Benefits of a Massage

Treating yourself to a massage is the perfect remedy for stress, recovery from an injury, and also gives you a pleasant way to relax your body and mind.

Often seen as a luxury, massages can vary in costs d epending on what part of the country you're based in. A typical hour-long massage can cost in between £30 to £100 and you will find the costs are usually higher in resorts and smart hotels.

Check to make sure that the person who's giving you the rubdown is a massage practitioner. He or she should have a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy and at least one year of training in various massage strokes and techniques.

Try asking around for any recommendations on spa centres and classes. Remember, the spa or centre you choose should have training certificates, registration to professional bodies and licences on display and the practitioner should also have indemnity insurance.

These are the main & popular types of massage:

Swedish

The Swedish massage is a holistic treatment that involves the manipulation and kneading of soft tissue (muscles, ligaments and tendons), while addressing the whole person’s psychological, physical and emotional well-being. There is a need to undress while the massage takes place as most practitioners use some kind of oil.

Deep-Tissue Massage

This massage technique is aimed at relieving chronic pain and involves a more intense application of strokes and a higher level of expertise than a general Swedish massage. It usually involves stretching, moist heat or cold packs and help improve circulation, relaxation and improve flexibility.

Reflexology

This is a Chinese form of acupressure. It uses thumb pressure on certain points of the feet that each represent ten zones, or energy channels. These points connect to each body point as they run vertically through the body, e.g. pressure to the big toe of your right foot may be done to relax your neck. The results of Reflexology are; pain relief, improved circulation and stress reduction. No oils are used so there is no need to take your clothes off. The treatment usually lasts 20 minutes for both feet.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage where the practitioner uses thumbs and palms to apply pressure to specific body points, along with gentle stretching and synchronised breathing. The acupressure points (roughly 600 in total) lie along 14 clearly defined channels that each represent a major organ system. The applied pressure clears blockages so that energy can flow freely through the body and encourage healing. Shiatsu is often combined with other techniques and is generally carried out on the floor or on a mat.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a more refined and intensive form of holistic massage. The traditional techniques and strokes are combined with the use of diluted essential oils. The massage can be relaxing, stimulating or stress relieving, depending on which oils are used (oils are selected for their healing and emotion-inducing properties).

Sports massage

This massage technique is specially aimed at the needs of athletes and sport players and uses some Swedish massage elements along with compression, pounding, trigger point work, friction and stretching. An athlete can undergo a sports massage prior to an activity, which provides a stimulating effect, or after activity to help release muscle spasms and knotted tissue, improve flexibility and remove toxins from the body.