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The Benefits of Using Different Massage Techniques

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By: Susan Atkinson

According to many online sites dedicated to the art of massage therapy, when performed regularly can improve chronic and acute pain, reduce stress and aid in a sense of overall well being, in addition to relaxing tight tense muscles.

There are many different massage techniques which use different types of manipulation for various results. My favorite is aromatherapy massage. I choose an essential oil that the massage therapist uses to either relax or invigorate me, depending on what I prefer. Oils are made of plant essences and are used to reduce stress, treat anxiety or insomnia, relax, or energize, and simply add a pleasurable aromatic element to the massage. Lavender is very nice and relaxing, as is eucalyptus, which also can clear your sinuses if you are feeling a little stuffy. Another favorite of mine is tangerine. I feel relaxed yet invigorated afterward. Just ask the massage therapist what he or she recommends and enjoy

Other popular types of massage are deep muscle therapy and deep connective tissue massage, which I think is where the saying - hurts so good - comes from. If you have ever had this type of massage therapy, then you know what I mean. When we get stressed, our muscles tense up creating what feels like a lump under our skin. When massaged, the tissue is loosened relaxing the surrounding muscle tissue. It may be a little intense, but believe me, it is well worth the pain. It is especially beneficial to people that have chronic muscle tension. You will feel better afterward, have greater range of motion, and look at the world in a whole new light

Massage Techniques

1. Effleurage - Stroking

Benefits: This type of massage is used to improve circulation. It also has a very soothing effect, and helps relax muscles. Effleurage is usually applied to the whole body, but this is by no means the rule. Effleurage can be purposefully applied to the back, chest, or perhaps just one limb, or even a finger or thumb. All depends on the type of condition being treated.

Effleurage is essentially a stroking movement, and the direction of stroking should always be towards the heart.

2. Petrissage - Kneading

Benefits: Rids the tissues of adhesions, and reaches the deeper layers of muscles not reached by other forms of massage.

3. Tapotement - Percussion - hacking, tapping etc.

Benefits: Improves the interchange of fluid by bringing the blood nearer to the surface of the body.

4. Friction

Benefits: Used mainly over specific areas of the body to break down either rheumatic nodules or fatty nodules. This movement is best carried out with the thumb pressed down hard on the skin. With progressive, tiny circular movements of the thumb, move over the surface being treated in a series of straight lines along the muscle rather than across it. Carry on in this manner until the whole area requiring treatment has been covered. It is important to press onto the underlying tissues so that the skin is moved with the pressure. This is best performed where the muscle lies over a bony surface such as the area over the scap

There are many other types of massage therapy, including prenatal and postpartum massage, sports massage, hot stone massage, shiatsu and acupressure; just too many to discuss here. Do you own research and find which type of massage you like most, and experience all the benefits that massage therapy has to offer. There are many licensed massage therapists around the country, and probably quite a few in your area. Many of them will even come to your home for your convenience. Prices range from $30-35 for a half hour, and $60-75 for a full hour. Go on and pamper yourself, you will not be disappointed.

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About the Contributor

Susan Atkinson writes articles for Email College. Email College offers a variety of short courses in writing, adult training, spirtualism and more. The college also offers ebooks, books, videos and products like herbs and crystals. Please visit http://www.emailcollege.com

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