Most people would agree that almost nothing is as soothing as the feeling of tense muscles being kneaded into relaxation. There are many different kinds of massage, from deep tissue to aromatherapy, that focus on different parts of the body and offer many myriad benefits.
At Lion’s Breath Wellness, we have extremely skilled massage therapists, who can help you ease any kind of muscle tension or pain. Continue reading for a list of 8 different kinds of massage and the unique benefits they can offer you.
1. Myofascial Release
Myofascial release is a type of massage used to treat a certain type of chronic pain disorder called myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial tissues are found everywhere around muscles at all different places in the body. What is fascia, you may ask? It’s a connective web of tissue that weaves through the organs, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
The practice of myofascial release is generally performed during a massage therapy session. A strain is placed into the myofascial tissue, and a gentle stretch is applied directly or indirectly to the system. This results in increased mobility, function, and postural correction.
Usually, myofascial tissues feel rubbery and loose; if not, that means the fascia has hardened around an injury, preventing proper mobility. The massage therapist will look for areas that are particularly stiff or tense, meaning that the tissue has become more brittle and does not have proper mobility.
Myofascial pain normally originates from small areas called ‘trigger points’. Massage therapists can either focus on a broader area or identify and de-activate specific areas. Myofascial release is not limited to those who suffer from myofascial pain syndrome—people with chronic migraines and venous insufficiency may also benefit.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is characterized by long, slow strokes and strong pressure that targets the deeper layers of muscle in the body. This technique of massage therapy is generally used to treat muscular injuries and strains.
Deep tissue massage does not only function to relieve stiffness and pain in the body—it also offers mental benefits, like intense relaxation. Some studies have shown that it also produces longer-term pain reduction for those who suffer from chronic pain syndromes.
This type of massage can be targeted to just one area or performed over the whole body. However, because of the intense pressure involved in deep tissue massage, you may experience soreness for a few days afterwards.
3. Cranio-Sacral Massage
Cranio-Sacral massage therapy involves light pressure to the skull, neck, and spine. It is specifically useful for relieving a feeling of compression in any of those areas. Cranio-sacral massage can be performed over a series of sessions for a heightened effect.
This type of massage therapy can relieve pain in the head, neck, and spine and release emotional tension. Generally, the belief is that cranio-sacral massage regulates the travel of cerebrospinal fluid through the body’s nervous system.
Though anyone can benefit from this massage technique, it is most helpful for those who suffer from migraines, neck pain, irritable bowel syndrome, scoliosis, among others.
4. Sports Massage
Sports massage is very similar to deep tissue massage. The two techniques both focus on the inner layers of muscle in the body, as well as the use of firm pressure. However, sports massage is more targeted and its practice may include stretching.
Sports massage can offer some preemptive benefits to athletes, from injury prevention to increased flexibility. Usually, massage therapists will focus on muscles specific to a certain sport.
Again, as with deep tissue massage, there may be lingering soreness in the body for a few days after the massage. However, sports massage produces some amazing effects: better sleep, increased range of motion in the joints, and an increased sense of well-being.
5. Remedial Massage
Remedial massage is a kind of therapy that attempts to treat damaged, strained, knotted, or paralysed muscles. It is used as a complement to the body’s own methods of healing.
This massage therapy can target both pain and the causes of said pain, and it can balance the tone of muscles, stimulate blood flow, repair tissue function, and more. Remedial massage uses similar techniques to deep tissue massage, but it is more targeted towards areas of pain and injury.
Myotherapy is a type of massage that, like myofascial release, can help treat tissue pain and joint restriction caused by stiff fascia or muscle dysfunction. Many injuries caused by overuse of a certain body part can be treated by myotherapy, including tennis elbow, shin splints, and muscle sprains.
Myotherapy involves gentle massage, the stretching of affected body parts, and pressure on trigger points. The massage therapist performing myotherapy may also use dry needling and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, where an electric current is used to soothe nerves.
7. Therapeutic Exercise and Rehab
Therapeutic exercise includes a large span of different physical activities, from stretching to aerobic training. This type of exercise targets the restoration or maintenance of strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and endurance, among other factors important to physical fitness.
A trained Myotherapist will begin by assessing your physical abilities and taking your medical history. Then, they will create an exercise plan based on your needs and goals, which will adapt throughout the process of recovery.
8. Cupping and Dry Needling
Cupping is a therapeutic technique dating back thousands of years that involves the placement of a certain type of cups on your skin, creating a suction effect. Cupping is used to improve blood flow, well-being, pain, and inflammation.
Usually, you are given 3-5 cups per session, and the practitioner can use either wet or dry cupping techniques. Wet cupping involves the drawing of small amounts of blood during the process, while dry cupping does not.
Dry needling is a different therapeutic technique, sometimes used in conjunction with cupping, that involves the placement of needles into “trigger points” in your muscles. These are areas that are particularly tense or stiff. Dry needling may help with muscle pain and increase joints’ range of motion.
Overall, these 8 types of massage can offer many benefits, including stress relief, muscle healing, and better moods. It is crucial to do your own research into each type of massage before making an appointment, in order to find out which one will work best for you.
We at Lion’s Breath Wellness hope you gained some new insight from this short list of massage therapies. Explore our website to make appointments for the massage therapies that we offer, such as myofascial release and sports massage.