Different therapies can target various injuries or problems in the body. For example, your physiotherapist may use hot and cold therapy to manage lower back pain. But a massage therapist could manage that same pain with massage therapy in many cases.
Massage therapy serves many purposes. Some types of massage therapy include myofascial cupping, recovery, deep tissue, hot stone, prenatal, and sports massage. These massages share some similarities, but they each serve a different purpose depending on your needs.
This article reviews these 6 types of massage therapy and how they might benefit you.
What Is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is the manipulation of a body’s soft tissue. A massage therapist uses specific techniques to apply varying degrees of movement or pressure. There are several types of massage therapy, and each one benefits the body differently.
Some benefits of massage therapy may include:
- Mental health: Massages can help lower anxiety, depression, and stress levels, increase energy, and promote relaxation.
- Improved health: They can improve circulation, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and help with digestive disorders, nerve pain, and headaches.
- Recovery: Massages promote healing from sports and soft tissue injuries, and can reduce pain and soreness.
Discuss your symptoms with your massage therapist if you’re unsure which type of therapy is right for you.
A recovery massage is a common massage that can help improve overall physical and mental health through increasing circulation, flexibility, and muscle engagement. A massage therapist customizes the massage to fit each client’s individual needs.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, have a decreased range of motion, or suffered an injury, a recovery massage may be right for you.
Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage is similar to a recovery massage in many ways, but as the name suggests, is a deeper and stronger massage. A deep tissue massage is usually the better option when the therapist needs to target specific deep muscles and connective tissues.
Chronic pain and injuries are common reasons to get this type of massage. There’s also evidence that suggests deep tissue massage may improve respiratory function and reduce blood pressure.
Hot Stone Massage
A hot stone massage uses many standard massage therapy techniques, but with the addition of the hot stones used on specific parts of the body to help muscles relax. The hot stones are both placed on specific areas of the body and used in place of hand-on techniques for both a relaxing and healing treatment.
A hot stone massage is a great choice for clients who may be too sensitive to receive a deep tissue massage.
Some of the major benefits of a hot stone massage are the same as other massages, such as pain and stress relief and increased range of motion or flexibility. Hot stone massages promote a high level of relaxation in your muscles, which can be great for muscle spasms and severe tension levels.
Some people think you cannot get a massage while pregnant, but this isn’t true. A prenatal massage provides mothers in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters massage therapy that can target pregnancy-related aches and pains. Relaxation and stress relief are also benefits of a prenatal massage, which is great for a momma and her baby.
Sciatica is a relatively common problem in pregnant women. This is a specific issue that massage therapy may be able to help with.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to sports recovery. No two injuries are identical, and each sport or activity may present a higher risk for certain injuries. Depending on the sports injury, massage therapy may be an integral part of the healing process.
In addition to assisting in recovery, a sports massage is also designed to help reduce the risk of an injury in the first place. The focus with this type of massage is on athletic performance and protection.
Myofascial cupping is commonly offered as an addition to another type of massage. Still, a massage therapist may perform it as its own therapy.
During this therapy, your massage therapist places plastic or glass cups on you that create gentle suction. The suction can provide benefits such as increased circulation, breaking down tissue blockages, and stretching muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Myofascial cupping may help increase range of motion.
There are 2 forms of cupping:
- Dynamic cupping: the cups move and glide along the body promote blood circulation and recovery.
- Static cupping: the cups remain in a specific spot on the body to deepen the fascia tissue release.
There are some people who shouldn’t get myofascial cupping, such as those with fractures, certain cancer, or connective tissue disorders. If you’re unsure, this is a conversation you should have with your massage therapist before beginning therapy.
Find Out More About Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is a multi-faceted form of therapy. If you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, it could aid your health and recovery time. Alternatively, it can provide stress relief and relaxation if you’re uninjured but feeling tense.
If you want to find out more about massage therapy and how it may be able to help, reach out. Our professional team at Recovery Lab is available to answer your questions. We’re happy to book you in for a consultation or an initial massage.