With so many different types of massage available it’s difficult to find out what they all offer, let alone decide which one is right for you and your tired muscles. My spa guide delivers the A-Z of massage.
Generally a massage will aim to relax and revive tired, sore muscles, increase blood and lymphatic circulation and to make you feel totally blissed out.
Most spas will offer a selection of massages with their own twist, so when you book don’t be afraid to ask whether the massage you are booking is suitable for the results you want to achieve.
During this massage therapy, essential oils are massaged gently into the skin. Sometimes you are asked to choose an essential oil, based perhaps on the scent you like the most, or the therapist may ask what you are hoping to gain from the massage and select an essential oil for the massage based on your answer.
Each essential oil is believed to have different healing properties. For example, some calm while others energize.
Remedial massage is a therapeutic deep tissue massage that can treat specific health issues, injured muscles, tendons and ligaments. As remedial massage is a holistic treatment the therapist may also use some elements of yoga during your massage with the aim of relaxing your body and your mind.
Remedial massage has been said to relieve a whole host of aches and pains, from headaches and migraines to sore muscles, lower back and hip pain and sciatica. Remedial massage is one of the few forms of massage you can claim a health care rebate for.
Relaxation massage aims to relax and soothe the body, leaving you feeling truly pampered and with a sense of well being. By moving the blood and lymph fluids through the body, relaxation massage aims to boost circulation, pumping oxygen to key organs and encouraging your body to get rid of its waste. This is the ultimate massage for someone who wants total relaxation and pampering.
Full body massage
Full body massage simply means the therapist massages your whole body. Generally you will find most massages are full body, unless the treatment is designed to focus specifically on back, neck and shoulders, or any area you ask the therapist to concentrate on.
Be aware that you can also advice the therapist during the consultation prior to your massage if there are any areas that you would not like them to touch.
Full body massage is non sexual.
Hot rocks massage
Hot stone massage is a specialty massage that uses smooth, heated stones which absorb and retain heat. Special volcanic rock is used rather than ones from the bottom of the spa's garden! The heat is both extremely relaxing and helps release tight muscles . The stones are cleaned before each use and then heated using hot water. The rocks heat to a lovely warm temperature in the hot water however if you feel that they are too hot for you don't be afraid to speak up. The massage is meant to be enjoyable and relaxing not burning! The therapist will begin by warming up the body with traditional massage then they will massage you using one of the hot stones. As the stone cools, the therapist replaces it with another. The therapist may leave heated stones in specific points along your spine, in the palms of your hand, on your belly, or even between your toes to improve the flow of energy in your body.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage focuses on the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue in the body. Movements are slow and deep, focussing on areas of pain and tension, similar to the movements in Swedish massage but with more pressure.
Lomi Lomi massage
Meaning massage in the traditional Hawaiian language, Lomi Lomi is a Hawaiian style of massage which relaxes body and mind. The therapist may use a combination of prayers, breathing techniques and massage strokes, which may be gentle or vigorous, alongside continous, flowing rhythmic strokes.
Sometimes two massage therapists perform the Lomi Lomi massage, each working on a different body part as it is believed that this can increase the level of relaxation. The therapist may hum or dance during the massage, which Lomi Lomi practitioners believe will unblock energy levels. Lomi Lomi aims to help the body heal itself.
Swedish massage is designed to be both relaxing and energising. By increasing oxygen flow in the blood and releasing toxins from the muscles through a series of six basic techniques, including long strokes, taps, vibrations, friction and kneading, this form of massage has been found to gently stretch ligaments and muscles, to increase circulation and to reduce the recovery time from muscle injuries. It is also reported to have excellent stress reducing qualities. This type of massage is probably the most commonly known.
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese massage which aims to rebalance the flow of energy through the body by pressing the finger, thumbs, elbows, forearms, feet and knees to key points on the body. Shiatsu is deeply relaxing and is believed to have a healing effect on many ailments, including back pain, headaches, digestive problems, stress, depression and muscle injuries. This is one massage which is usually carried out when you are fully clothed. As part of the consultation the therapist will usually examine your pulse, spine, tongue and face to determine what treatment they should use.
What happens when I arrive for my massage?
A good therapist will always have a consultation with you before your massage to ensure you know what the massage entails, as well as establishing any areas you would like them to concentrate on, any areas you do not wish to be touched. They should also ask about your medical history and any known allergies to assess the safest way for you to have the massage.
Some massages require you to remove your clothing during the treatment while you can remain clothed for others. If you’re in any doubt, ask what the situation is when you book.
If your massage requires you to undress you will usually be asked to either undress in the treatment room and lie on the bed draping a towel over yourself, or you will be shown to a changing room where there’s usually a locker available for you to store your clothes, and a robe and slippers for you to change into.
Avoid eating a heavy meal before your massage. If you feel uncomfortably full you won’t find lying on your front very relaxing
What happens after my massage is finished?
The therapist will let you know the massage has finished, then they will leave the room and allow you to relax and take your time to come back to earth and get dressed. They will usually have a glass of water waiting for you in the reception or waiting area.
Following your massage make sure you drink plenty of water to help you body flush out the toxins that have been released from your muscles during the massage.As with all spa treatments you should always advise the spa if you have any allergies or if you are or maybe pregnant so that they can ensure the treatment and products used are suitable for you.