If you read part one of this blog series, you already know about some of the main types of massage, including the Swedish massage, aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, and chair massage. There are many other types of massage that are practiced today, which our students learn through our massage therapy program at Estelle Medical Academy. That being said, here are a few other types of massage, as well as some defining massage techniques that are used.
A sports massage sounds exactly like what it is — a massage that targets problem areas from injuries, strains, and surgeries that occurred as a result of sports. Not only that, but sports massages also help to prevent sports-related injuries in the future, as they reduce muscle stiffness, improve flexibility, and help your body recover more efficiently due to increased circulation. Sports massages are typically full-body massages, with a specific focus on areas that are especially sore or injured. This type of massage is usually characterized by medium to deep pressure, as your massage therapist works out knots in a kneading motion with alternating strokes. Athletes benefit from sports massages the most due to the fact that many have sustained injuries from repetitive movements (e.g. swinging a baseball bat or hitting a tennis ball). Sports massages last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
Reflexology is a massage technique that focuses on pressure points. This type of bodywork is used to reduce pain and discomfort by evening out the distribution of energy within the body. Reflexologists understand the interconnectedness of certain parts of the body, which translate into “reflex points” that have a therapeutic effect when pressed. Some of these “reflex areas” include the toes, the balls of the feet, the arch of the feet, and the heels. It is believed that when pressure is applied to these areas, the energy within them is dispersed throughout other areas of the body, such as the head (toes), the heart (balls of feet), the lower back and intestines (arch of feet), and the liver, pancreas, and kidneys (heels). Usually, people try reflexology because they want to rebalance their nervous system while relieving stress and pain. Reflexology massages usually last anywhere from a half hour to a full hour, depending on the work being done.
Prenatal massages are designed for pregnant women, targeting the specific areas of pain they experience. This type of massage is safe for women in their second or third trimester, though they are sometimes not offered for women in their first trimester due to the heightened risk of miscarriage during the first twelve weeks of a pregnancy. Prenatal massages are very similar to the Swedish massage in terms of how much pressure is applied and the specific massage techniques that are used. During a prenatal massage, your massage therapist will hone in on areas that bear the most burden during pregnancy, including the hips, legs, feet, and lower back. This type of massage is performed with the woman lying on her side or stomach if there is a table with a cutout for her belly. Gentle strokes and mild kneading techniques are used during this 45 to 60-minute massage.
If you’ve gotten a massage at a Chinese or Japanese spa, you probably already know what a shiatsu massage is. This type of massage is characterized by localized pressure that is applied in a rhythmic pattern across the body. During a shiatsu massage, your massage therapist uses their fingertips or elbows to hold pressure on certain parts of your body (acupressure points), usually for two to eight seconds at a time. Unlike many other types of massage, you’ll wear loose-fitting clothing during a shiatsu massage, which is performed on a mat or massage table that is low to the ground so the massage therapist can easily leverage their weight. Shiatsu massage is an ancient practice that is believed to increase energy, relieve stress, reduce headaches, and soothe the muscles. This type of massage usually lasts for 60 to 90 minutes.
Thai massages are a unique type of massage that utilizes yoga poses, passive stretching techniques, and firm pressure. During a Thai massage, you’ll work your whole body by doing a series of movements while your massage therapist applies firm pressure to parts of your body. Short, rhythmic compressions are used along the energy centers of the body, which helps you maintain balance. A Thai massage therapist will also guide you through various twists and stretches by moving parts of your body, which is said to realign your energy while relieve tension and stress while improving flexibility. Like shiatsu massages, you’ll be clothed during a Thai massage, which is also done on a mat on the floor and lasts between an hour and 90 minutes.
Apply To Our Massage Therapy Program At Estelle Medical Academy
We hope that this blog series has given you a better understanding of the different types of massage practiced in the U.S., as well as the techniques and movements involved in each one. If you are interested in learning more about massage or want to become a massage therapist, apply at Estelle Medical Academy today or schedule a no-obligation campus tour in Chicago!