Tag Archives: Swedish massage

How to Choose Your Perfect Massage

Reading through a Spa menu can be confusing when it comes to massages. Options like Swedish, Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone and Sports massage are tagged with all sorts of wonderful effects like relaxation, de-stress and rejuvenation promising to be invigorating, calming or balancing. But what does all this mean and how do you choose the best treatment suited to your individual needs?

Join me for a journey of discovery into the world of massage. Learn about the basic styles popularly available in Spas or Salons and know what to expect when you book yourself off for a treat. A good Salon will offer at least two or more massage variations. Lately, the trend is to offer as wide a variety as possible to ensure all client requests are covered. This could include a chakra massage, special sound or lighting effects, a four hands massage, an executive massage – most Salons have their own signature treatment. Although there are many different variations, massage has incredible benefits. Hands-on pressure improves the blood and lymph flow. By manipulating the body tissues, fresh nutrients reach the cells and metabolic waste products can be removed faster. This explains why muscles relax so deeply and when the session is finished, you feel like a new person.

Swedish massage is the most widely used. It forms the base of almost all the other massage types and is usually the first massage beauty students are taught. If you are trying out a massage for the first time, go for Swedish. It doesn’t require any strange oils or movements and the pressure can be adapted to suit you. After your first experience you will have an idea of the parts you enjoyed most and what you would like in your next treatment. Make an assessment and ask yourself a few questions. Was the pressure too hard or too soft? Do you prefer a full body massage or a back, neck, head and shoulder? Do you prefer a male or female therapist? Is an afternoon or morning massage better for you? How long do you like your massage to be, is a thirty minute one fine or is an hour better for you?

There are two main differences between an aromatherapy massage and a Swedish massage. Firstly an aromatherapy massage uses oil on the body. Oils are concentrated plant and flower oils chosen for specific therapeutic effects. Secondly, because the oils magnify the effect of the massage, the pressure used is generally lighter. This ensures the circulatory system is not over stimulated bringing on unwanted side effects. For example if the client has a high toxic level in the body, oil that stimulates a detoxification effect could result in a headache. Qualified Aroma therapists will blend a massage oil to suit your specific need. All kinds of conditions are covered from relaxation, detoxification, and stress to sinus, hay fever, muscle tension and insomnia. That means alongside the benefit of the massage you also have the long lasting effect of the oil in your system. Book an Aroma therapy appointment for an effective, relaxing and enjoyable massage or for a massage where you need a specific therapeutic outcome.

Where Aromatherapy massage is regarded as a more gentle massage, Deep Tissue and Sports massage have a different reputation. They both use very firm pressure which is sometimes even painful and is more popular with male clients. Deep Tissue uses the same form as Swedish but with added pressure working on the deeper fibres and tissues of the body. Working so deeply into the tissues can sometimes cause discomfort. Deep Tissue is a full body massage. Sports massage concentrates on a specific area of the body and is often used as part of a training or rehabilitation programme. Movements are much faster and more intense with much more pressure than any of the other massage types. It is a relaxing massage but often the best way to correct injuries and achieve specific results.

Finally we get to my personal favourite: the Hot Stone or Hot Rock treatment, a treatment I feel is highly underrated. Because it uses heat, it is generally offered in winter time. Heated flat volcanic rocks are used to massage the whole body. The heat warms the muscles and increases the beneficial effects more quickly and with less pressure. This is a perfect option if you want the benefit of a Deep Tissue massage without the intense pressure. Hot Stone massage provides a particularly comforting and pampering experience.

I hope you have gained a little more knowledge of some of the basic and popular massages available. From here on, I leave it to you to experiment and play with the unending options our beautiful industry provides.

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Massage Therapists

Significant Points

Employment is expected to grow faster than average over the 2006-16 period as more people learn about the benefits of massage therapy.
Many States require formal training and national certification in order to practice massage therapy.
This occupation includes a large percentage of part-time and self-employed workers.

