rehabilitation from whiplash, falls, sports injuries, etc. Also, your blood pressure and heart rate will be lowered during the treatment. Benefits of deep tissue massage are many, and there is no reason for you not to try it.
Giving a deep tissue massage is pretty complicated technique, and it requires some practice on the massage table, so we advise you not to do it yourself if you’re not a trained professional. Because of the hard pressure involved, you might hurt the person you’re trying to help.
6. Thai Massage
It is believed that traditional Thai massage is more than 2000 years old, and that it was used by the people who didn’t use it only as a therapeutic method, but also to maintain health and well-being. This type of massage is the combination of yoga stretching, calmness of medication, exercise movement and reflexology that makes it a healing art. Unlike many other massage techniques that you would get on the table, Thai massage is done on the floor.
Also, what makes the Thai massage even more unique is that it is not done only by the hands, but feet and the elbows as well. By getting a Thai massage, not only are you getting some physical benefits, but you’ll have some mental benefits as well. It can improve your immune system and help with detoxification of the body, and it can improve your mind and body concentration as well. There is also proof that Thai massage boosts your creativity.
7. Sports Massage
Athletes are the ones who use the sports massage therapy the most, and when we say athletes, we mean from world-class professionals to weekend joggers. This type of massage focuses on the area of your body that is overused and stressed from repetitive and often aggressive movements. With a careful sports massage, the sore tissues are revitalized, rested, and the recovery process is much faster.
One of the most crucial things about the sports massage is that if you want to get one, we would strongly advise you to find a specially trained massage therapist who has knowledge of a broad range of techniques, and knows how to use them. The reason for this is simple; getting the wrong massage can hurt your tissue and muscles and even disable you.
By getting a sports massage, it will help you stretch some of the tissues that couldn’t be stretched earlier, and improve your tissue elasticity. Not only will you feel relaxed, but with a sports massage, the pain in your muscles will be significantly reduced. Still, this massage could be quite painful (I felt it myself), but it’s well worth to endure it.
8. Hot Stone Massage
An interesting fact about stone massage is that the early Native Americans used it to treat their aching muscles. In this type of a massage, hot stones are placed on your body. The heat of these stones plays a major role in this therapy because their heat will warm up some of your tight muscles, and the therapists will be able to work with them much better.
By getting this massage, not only will you be released of additional stress and feel relaxed, but it may also help you to fight with some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. The important thing to know is that if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or you are on some medications that thin your blood, you should avoid getting the hot stone massage. To perform this technique of therapy, special rocks and equipment are needed, of course.
9. Prenatal Massage
Now, if you are about to become a future mom, here’s an interesting thing to consider. The prenatal massage has a lot of in common with the other types of massage — to ease sore spots, to relax tense muscles, to improve your circulation and mobility, and to make you feel good. But unlike all the other massage techniques, this one is specifically tailored to the needs of a pregnant woman and body changes that you are going through.
Now you are probably asking yourself how to lie down on a table if you are pregnant. There are special tables with hollowed-out areas and special pillows that will accommodate your belly so you can lie with your face down without any problems at all. Also, it can be performed while lying on the floor in some specific positions.
This type of massage will help you reduce the swelling in your hands, feet, and ankles. Also, it can help with the relaxation and by that, it can decrease insomnia. Another great benefit of prenatal massage is that it will increase the oxygen in your blood by 10 to 15 percent after a session, and it can strengthen your immune system.
10. Shiatsu Massage
Last but definitely not least is the shiatsu massage. This is the form of therapeutic bodywork from Japan that uses kneading, soothing, pressing, tapping, and stretching techniques, and it is performed without any oils at all; the massage is performed through comfortable clothing.
In the Japanese language, shiatsu means “finger pressure”; therefore, shiatsu technique includes massage with thumbs, fingers, feet, and palms. Shiatsu massage has a lot of different styles, philosophical approaches, and theoretical bases.
By getting the Shiatsu (finger pressure) treatment, not only will it help you to reduce the level of stress, but it will contribute to your overall wellbeing. Shiatsu therapy can reduce your muscle stiffness, stimulate the skin, help with digestion problems, and influence your nervous system. If you have problems with chronic pain such as headaches, or even problems with PMS, insomnia, stress or anxiety, getting a Shiatsu massage can help you recover.
My back snaps.
And it keeps snapping, every other day when I visit the massage parlor. Since that day, I’m not experiencing pain, my blood flow is better, and my spine is healthier. It’s a wonder how our lives can be better when we just start paying attention to our health. And getting a massage is an easy way to change your life.
You only need to try it once. You’re welcome.
Featured photo credit: Roderick Eime via flickr.com