Some forms of massage therapy are better at promoting a relaxed mind-body state than others. These types of massage are great for helping to ease mental and physical stress that might be hindering your sleep.
Swedish massage: This form of massage is relaxation-focused, using a sequence of long, gliding kneads, strokes, and circular motions to erase shallow tensions in your muscles. Swedish massage helps to reduce superficial muscle tension, while boosting circulation throughout the body.
Hot stone massage: A masseuse uses hot, smooth stones typically placed on your back to relax and invigorate your body. The heat helps to release tension built up in your shoulders and back, allowing the therapist to more easily reach areas of muscle ache.
Massage for Pain and Specific Conditions
Other forms of massage are designed to relieve specific types of pain. The cause of the pain isn’t important. As long as you feel certain that the pain is caused by soft tissue damage or inflammation (as opposed to joint or bone problems), these types of massage can help.
Deep-tissue massage: The practitioner utilizes techniques designed to get beyond the superficial layers of the muscle. If your pain is longstanding or comes back even after repeated Swedish massages, this can help get at its core. These massages can be more painful than relaxation massages, but they can also bring more relief.
Trigger point massage: This type of massage utilizes trigger points to release tension in the muscles. By placing pressure on the point, the muscle is triggered to relax and lengthen, rather than remain short and tight.
Rejuvenating Massage and General Health
Finally, some forms of massage work to relieve specific ailments or help the body find or retain health. These practitioners usually focus on pressure points believed to run along the body’s energy meridians. Massaging these points can help relieve pain and enable the body to become healthier.
Shiatsu massage: A Shiatsu practitioner uses his or her hands, elbow, feet, etc. to place pressure on traditional Japanese pressure points throughout the body. The practitioner also focuses on stretching and rotating limbs in order to free blocked energy so that the body can function as it was designed to.
Reflexology: This form of massage focuses on trigger points in the hands and feet. Each point corresponds to a part of the body or a specific organ. Regular massage of the points associated with a part of the body is said to bring healing and health to that part.