Massage therapy includes a variety of techniques, and every massage therapist uses a different touch. Massage therapists generally use their hands and fingers during the massage, though occasionally they'll also use their forearms and elbows when administering a deep tissue massage. The goal for a satisfying massage is to manipulate the muscles deeply by pressing and rubbing. Some therapists have a gentler touch than others.
Most massages require that you undress and climb under a sheet with blankets. When the therapist massages an area of your body, that area is exposed while the rest of your body remains under the covers. The therapist must be responsible for creating a warm and safe atmosphere for you to enjoy your massage.
A therapist will use a variety of oils during the massage. These oils have soothing aromas such as lavender, rosemary and other herbs and plants. Some therapists use soothing music to send you into a deeper state of relaxation.
Many types of massages are offered today and each has a different purpose. Different types of massage may require separate certification for massage therapists.
- Swedish. The most common method of massage today, this massage mainly aims to relax your muscles. The therapist applies pressure to your muscles and rubs in the same direct as your blood flows. The therapist may use one following types of methods to stimulate the blood: kneading, stroking, friction, tapping and vibration.
- Trigger Point. This type of massage pinpoints areas that tend to radiate pain beyond the pain site. The therapist applies pressure to the area where the pain is strong, from a few seconds to a few minutes.
- Deep Tissue. The therapist massages the area with deep pressure to melt knots and tension from stress and discomfort.
- Shiatsu. This massage originated in Japan. The therapist uses his or her thumbs, fingers and palms on the main acupressure points.
These are just a few of many types of massages for different conditions and personal needs.