Massage Therapies: Luxury and Self Care

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You’re ready for some alone time at the spa, eager to enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, but which massage therapy is best?

Depending on what you’re interested in, there are a number of massage therapies to choose from when you attend the spa. Do you need something with a firm pressure to work those kinks out of your neck and back, or do you want to promote detoxification and circulation? There are massages for nearly any issue you’re experiencing.

Did you know the American Massage Therapy Association highlights more than 65 various massage therapies and body modalities? That’s quite a selection of treatments and experiences to consider when you’re getting ready for a day of pampering. While it might sound as if massage treatments are a luxury, they’re actually an important way to care for your body. Massage provides a vast number of benefits to the health of mind and body, including relieving stress and anxiety, improving soft tissue injuries or strains and lessening joint aches and pains.

Whether you go to the spa regularly and stick to the basics or you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing such a therapeutic outing, here are some of the most popular massage therapies to consider when you’re ready to book that appointment.

The most common of all massage therapies, the Swedish massage is the standard unless you request a different therapy. This massage works to target various muscle groups and promotes circulation.

Deep Tissue
Not just a traditional massage with firmer pressure, the deep tissue massage uses specific and therapeutic strokes over muscles that are tight or injured. With deep tissue massage, the connective tissues are targeted in addition to the larger muscle groups, good for when you have neck or back strain or are suffering from headaches or other forms of injury.

An ancient form of traditional Chinese therapy, acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but there are no needles used. Instead, the massage therapist uses firm finger pressure on various points of the body to encourage energy flow; this is thought to unblock the energy that might be causing illness or other ailments. Another form of acupressure, Shiatsu, is derived from ancient Japanese practices.

It’s a modality similar to the concept behind acupressure; a massage therapist uses pressure points on the hands and feet to alleviate conditions and ailments. In many ancient medicines, it is thought that the soles of the feet and palms of the hands feature energy and meridian points that connect to certain locations throughout the body. For example, applying pressure on the toe pads helps increase energy flow to the brain, eyes, pituitary glands and throat.

These are just some of the most popular massage therapies; there are others! Sports massage, pregnancy massage and Thai massage are just some of the specialty therapies that integrate unique strokes and pressures to provide benefits for specialized conditions.

During massage therapies, a plethora of add-ons can enhance the overall experience of the treatment and provide even more benefits to the body. Aromatherapy, which has been around for thousands of years, is often added to any massageor body treatment. Certain essential oils, such as lavender or eucalyptus, work to alleviate ailments or provide an energizing aroma during a massage.

When you want to splurge on the ultimate relaxation session, countless spas around the country include luxurious ingredients and even more therapeutic elements to give you a massage to remember. Ready to take your massage to the next level? Browse the menu for these added treats.

Sea Salt
A full-body exfoliation prior to a massage helps prepare the body for the full benefits of a massage. In some luxury treatments, cupping, an ancient Chinese ritual, is completed on the back to draw out toxins, followed with a full body wrap of clay or seaweed. A rejuvenating soak in salt water or a warm tub completes the session.

Though we know the lore of Cleopatra’s using milk to cleanse and nourish her skin, there are a variety of day spas that still use this silky ingredient to provide a treat for your skin. Sign up for treatments that apply a soothing milk to the skin, perhaps coconut milk, before giving you a full-body exfoliation and massage!

Vichy Shower
Water is used as an added element of therapy in a rain massage. Warm water pulsates the body from overhead rain showers, offering a soothing and relaxing experience. Different color clay treatments are used in combination with Vichy showers; they help draw out toxins, firm or soften the skin. Melemele, or yellow clay, is recommended for stress relief.

Massage therapy provides a number of benefits to both the mind and body. Whether you stick to the traditional Swedish massage or you venture out of your comfort zone, your muscles will thank you! ■

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