The Ultimate Massage Guide
Massage is a technique that involves kneading, rubbing, pushing on, or otherwise manipulating the soft tissues of the body, including the skin, muscles, and ligaments.
During a massage the massage therapist will usually concentrate on releasing tension that’s stored in different areas of the body in order to release pain and discomfort.
To administer the massage, the therapist may use their hands, elbows, knees, or even their feet to knead and push on different parts of the body. The pressure applied during the massage may be very strong or very light, depending on the style of massage being administered as well as the needs of the recipient.
There are numerous benefits of massage, including (but not limited to) stress relief, muscle relaxation and recovery, improved circulation, and even improved moods. Below is a list of some of the proven benefits of massage:
● Better joint mobility/flexibility
● Better skin tone/fewer acne problems
● Faster recovery from soft tissue injuries
● Improved focus and alertness
● Lower levels of depression and anxiety
● Overall relaxation in day-to-day life
● Decreased muscle tension
● Smoother functioning of the lymphatic system
Because massage can be so powerful and beneficial, it often comes as a highly recommended treatment option for a variety of conditions.
Massage can help treat sports injuries when used in combination with physical therapy coaching, and it can even help get rid of ailments such as insomnia, high blood pressure, and chronic lower back pain.
For cancer patients and individuals suffering from chronic autoimmune disease, massage may be recommended as an add-on treatment option to encourage relaxation and tranquility for the patient.
There are many different kinds of massage, all of which have different practical applications and uses. Below are some commonly used massage modalities in use today:
Swedish massage is one of the best massage types for people who are looking to obtain full body relaxation and to have a peaceful, simple massage experience. While other kinds of massage may be more forceful in targeting and working out pain points, the goal of Swedish massage is to relax the muscles and soft tissues.
This type of massage comes highly recommended for people with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, or joint stiffness and/or pain that may or may not be associated with osteoarthritis.
Swedish massage is a full-body massage. Therapists often use a variety of techniques during treatment including smooth, flowing movements across the body, higher pressure circular movements, massage that produces a feeling of vibration, a tapping technique, and gentle joint movements.
You can expect that during a Swedish massage you’ll be asked to remove all your clothes (underwear can stay on), and then you will be covered with a light sheet. The massage therapist will move the sheet as needed to target different body areas during the massage. Typically, a Swedish massage session lasts between 60-90 minutes.
Deep tissue massage is very similar to Swedish massage, except that it focuses primarily on deeper tissue levels to release built-up tension and to relieve chronic pain.
This particular type of massage may be recommended as a therapeutic technique for people who suffer from chronic muscle pain and also for individuals with tight muscles, anxiety, or certain kinds of injuries. Other issues that can be treated using deep tissue massage include sciatica, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, and tennis elbow.
In contrast to Swedish massage, deep tissue massage will use slow, intentional movements in combination with focused pressure application using the fingers or elbows. These careful movements aid in the breakup of misplaced scar tissue, improved circulation to injuries in need of reparation, and reduced inflammation during the healing process.
Because of the powerful healing impact that deep tissue massage can have, it’s frequently recommended for treating sports injuries and other types of physical, movement related issues.
During a deep tissue massage, which usually lasts 60-90 minutes you can expect to be either completely naked or only dressed in your underwear, but like with Swedish massage, you’ll be covered with a sheet. Before the massage starts, it’s normal for the therapist to discuss what you hope to concentrate during the session.
Hot stone massage uses Swedish massage techniques in combination with the use of hot stones to elicit deep relaxation and stress relief. Besides being an excellent way to release muscle tension, hot stone massage has also been proven to be useful for relieving insomnia, boosting immunity, and even for diminishing symptoms of autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.
During a hot stone massage session, which typically lasts about 90 minutes, gentle flowing motions along with kneading and concentrated circular movements are combined with the placement of hot stones.
The stones are heated from 130-145 degrees Fahrenheit and they may be used by the therapist in place of his or her hands to administer massage techniques such as kneading or rubbing, or they may simply placed on particular areas of the body to help encourage relaxation and release physical and emotional stress.
Some of the locations where the hot stones may be placed during a hot stone massage include on the stomach, along the spine, in the palms of the hands, on the face, on the chest, or situated on different areas of the feet. In addition to using hot stones, some massage therapists may also make use of cold stones to minimize the size of large blood vessels and to soothe the skin after the placement of the hot stones.
You will be asked to be naked or dressed only in underwear for the session, since it’s vital that stones are placed directly on the skin in order for them to bring about maximum healing benefits.
