HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?!: All the massage styles explained

You know, before I became a massage therapist, I had no real idea how one massage differed from another. Obviously, deep tissue was going to hurt and Swedish massage sounded like something fancy that happened at a spa, right? No, I was so wrong. There are a number of different styles of massage, and they aren’t just marketing lingo to make your experience seem fancy. Instead, each kind of massage offers a specific kind of touch with different health benefits and outcomes.

May you’ve only tried the most common massage, a Swedish massage, and you’re curious about others but have no idea what to choose. That’s where your friendly massage therapist comes in – if you’re not sure, just call or drop in for a chat and we can help you find the perfect technique and style for your needs. If it’s your first massage, we can make sure you know exactly what to expect.

In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on some of the different types of massage and what they can do for you. We don’t offer every type of massage at Revive, but we are pleased to share our knowledge with you!

Swedish Massage

This is one of the most popular massages – it’s sometimes called the relaxation massage, which might clue you in to why people gravitate to it. It’s absolutely great for getting rid of stress and anxiety. It’s also a good one to try if you’re new to massage as it doesn’t work too deeply into your muscles and the techniques we use are all designed to relax and de-stress.

So what can you expect? Well, we use long, flowing strokes all over your body, combined with kneading, tapping and circular motions. We’ll also use oils or lotions to make the massage smoother. If you’ve got tight muscles and aches and pains, we can increase the pressure where you need it more, adjusting the massage as it unfolds. Swedish massage is helpful if you’re experiencing pain from conditions like sciatica and arthritis, and it can also give your circulation a boost as all the techniques are designed to help get blood pumping around your body.

Deep Tissue Massage

This is more of a remedial massage than a relaxing one and ideal for anyone who does a lot of sport or has very tight muscles. It can feel uncomfortable as your therapist will work deeply into your muscles and connective tissues to release any tension in them. It can feel slightly painful although people tend to describe it as a ‘good hurt’ – and you may feel a bit of soreness afterwards, especially if it’s your first deep tissue massage. Most people agree that it’s worth it as you’ll feel amazing afterwards!

Hot Stone Massage

This is a supremely relaxing massage where the therapist uses specially designed warmed stones to increase its effects. This one is designed for pure relaxation and is an indulgent treatment that’s also great for first-timers. While you’re enjoying your massage, we carefully place the smooth, heated stones on different areas of your body. Sometimes they are also used as part of the massage to help get deeper into any troublesome areas; the heat from the stones helps loosen the muscles even more. It is kind of like hot yoga for the massage table! This one will leave you feeling calm and relaxed.

Thai Massage

Thai massages can be like a mini-workout so they are best for people who have had massages in the past but want to try something different. Thai massage is an incredibly effective, energizing treatment where your therapist will use techniques like deep stretching, acupressure and yoga style positions to give you a really intense massage. Thai massage is really good for you if you have a lot of muscle tension, posture problems, or headaches caused by bad posture. It can feel a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt. Always tell your therapist if the pressure is too much, or if you’d like more.

Reflexology

Reflexology is so much more than just a foot massage. It’s based on a holistic therapy based on the idea that there are pressure points on your feet that correspond to different areas of your body. If there’s something out of balance in your body, working on the area of your foot that relates to it can help to relieve the symptoms. It’s also very calming. When you have a reflexology treatment, your therapist will work on these different pressure points, paying attention to any where she feels a blockage. Even if you normally squirm when your feet are touched, the specific techniques and pressure we use are really relaxing and most people say they find reflexology enjoyable.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu is another type of massage that is carried out fully clothed, but using quite intense techniques designed to deeply relax you and improve your wellbeing.  Your massage therapist will use her fingers and thumbs, and occasionally knees and feet, to apply pressure where it’s needed. You’ll usually lie on a mat on the floor or a specially designed bench. Although it’s quite an intense massage, you shouldn’t feel pain or soreness afterwards.

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