Hot stones, deep tissue, sports, Swedish, aromatherapy; there are as many different types of massage as there are steps in a Korean skincare regime. So, which one is best for you?
We’ve called upon the expert at Urban Massage to find out the different benefits of every single type of massage.
This particular massage makes use of smooth, flat volcanic rocks that have been heated prior to the treatment.
“The hot stones diffuse warmth throughout the treatment and usually placed where muscles meet or where there are collections of nerve endings like the feet,” says Nadège, in-house therapy expert at Urban Massage.
They can either be placed on key areas on the body to heat the muscles and melt away tension, or else used as a kneading tool by the therapist, used in circular motions or deep strokes to hone in on certain muscles.
Your therapist will usually also incorporate traditional hands-on massage techniques and accompany the treatment with oils to ensure a smooth experience.
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This targeted treatment is expertly designed for those who has chronic aches and pain or deep muscle tension that requires a little extra oomph.
The technique involves applying pressure in slow, sweeping movements in order to reach the deepest layers of muscle and also the surrounding connective tissue.
“If you have bad posture or are stressed and exhausted, then a deep tissue massage is perfect for you,” says Nadège. “It’s ideal for anyone who works in an office or is sat at a desk all day, and also for post-workout relief.”
For any chronic issues, Nadège recommends a deep tissue massage once every two weeks to start with to really jumpstart the recovery process. “This helps to work out any extreme knots that cause every day pain. Then, you and your therapist can decide on a long-term treatment and prevention plan.”
Ok, so it may sound similar to a deep tissue but according to the experts, there are a few key and crucial differences.
“A sports massage will use techniques like passive stretches as a way to help gain a better range of motion in the joints, whereas you’ll rarely do this in a deep tissue,” explains Nadège.
Plus, in terms of the overall experience, a sports massage is unlikely to be a relaxin experience. “Sports massage are rarely about relaxation and more about treating specific injuries or as part of a training schedule. They’re different from a deep tissue, which can still be supremely relaxing.”
But if you do get injured during sport or otherwise, don’t head straight for the massage table. “You need to book a sports treatment after the 7-day inflammation period has elapsed,” warns Nadège.
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Aromatherapy has been relied upon for centuries for its holistic and healing benefits, able to boost our moods as well as help to alleviate certain health conditions.
The premise of aromatherapy is that different essential oils (highly concentrated plant extracts) have different benefits, meaning that a massage can be tailored to best suit you at that moment.
If you’re feeling particularly anxious, your therapist may suggest lavender, frankincense or rose essential oils, while if you’re in need of an energy boost, you may want to opt for rosemary, lemon or eucalyptus.
As well as being massaged into the skin, the oils can also be diffused through an oil burner to create a totally immersive experience.
You’ve probably seen this type of massage on every spa menu, but never been completely sure what it entails.
The Swedish massage is often considered to be the classic Western massage and relies on five main techniques; stroking, kneading, tapping, vibrating and rubbing.
Each one of techniques is used from top to toe to ease muscle pain and promote overall relaxation.
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Many spas and clinics offer an anti-cellulite or body-contouring massage and it’s all due to the fact that massage is a wonderful way to boost blood circulation and provide lymphatic drainage to the whole body.
“An invigorating massage like our Energising massage uses a variety of techniques like pounding, kneading and cupping to encourage proper circulation and therefore provide the muscles with enough oxygen.”
Not only does it revive tired muscles, but it will also tackle cellulite by loosening up the fat and toxin deposits.