Aromatherapy massage is another method that makes use of Swedish massage techniques while using additional tools to encourage healing and pain relief. Aromatherapy is a healing method that uses various essential oils and their unique scents and medicinal qualities to encourage healing and to manage different conditions.
Massage that uses aromatherapy can specifically help people relieve depression and anxiety, manage the symptoms of dementia, get rid of insomnia, and minimize menstrual pain and PMS symptoms. Aromatherapy massage is also recommended as a complementary treatment for cancer patients because of its ability to bring deep peace and emotional healing.
Aromatherapy massage uses Swedish techniques including smooth motions, circular kneading, and vibration during the session (which usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes). But aromatherapy differs from a regular Swedish massage in that, during the massage, the therapist will rub a special mix of essential oils on the body of the client.
These essential oils are thought to benefit clients not only through scent alone, but also through the absorption of healing phytochemicals through the skin. In fact, aromatherapy massage has been shown to bring about higher levels of pain relief than regular Swedish massage because of the healing plant molecules that are inhaled and absorbed during the treatment.
Before the massage starts, the massage therapist will talk to you about your reasons for getting an aromatherapy massage and what you hope to gain from the treatment. This way, they can select essential oils that will be most effective for treating your unique situation.
Depending on the technique of the therapist, you may or may not be involved in the process of choosing the essential oil scents.You will likely be asked to disrobe down to your underwear during an aromatherapy massage, although some aromatherapy massage may focus on only your back and shoulders or the head.
Shiatsu massage is a type of massage that comes from Japan and is based largely on the concepts of Chinese medicine and healing. In terms of the conditions it heals, Shiatsu can help relieve a wide range of conditions!
Some common ailments treated with Shiatsu massage include anxiety/depression, chronic back pain and headaches, insomnia, PMS and menopausal symptoms, sciatica, sinus issues, and arthritis. Shiatsu can also be used to increase energy and improve digestion besides being a great treatment for sports-related injuries.
Shiatsu massage focuses on certain points of the body, moving between the various selected points with a rhythmic, careful technique. The method used with Shiatsu is comparable to accupressure massage.
Shiatsu massage therapists will usually spend 2-8 seconds on each point, where they will apply medium to strong pressure using their fingers, palms, or elbows, depending on what is needed. Many Shiatsu massage clients report a feeling of mild to moderate tenderness when each point is stimulated.
Most people say that this is a “good pain”, but other people may find it unpleasant or even painful. So, if you’re very sensitive to pressure, Shiatsu massage may not be the right technique for you.
During a Shiatsu massage session, the client is fully clothed in light, cotton clothing that is comfortable and loose. Communication between the massage therapist and the client is important during a Shiatsu massage, and rapport will be established at the beginning of the session to ensure that the client can speak up if the therapist is pushing too hard on a particular point, or if the therapist needs to use a stronger pressure.
Shiatsu therapists are trained to be aware of their client’s needs during the session, so it’s unlikely that your therapist will deliver a pressure that is too strong.
6. Medical Massage
Medical massage (also known as clinical massage) is an outcome-based treatment that uses various massage techniques to achieve certain treatment goals for the patient.
This type of therapy is more focused than many of the other types of massage with therapists putting their efforts primarily into the part of the body that is ailing and in need of treatment. Often medical massage is billed in 15 minute segments and it is sometimes covered by insurance.
Also known as traveling or “out-call” massage therapy, mobile massage brings the massage parlor directly to you. With mobile massage, clients get to enjoy both physical relaxation as well as the emotional benefits of having the treatment come right to their door. This traveling protocol is becoming one of the most popular ways to enjoy the benefits of massage.
People who have hectic schedules may find it impossible to travel to a massage clinic to de-stress and partake in the benefits that massage has to offer. So mobile massage fills an urgent need.
The protocol for in-office (corporate) or at-home (residential) massage therapy is simple. Clients designate the location and the massage therapist sets up portable equipment including a massage table, oils, blankets and sheets, and other necessities depending on the type of massage and the massage therapist’s technique. The client does not have to waste time commuting to a spa in order to enjoy the benefits of therapy.
What are the benefits of mobile massage over a traditional spa massage?
Mobile massage therapy has a lot in common with traditional massage therapy performed in a spa-setting. The primary difference between traditional spa-massage and mobile massage therapy has to do with location.
