Know Your Massages - A Brief Guide!
Going to get a massage nowadays is like stepping into one of those hipster coffee shops we so love to pour our life's savings into. The choices nowadays are ridiculous: a turmeric elderflower cappuccino, a smoked apple ginger espresso with chocolate sprinkles! Anyways, sip away and read our brief guide to the massages that we think matter:
Think stress relief and relaxation. This is the kind of massage that may leave you catching up on some Zzzzzs and dribbling heavily.
Masseurs that practice this kind of hypnotic art use a combination of techniques which include stroking, kneading, tapping, heat friction and shaking.
Following a good Swedish massage toxins are released from the muscles and oxygenated blood is able to more effectively get around the body and you’ll feel super loose and super relaxed.
HOT STONE MASSAGE
Before you go thinking this is some sort of sadistic practice there are plenty of people that swear by (and a small number who swear during) this method!
The stones maybe hot but it’s all…cool! You’re not gonna get scorched. In fact the stones are smooth and the sensation of having them on your muscles is both relaxing and invigorating. Used prior to other forms of massage the stones help warm up the muscles quickly because the heat gently penetrates the body’s soft tissues.
Origami meets yoga! The practitioner of Thai massage will fold and stretch you into yoga type positions. They’ll use their hands, knees, legs and feet to apply pressure to your muscles and loosen up your joints. If they’re small and dainty they might even walkabout on your back.
Following a Thai massage you’ll feel relaxed, energized and likely to have improved range of motion.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Not for the faint-hearted but it is definitely for the stiff bodied! Those with, or prone to dense muscle tissue need a little more push to break down the tightness. Deep tissue massage focuses on knotted muscles and those who have ever had one can attest that it’s not very relaxing. One can feel rather sore and exhausted after a session.
What then is the benefit?! Well muscle knots hinder proper muscle function by preventing healthy blood from circulating properly. And they’re also really stubborn so a gentle caressing massage ain’t gonna do the job. Firm pressure from knuckles and elbows are what’s needed.
It’s a great therapy for athletes who are prone to tight muscles, or people who have since healed following bodily trauma (whether through accident or surgery) and have built stubborn scar tissue.
Depending on your masseur be prepared to tap out or discuss your safe word prior to treatment.
TRIGGER POINT/MYOFASCIAL RELEASE
This form of massage is very similar to deep tissue massage in that its aim is to address muscular knots aka trigger points. But the slight difference is in technique. The Deep Tissue therapist may use similar techniques to that of the Swedish masseur whereas the Trigger Point practitioner will use a cycle of thumb, finger and or elbow pressure to release a specific point or points.
These muscular knots can refer pain to another area of the body. So, for example neck pain, headaches and even wrist pain can be caused by a stubborn knot in the shoulder. Dot to dot…and buckaroo…spring to mind!
Trigger points are more often than…(k)not very tender so like Deep Tissue massage you can feel sore and exhausted afterwards.
Combines techniques from all of the above. Its purpose is to either prepare athletes for activity, or aid them in recovery, by increasing blood flow to tackle stiff joints, muscles and or trigger points.