There are several types of massage that focus on different parts of the body or healing approaches. Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. During a massage, a massage therapist will apply gentle or strong pressure to the muscles and joints of the body to ease pain and tension. A massage therapist is a person trained in giving massages.
Read on to learn about the different types of massage and which type might be right for you.
1. Swedish massage
Swedish massage is a gentle type of full-body massage that’s ideal for people who:
- are new to massage
- have a lot of tension
- are sensitive to touch
It can help release muscle knots, and it’s also a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage.
For this massage, you’ll remove your clothes, though you may choose to keep your underwear on. You’ll be covered with a sheet while lying on the massage table. The massage therapist will move the sheet to uncover areas that they are actively working on.
The massage therapist will use a combination of:
- long, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart
- deep circular motions
- vibration and tapping
- passive joint movement techniques
- Usually a Swedish massage will last for 60–90 minutes.
2. Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage is best for people who have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax. This type of therapeutic massage is similar to a Swedish massage, only the massage therapist uses heated stones in lieu of or in addition to their hands. It eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and relieves pain by using heated stones.
Hot stone massage may help:
- ease muscle tension
- improve blood flow
- alleviate pain
- promote relaxation
- relieve stress
During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone as they massage different parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques using gentle pressure. Sometimes cold stones are also used.
You don’t wear clothes for hot stone massage unless you’ll feel more comfortable wearing your underwear. You will be covered with a sheet. Usually the massage is 90 minutes long.