Having a massage can be a wonderful way to reduce stress, relax, and induce healing for your body.  Did you know the healing powers of massage have been used to help people for thousands of years? The question we hear from clients on a regular basis is what is the best type of massage? The answer to this question really depends on why you are having a massage and the results you are looking to achieve. In this article, we will go over the best type of massage based on the outcome you are looking for and the benefits that each type of massage can provide. 

What is Massage?

Massage is the process of manipulating the muscles and limbs of the body in an effort to provide therapeutic benefits.  It can be included as part of physical therapy, chiropractic care, or as a way to unwind and eliminate stress.  There are many different techniques used in massage depending on the type of massage being performed.  If your massage is being done at a doctor’s office, physical therapist’s office or chiropractic office, the massage techniques used will be for the purposes of healing the body.  If you are heading to your favorite spa for a massage, and you are not sure what the best massage is, the first step is to determine why you are getting a massage.  There are many reasons people have a massage.  Below are a few reasons to get a massage and the best type of massage for each.

Best Massage to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, or Depression

Massage is a fantastic way to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.  If you are short on time, consider having a quick 10-minute chair massage so you can get back to your busy day.  If you have more time on your hands, a Swedish massage is a wonderful massage that helps to reduce stress and anxiety.  A Swedish massage will help to stimulate circulation and energize your body.  This type of massage is also known as a classic massage.  The main purpose of a Swedish massage is to relieve tension in your body and relax your muscles.  Not only can Swedish massage help with tension and relax muscles but it can also help with depression.  Massage can help to reduce adrenaline and cortisol and increase dopamine and serotonin which reduces anxiety and depression.   

best type of massage for stress and anxiety

When you get a Swedish massage, the therapist will use warm oil.  If you have any allergies or have sensitive skin, be sure to let your therapist know ahead of time.  This type of massage uses 5 different types of strokes:

  • Effleurage: long stroking or circular motions with the palm of the hand that varies in pressure
  • Petrissage: kneading of the muscles in the body
  • Tapotement: rapid tapping of the body
  • Friction: firm or focused rubbing of particular areas of the body
  • Vibration: rhythmic shaking of the body to help with relaxation

Best Type of Massage to Reduce Pain

If the goal of having a massage is to reduce pain in your back or in other areas of your body, we find that the best massage is a deep tissue massage.  Unlike a Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage targets the deeper layer of muscles.  This type of massage is not for everyone.  In this type of massage, the therapist goes deep into the layers of tissue and muscle reaching as close to the bone as possible to break up knots and release scar tissue.  It uses the same types of techniques but at a much deeper level. 

what is the best type of massage for pain

If you find that the deep tissue massage is causing you more pain than you can handle, be sure to speak up so that your therapist can adjust the level of pressure.  A good deep tissue massage can work wonders for chronic muscle issues and inflammation.   You may find that you are sore for a few days after a deep tissue massage.  This is absolutely, however, a warm Epsom salt bath will help to ease your sore muscles.     

Best Massage for Flexibility and Range of Motion

If you are an athlete or have issues with flexibility and range of motion, a sports massage is one of the best types of massage you can have.  This type of massage is used to help keep the muscles in the body flexible, increase your body’s range of motion, reduce muscle tension, relax nerves, reduce muscle spasms, and help with sleep.  For an athlete, this type of massage is used to try to help the athlete to keep their muscles in the best physical condition and to try and reduce the chances of injury.  

Additionally, it is said that a sports massage can help to eliminate the build-up of lactic acids in the muscles, increase blood flow, decrease recovery time in between workouts, and decrease your chances of injury, however, these benefits are not fully supported by research.  After a sports massage, you may have tender or stiff muscles.  This should go away after just a day or two.

massage for range of motion and flexibility

Massage for Headaches

A favorite massage for helping with migraine headaches is reflexology massage.  Reflexology, or pressure point massage, provides stimulation to specific pressure points in the body to help promote neurological function and circulation.  Individuals who suffer from migraines can find much-needed relief with this type of massage.  The therapist applies pressure, massages, or rubs specific points in the hands and feet which trigger pain relief.  Reflexology has been practiced for thousands of years but did not become popular in the United States until this past century.  

Pampering Yourself With the Best Massage

When you think of a massage, most people think primarily of the pampering aspect.  While a massage is a wonderful way to give yourself some extra self-care, it also has many healing properties.  The healing power of touch is often overlooked as a way to help heal one’s body, mind, and soul.  Whether done alone or as a complementing treatment, massage can provide benefits beyond pampering.  

There are many different types of massage and this article touches on just a few of the more popular ones.  Some additional types of massage to consider that also provide amazing benefits include aromatherapy massage, hot stone massage, shiatsu, Thai massage, and many more.  At Salon & Spa de Crist, you can expect the best massage and the best type of massage for you and your symptoms. From helping with stress and anxiety to combating muscle pain, massage therapy is a way to live a healthier, happier life. Schedule an appointment today!