13 Different Massage Techniques and Their Benefits

Different Massage Techniques

Massage is an ancient healing technique that’s well-known for relaxing the body and the mind. However, with different massage techniques comes other benefits such as healing acute physical pain, reducing muscle stiffness, reducing stress and headaches, or even just to boost your immunity.

13 Fantastic Massage Techniques

Read on to find out more about the different benefits provided by the various massage techniques available out there.

1. Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy involves using particular essential oils for the specific benefits they provide, like lavender essential oil for relaxation purposes, tangerine oil to revitalize your energy, or eucalyptus oil to clear congestion in the olfactory pathways.

Essential oils are made from natural plant essences and are extracted to retain all the healing qualities of the particular plant that they’re derived from.

If you’re not sure which essential oil to select, ask your massage therapist for a recommendation and enjoy the massage.

2. Swedish Massage Therapy

The Swedish massage is probably one of the most popular techniques around and it’s used by beginners as well as athletes to manage pain and to help accelerate recovery from injuries.

The technique itself is done with a special massage oil or lotion and involves a combination of smooth, relaxing strokes, circular motions and a bit of kneading to soothe away the pain and any stiffness in the muscles.

The Swedish massage technique is incredibly relaxing and is definitely recommended for first timers.

3. Effleurage

This type of technique mainly uses stroking movements that are directed towards the heart to improve circulation and relax the muscles.

Effleurage can be applied to the entire body, but others prefer to use it in treating conditions in the limbs, chest, back and even on a finger.

4. Hot Stone Massage

As the name implies, this type of massage relies on the use of hot stones, which are strategically placed on various pressure points along the spine. These stones can bring warmth to these areas.

Thus, helping to release tension, to promote healing, or to soothe soreness in the muscles.

Sometimes, massage therapists use hot stones to let go of tension in certain areas in preparation for a deeper massage session aimed at kneading away tightness on your shoulders and back.

5. Acupressure

With this technique, the massage therapist will use his or her fingers to apply pressure to specific areas around the body.

This almost instantly relieves pain in the affected areas, while encouraging deep relaxation both physically and mentally.

That’s because the technique is aimed at interrupting the pain signals emanating from certain trigger points in the muscles.

Thus, preventing them from reaching the brain and ultimately decreasing the pain significantly.

6. Friction

By pressing the thumb onto particular pain points in the body and then using circular movements to massage those points, this technique helps to break down fatty or rheumatic nodes.

As a result, it relieves pain and tension on the affected area.

It’s also ideal for if you have experienced any injury, as this technique helps ease any tight tissues you may have that were caused by an accident or the like.

Moreover, just like in acupressure, this technique also blocks your pain signals from reaching your brain.

Since the signals are not able to reach its destination, you won’t be able to feel as much pain as you normally would.

7. Skin Rolling

Skin rolling consists of pulling and rolling the skin as though kneading soft dough. Therapists typically use the fingers and thumbs to perform this technique.

It helps to break down scar tissue, promote rapid healing, decrease stress and relieve muscle tension.

That said, this technique is perfect for when you want to relax, or for after you have undergone surgery or an injury.

Helps heal scarring

On top of that, it helps heal some scarring too, as skin rolling loosens up the scar’s tissues and muscles. As a result, it also relieves any stiffness you may have felt.

However, there’s more:

Skin rolling also allows your collagen fibers to break down and then realign themselves.

The best and most common places where massage therapists usually perform this technique on are the arms, the shoulders and the calf – among others.

8. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is aimed at relieving pain or muscle tightness that occurs as a result of overexertion or injuries.

By applying pressure and using long strokes similar to those applied with Swedish massage therapy. This technique is very effective at removing knots and relieving tension in the muscles by targeting those areas that hold it.

Deep tissue massage is also beneficial for preventing inflammation and the buildup of toxins by opening oxygen flow and allowing nutrients to reach their intended destination.

Moreover, it can also be used to heal scar tissue that remains from old injuries.

9. Beating and Pounding

Despite what the name might suggest, this technique is not really as painful as it sounds. In fact, it involves applying light strokes on the major muscles in your body using loosely clenched fists.

Beating and pounding is often used to stimulate blood circulation in the muscles prior to a training session, or any type of intense physical activity.

Increase elasticity

It works great to increase elasticity in those muscles, while helping to prevent injuries.

Not only that, beating and pounding allows you to maximize your performance in whatever it is you are doing – whether you are just exercising, or if you are a part of a sporting event.

This is because doing this technique before any physical activity readies your muscles for movement.

10. Sports Massage Therapy

This type of massage has been used by athletes for centuries to prevent injuries and speed up recovery after training sessions, with other benefits including increased flexibility, endurance and energy.

Sports therapists are often trained to work with athletes in a particular sporting code. Thus, they are able to understand the particular issues associated with the activities practiced in that sport.

Therefore, the massage will focus on certain muscle areas and parts of the body that are prone to getting overworked. That said, sports massage therapy can definitely help condition the body in a way that enables athletes to perform at their peak.

11. Myofascial Release

As the name implies, myofascial release is a form of soft tissue massage that targets the connective tissue in your bones, tendons, ligaments and also under the skin.

This type of massage is great for relieving the tension associated with these areas by targeting its source.These soft tissues can easily become restricted due to overexertion, injuries and even inactivity.

In a nutshell, myofascial release relieves pain, promotes mobility and decreases fascial tension.

12. Lymphatic Drainage

This delicate form of massage therapy is characterized by draining the lymphatic system in order to encourage detoxification by driving waste out of the body.

The lymphatic system is responsible for transporting lymph towards the heart, while carrying away excess toxins, viruses and cellular waste products. Thus, stimulating the lymph system through light massage helps to cleanse and purify you from the inside.

13. Cupping

Just as the name implies, cupping is a massage technique that uses plastic cups to suction up your skin, which, in turn, relieves your muscles from any tension.

Not only that, but it also helps increases the circulation of your blood.

Due to the suction created by the plastic cups, it helps soften and decrease any tension you may have on your skin as well as your tissues.

Moreover, not only does it help with blood circulation, but cupping also hydrates your tissues as well.

After any physical activity

There are certain situations where cupping is most beneficial, such as after any physical activity like a sports event, or just after your daily workout. Besides relieving muscle strain, it is also effective to use against high muscle tone.

Cupping can be used on any area of the body, as long as your skin and the mouth of the plastic cups touch and create a kind of seal. That said, there are common areas in the body where this technique is usually used.

Some examples are the calf, arm, thighs as well as the upper and lower back.

Conclusion

There are many benefits that one can derive from all types of different massage techniques, from relieving pain to alleviating stress, promoting mobility, relax muscles and even increase endurance and flexibility in sports.

It’s an essential healing modality that promotes a sense of relaxation and wellbeing that can be enjoyed by just about anyone.

Let Us Know

Do you use and love any of these massage techniques? Or do you know of any other massage techniques you prefer?

We’d love to hear any thoughts in the comments below…

Helen Heiz

Helen Heiz is a massage therapist and instructor at Dave Taylor Training who has been practicing different massage techniques and teaching them for more than 15 years now. She has learned diverse type of massages in the past years leaving her not only pain free but willing to learn even more to teach and help others.

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Helen Heiz

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