Mobile massage was created to make this type of therapy more accessible to clients who are home-bound or who are busy at the office by taking the therapist to the client rather than requiring the client go to the therapist. So, if you find an excellent massage therapist who is willing to travel to your home or office, the therapeutic benefits of mobile massage should be identical.
Perhaps you want to find some peace and relaxation in the midst of stress at the office, so you call in a mobile massage therapist over your lunch hour. This is a great idea, but in some cases, you might experience more benefits from massage if you schedule therapy at a time and place that will allow you to let go of stress, rather than at a time when you’re in the midst of it.
If your home or office is very stressful place, you may find that it’s hard to relax even during a massage there. In order to really experience the benefits of mobile massage, you need to have a quiet, private space where you can receive massage therapy.
If your home or office environment tends to be high-stress, it might be wise to do the commute and just go to the spa for a massage. Mobile massage gives clients the opportunity to choose which setting would be most beneficial for them.
Is mobile massage affordable?
Mobile massage costs approximately 2 to 4 times what it costs to get a massage at a spa. Currently, the average cost of a traditional massage at a spa is between $50 and $90 per hour. Mobile massage, on the other hand, ranges between $79 and $200 per hour.
The best rated mobile massage company:
Currently, the company in the mobile massage space with the best online ratings is Zeel. They were the first mobile massage company in the country and have 10,000 highly trained therapists throughout the U.S. Booking an appointment is easy and can be done from their website.
Massage for Seniors and the Disabled:
Massage can be extremely beneficial for seniors and individuals who are disabled because bodywork therapy can help keep muscles limber while moving lymphatic fluids that enhance the immune system.
Anyone who is bed-bound, home-bound, infirm, or in hospice care can benefit from massage therapy. Mobile massage therapy can be an important resource for individuals who are not able to travel to a spa for treatment. In most cases, massage therapy can greatly improve the quality of life for both seniors and the disabled.
How to shop for a massage therapist:
Not every massage therapist has the necessary sensitivity to work with senior citizens or disabled clients. When shopping for a massage therapist to provide care for yourself or a loved one, remember that certain massage styles may not be suitable for elderly or disabled individuals.
Ideally, you’ll want to find a therapist who finds special-needs work rewarding. The massage therapist should have experience working with elderly or disabled clients. The following massage types would be suitable for seniors or the disabled, but be sure to seek out a therapist who is sensitive and genuinely interested in working in a special-needs situation:
● Swedish Massage
● Hot Stone Massage
● Medical Massage
Deep tissue and Shiatsu massage therapists who are skilled at working with special-needs clients may also be able to provide comfortable and relaxing massage therapy for seniors and the disabled.
Be aware, however, that some massage therapy styles may be too strenuous for elderly or disabled clients. Find a therapist who is responsive and easy for you to communicate with. Therapists who work at holistic clinics or clinics that offer medical massage are likely to have experience working with older clients and clients suffering from chronic pain or other issues.
Massage clinics that specialize in working with the elderly or disabled:
Massage Envy: Massage envy is a national company with 1,150 franchise locations across the U.S. They have over 35,000 massage therapists on staff and they specialize in geriatric massage.
The best massage companies by location:
Now that you know everything that massage has to offer, here is a list of the best massage companies for a given location.
2750 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY 14217
169 Wythe Ave #202
252 East Park Avenue
Long Beach, NY 11561
88 Franklin St
New York, NY 10013
82-62 Austin Street
Kew Gardens, NY
327 WEST FAYETTE STREET, SUITE 100
SYRACUSE, N.Y. 13202
316 A Sunrise Hwy
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
Massage therapy is a treatment modality that can greatly improve the client’s quality of life. There are many different methods used for massage and each different method brings about different healing benefits. Some types of massage are very gentle while other types of massage are more rigorous. Clients should choose a massage method that feels comfortable and relaxing to them and that brings about desirable health benefits.
With the development of mobile massage, more and more clients are taking advantage of the opportunity to have massage performed in the privacy of their home or office.
Mobile massage also makes this type of therapy more accessible to senior citizens or disabled individuals who are bed-bound or home-bound. For these clients, massage can provide vital benefits that reduce pain and inflammation and improve mobility, immunity, and cardiovascular health. Medical massage therapists who provide mobile massage services may work in tandem with a doctor or physical therapists to help the client achieve specific health goals.
Seek out a therapist you trust who can provide massage treatment that suits your needs. In some cases, clients may be able to use an HSA to pay for treatment or it may be reimbursed by insurance. Always talk with your therapist to learn more about payment options.