Spa day: A guide to massage

Feeling stressed out? Is your body aching with tense muscles? Nothing beats a massage to help combat stress and loosen up! Take a trip to a day spa and let yourself succumb to the power of a relaxing, revitalizing massage.

The healing power of touch has been known for centuries. Take this one step further and opt for a spa massage to help promote better health and wellness. Here is a brief guide to restorative spa massages.

Swedish massage

  • A commonly practiced good-for-you treatment in which the therapist uses scented oils to lubricate the body, then performs long strokes of massage.
  • As a general rule, the therapist will use light to medium pressure while performing the five key strokes of a Swedish massage: sliding, tapping, kneading, shaking and friction.
  • Aids in relaxation, circulation and eases muscle tension.

Hot stone massage

  • A specialty massage treatment involving the use of smooth, water-warmed stones.
  • Warm stones are placed on specific target areas of the body to open up the energy pathways and relax the muscles, thus allowing the therapist to perform an effective deep tissue massage.
  • Alleviates pain, improves circulation and promotes deep muscle relaxation.

Deep tissue massage

  • An intense therapeutic massage that focuses on the deep muscle and connective tissue of the body.
  • Using their hands, fingers and elbows, a massage practitioner applies firm direct pressure on the muscles to reduce tightness and knots while increasing blood flow.
  • Flushes out toxins, helps manage stress and is helpful in reducing chronic pain.

Reflexology

  • A massage practice that involves applying pressure to certain reflex areas of your feet, hands and head to promote specific organ or glandular health.
  • Using techniques such as kneading, rubbing and finger pressure, the practitioner will stimulate specific areas that correspond to certain organs and glands.
  • Provides relief from headaches, digestive disorders and back pain.

Sports massage

  • A specialty massage designed for people who are involved in sport activities and used as a method of preventing and treating injuries while promoting a better athletic performance.
  • The therapist may focus on muscle stretching as well as loosening tight muscles through a combination of Swedish and deep tissue massage.
  • Generally targets specific muscle groups that are problem areas to alleviate pain as well as prevent further muscle, joint and tissue damage.

Couples massage

  • Relax together. Bring your other half along for a bonding and rejuvenating experience.
  • Spas can vary greatly when it comes to a couples massage. Some may choose to make it a sensual experience, while others keep it quite clinical, but regardless of the scenario, the important part is spending time relaxing with your partner. Expect a range of techniques, depending on your spa package.
  • Encourages bonding, reduces stress and promotes relaxation.

More on Spa treatments

How to go to the spa on a budget
Natural spa-like body scrubs
Spa treatments fit for a celebrity

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