Did you know that at least 47.1 million, or 19% of Americans got a massage in a recent year? Increasing in popularity each year, it’s no surprise that the massage industry has grown into a 16 billion dollar industry. With over 335,000 massage therapists in the US alone, it’s clear that people love getting massages and they yield many benefits that can enhance your health and appearance. Discover more about massage therapy and how its incredible benefits.
Who Gets Massages and Why?
When people exclaim that they need a massage, they’re most likely grabbing their shoulder or neck at the same time. Typically, we view massages as a method of relieving pain in our joints and muscles, and since they’re great for soothing inflammation, they’re highly effective for managing your pain.
Another major reason why people get massages is for alleviating stress. If you have tight knots in your back or other parts of your body, the right kind of massage can soften them up, helping to manage your tension. The secondary benefit of reducing stress is that it enhances your appearance. From reducing signs of early aging such as crow’s feet to affecting your smile as confirmed by Dr. Darlene Hart, stress takes a toll on every aspect of our health.
“Stress plays a significant role in causing problems for your sleep and dental health.” Dr. Hart explains.
Getting frequent massages can help keep your stress to a minimum so you’re able to live up to your potential and look your absolute best.
Highlighting Four Types of Massage
Massage therapy can be traced back to 3000 BC in India. In the subsequent 5000 years, many cultures have adopted their own variations of massage, some more famous and effective than others. Discover four of the most popular forms of massage and the key traits that set each of them apart from the rest.
1. Swedish Massage Therapy
Developed in 1812, Swedish massage quickly gained widespread popularity due to its general appeal and wide range of benefits it provides. A Swedish massage is designed to boost blood circulation and induce relaxation in the muscles. Another crucial difference is that Swedish massage focuses heavily on physiology and anatomy rather than energy, unlike many Eastern types of massage.
What to Expect: The 5 Basic Strokes of Swedish Massage
These are the primary Swedish massage techniques you’ll experience at your appointment:
- Long, smooth strokes
- Kneading, lifting, and rolling motions
- Small circular strokes that induce friction
- Rapidly tapping motions
- Vibrating strokes which include shaking the limbs
2. Reiki Massage
An energy-oriented form of massage that has existed for thousands of years in Japan, Reiki has seen a massive surge in popularity in recent years. Although it’s energy-related aspects cause many to be skeptical about Reiki, it’s rapidly gaining legitimacy and is even used regularly in hospitals throughout Europe. Recognized for its ability to reduce pain, Reiki is quickly crossing the line between controversial gimmick and legitimate form of therapy in the Western world.
What to Expect from Your Reiki Session
Reiki is all about transferring energy between the patient and the masseuse. This is done with the hands using various postures that are known to relieve pain in certain areas. The Reiki practitioner will position their hands at key points on or near the body, using a variety of techniques to ensure that your energy is flowing properly. Used for treating anxiety, depression, infertility, and other ailments, give Reiki a shot if you want a deeply relaxing experience.
3. Reflexology Massage
Have you ever experienced a massage where someone touches a specific point on your hand or foot and you feel it deep within the organs of your body?
Reflexology massage is based on this idea that each of our organs is connected to our feet and hands via nerve pathways. A practitioner of reflexology must have a deep knowledge of anatomy and how to target the specific organs in your body that may be causing problems. Ultimately, this form of massage is known to be a relaxing experience that can relieve your pain and tension.
What to Expect from Your Reflexology Session
Although the focal point of reflexology is your hands and feet, you’re likely to experience sensations all throughout your body during your session. Using a chart to guide them, your reflexology practitioner will talk to you about where you’re feeling tension, and will strategically apply pressure to your hands and feet in order to stimulate the appropriate organs. As a safe, low-risk treatment, reflexology is frequently used to relieve pain and stress.
4. Heated Stone Massage
While most forms of massage rely on the hands and knowledge of the masseuse, some rely on props as well. A heated stone massage uses basalt river rocks and other smooth stones, heating them to a temperature of 110-130 degrees before placing them on key parts of your body. The masseuse may place them on common energy centers to cause a relaxing effect that can ease pain and tension.
What to Expect from Your Heated Stone Massage
The most common areas the heated stones will be placed include your legs, abs, feet, the palms of your hands, and along the sides of your spine. Massage oil is often used as well, as is a towel that rests between your skin and the heated stones. The masseuse will typically use basic Swedish massage techniques while the heat stones are active, resulting in a unique form of massage that provides a whole new level of relaxation.
Try Getting Regular Massages for a New Level of Relaxation
While a massage won’t give you six-pack abs or get rid of a skin problem, it will help you relax, while reducing the effects of lost sleep and aging. Any activity that reduces stress and tension is also going to yield excellent benefits for your appearance.
Reducing stress improves your well-being, overall health, and even the health of your smile, all of which contribute to your happiness. Next time you’re overstressed and notice symptoms of the strain on your face, consider a massage to help you look and feel like yourself again.
Nicholas Napier is a Navy Vet and MBA living in San Diego. He works as an SEO specialist and writer while hosting the Rogue Writers Podcast. His interests include philosophy, fitness, nutrition, and martial arts. For inquiries, email Nicholas.