Nature of the Work

The medical benefits of “friction” were first documented in Western culture by the Greek physician Hippocrates around 400 BC. Today, massage therapy is being used as a means of treating painful ailments, decompressing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries, and promoting general health. This is done by manipulating the soft tissue muscles of the body in order to improve circulation and remove waste products from the muscles.

Clients may seek massage for medical benefit or for relaxation purposes, and there is a wide range of massage treatment available to meet these distinct needs. Massage therapy that aims to improve physical health typically differs in duration and technique from massage that is intended to simply relax or rejuvenate clients. The training background of those who perform the two types of massage therapy differs as well.

Massage therapists can specialize in over 80 different types of massage, called modalities. Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, acupressure, sports massage, and neuromuscular massage are just a few of the many approaches to massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques. Some use exaggerated strokes ranging the length of a body part, while others use quick, percussion-like strokes with a cupped or closed hand. A massage can be as long as 2 hours or as short as 5 or 10 minutes. Usually, the type of massage given depends on the client’s needs and the client’s physical condition. For example, therapists may use special techniques for elderly clients that they would not use for athletes, and they would use approaches for clients with injuries that would not be appropriate for clients seeking relaxation. There are also some forms of massage that are given solely to one type of client, for example prenatal massage and infant massage.

Massage therapists work by appointment. Before beginning a massage therapy session, therapists conduct an informal interview with the client to find out about the person’s medical history and desired results from the massage. This gives therapists a chance to discuss which techniques could be beneficial to the client and which could be harmful. Because massage therapists tend to specialize in only a few areas of massage, customers will often be referred to or seek a therapist with a certain type of massage in mind. Based on the person’s goals, ailments, medical history, and stress- or pain-related problem areas, a massage therapist will conclude whether a massage would be harmful, and if not, move forward with the session. While giving the massage, therapists alter their approach or concentrate on any areas of particular discomfort as necessary.

Many modalities of massage therapy use massage oils, lotions, or creams to massage and rub the client’s muscles. Most massage therapists, particularly those who are self-employed, supply their own table or chair, sheets, pillows, and body lotions or oils. Most modalities of massage require clients to be covered in a sheet or blanket, and require clients to be undressed or to wear loose-fitting clothing. The therapist only exposes the body part being massaged. Some types of massage are done without oils or lotions and are performed with the client fully-clothed.

Massage therapists must develop a rapport with their clients if repeat customers are to be secured. Because those who seek a therapist tend to make regular visits, developing a loyal clientele is an important part of becoming successful.
Work environment

Massage therapists work in an array of settings both private and public: private offices, studios, hospitals, nursing homes, fitness centers, sports medicine facilities, airports, and shopping malls, for example. Some massage therapists also travel to clients’ homes or offices to provide a massage. It is not uncommon for full-time massage therapists to divide their time among several different settings, depending on the clients and locations scheduled.

Most massage therapists give massages in dimly lit settings. Using candles and/or incense is not uncommon. Ambient or other calm, soothing music is often played. The dim lighting, smells, and background noise are meant to put clients at ease. On the other hand, when visiting a client’s office, a massage therapist may not have those amenities. The working conditions depend heavily on a therapist’s location and what the client wants.

Because massage is physically demanding, massage therapists can succumb to injury if the proper technique is not used. Repetitive motion problems and fatigue from standing for extended periods of time are most common. This risk can be limited by use of good technique, proper spacing between sessions, exercise, and in many cases by the therapists themselves receiving a massage on a regular basis.

Because of the physical nature of the work and time needed in between sessions, massage therapists typically give massages less than 40 hours per week. Most therapists who work 15 to 30 hours per week consider themselves to be full-time workers, because when time for travel, equipment set-up, and business functions, such as billing, are added, a massage therapist’s hours per week may very well be more than 40 hours. About 42 percent of all massage therapists worked part time and 20 percent had variable schedules in 2006.

Source: bls.gov,