Tips & Advice
What is deep-tissue massage?
Deep-tissue massages are designed to target problematic areas like knots (aka adhesions) in the muscles by targeting deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Deep tissue massages use slower, deliberate strokes, or friction, to address issues like tight or painful muscles, injuries and issues related to posture and repetitive strain. These are considered a more intense massage and might be too much for some to handle, particularly if it is their first massage or if they are highly sensitive.
Shiatsu massage is an alternative technique that uses manual pressure applied to specific areas on the body to help relieve pain and tension. Using thumbs, fingers, elbows and sometimes even knees, the masseuse targets pressure points, or “energy pathways”also known as meridians, to reduce muscle tension and fatigue by stimulating acupressure points in the body. Shiatsu is thought to promote circulation; improve the lymphatic system; help heal minor injuries; and even help symptoms related to arthritis, insomnia, back and neck pain, and even sinus problems.
Swedish massages are the most common, perhaps even generic, form of massage. Swedish massages are designed to promote circulation and the relaxation of superficial muscles. They are not a deep-tissue massage. Swedish massage techniques can include kneading, friction and rubbing, and may include stretching and bending of joints. They are the most general massage and not designed for sports injuries or to address specific ailments. It is a good option for someone who has never had a massage before.
Some people consider a Thai massage like doing yoga without the work. Thai massages use various stretching movements that do simulate some yoga movements in an effort to stretch the muscles and promote flexibility, range of motion, and reduce stress. Some use acupressure techniques, as well. Since you are being moved around quite a bit, depending on your masseuse and their aggressiveness, this type of massage can be done on a mat on the floor, or on a massage table.
What is friction massage?
A friction massage is a deep-tissue massage which is meant to maintain mobility within soft tissue structures of tendons, ligaments and muscles, and to prevent scars from forming. Friction massages are applied transversely across the tissue, versus the traditional longitudinal method that is parallel to the blood vessels. These types of massages are popular with athletes, post-competition. The masseuse must use extreme diligence in locating the proper contractile tissues (like muscles and tendons) and non-contractile tissues (like joints, bones and ligaments) before delivering a friction massage. Friction massage is delivered through the fingers and can be complex in their evaluation process and execution.
What is petrissage massage?
Petrissage massages are a moderately deep-tissue massage that uses a grasping, kneading or wringing technique with the hands and the fists to work the underlying muscles. They are meant to target specific muscle areas to promote circulation, muscle tone, and oxygenation. It derives from the French term petrir, which is used to describe kneading dough.
What are the different types of massage?
While the number may vary, depending on who you ask, there are generally nine types of massage therapy, and more than one can be used during the same treatment session.
- Swedish massage is a standard massage that uses Western anatomy and physiology concepts. It’s probably the most common.
- Aromatherapy uses the basic Swedish concept and adds plant-based oils, like rose and lavender.
- Hot stone massage uses hot rocks both placed on specific parts of the body during the massage and in the therapists hands while giving the massage, and are meant to loosen the muscles.
- Deep tissue massages are designed to target and work out knots in the muscles and are usually more intense.
- Shiatsu massages use localized pressure with the fingers and is supposed to stimulate the acupressure points on the body.
- Thai massages are focused on stretching movements similar to yoga.
- Prenatal massages are designed for pregnant women to increase relaxation and target areas of most pregnancy-induced stress, like the lower back.
- Reflexology is basically hand and foot massages that are designed to hit different pressure points that are believed to affect different parts of the body.
- Sports massages are designed to treat injuries and maladies that are common in sports.
What are the benefits of a full body massage?
There are many benefits of full-body massages, starting with the relief of tension. Muscles can get tense and knotted up and be painful. Exercise and physical labor can also tax your muscles. Sitting at a desk all day or driving in traffic can wreak havoc on your neck, shoulders and back. In addition to getting rid of the knots, a full-body massage can stretch out your muscles, as well.
How long does it take to become a licensed massage therapist?
The length of time it takes to become a licensed massage therapist will depend on your state, as each has their own guidelines for licensing, and the school you attend. Obviously all schools do not operate at the same rate. In some states, provided you meet the requirements, you can be licensed in a matter of weeks, while in others it can take a year or more. Generally the process includes formal schooling, followed by practice under a licensed massage therapist for a specific number of hours to qualify for the license. It is generally around one year in most states. It is a growth business, so there are an abundance of accredited schools.
How much does massage therapy cost?
Standard fees for a half-hour massage can start around $50, and some are event, with online deals and coupons. From there, the prices go up, into the hundreds of dollars. Massage therapy appointments are generally 30-, 60-, or 90-minute sessions, so the prices will obviously escalate. Different types of massages and packages (like full spa packages) will naturally push prices up. The national average for a massage therapist, per hour, is around $60.