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The Ultimate Massage Guide: Types & Benefits

Getting in touch with the facts during these challenging times.

All that pressing, rubbing, controlling and manipulating muscles, body parts and other soft tissue can without a doubt help manage stress as it boots out anxiety. And this work as a stress reliever is extremely important as experts say 90 percent of diseases are stress- related and elevated angst is probably the primary external and internal ageing agent.

In addition to addressing anxiety and mental health issues like depression, massage, which is usually carried out by using long strokes, rubbing in deep circular movements and employing vibration and tapping techniques, can be a cure for several health-related problems. As well as rehabilitating sports injuries while working with their hands and fingers, forearms, elbows or feet, therapists can improve your sleep, provide you with energy, enhance concentration, give emotional balance bodywork, boost blood circulation and fight fatigue. With all the various benefits, a massage session is advantageous for everyone, whether sick or healthy.

Different kinds of massage therapies involve using hands and other objects such as stones to apply pressure on the body and each offers different therapeutic benefits, ranging from pure relaxation to easing muscle tension. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there are about 100 different kinds of massage therapies, but the following six are some of the best:

Swedish Massage. This is a deep-tissue massage where therapists use long strokes with their hands to knead the skin.

Hot Stone Massage. The use of the hands and heated and oiled stones provide relaxation and ease muscle tension. Basalt or jade stones, when heated, can expand blood vessels, which improves circulation. A stone massage also can involve chilled stones made of marble and jade.

Shiatsu Massage. Pressure points stimulate blood flow and balance to the body. Shiatsu is built around the principle that when the body is in balance, a life force known as chi flows freely. When inflammation or stress creates an imbalance, rubbing the body in a certain manner to open any blocked areas can restore chi.

Sports Massage. Blending two types of massage therapies, Swedish and Shiatsu, this therapy was developed to help athletes relieve muscle tension and strain, according to Drew University. During a sports massage, a masseuse applies pressure using the hands on the 12 points athletes use to derive movement.

 Pregnancy Massage. This kind of massage alleviates the unique aches and pains a woman may experience while expecting. This includes increasing circulation to provide relaxation and relieve back pain. It is soothing, without putting strain on the body like a Swedish massage can.

Thai Massage. Resembling yoga in that the massage is performed on a mat, this sort of massage involves full-body manipulations. Wearing soft, comfortable clothing, clients stretch and manipulate the body into a series of poses. While they achieve these positions, the masseuses use their hands or feet to apply pressure to the body. 

6 Health Benefits of Massage:
- A massage session is a break from your job, your family, friends, enabling you to slow down and de-stress.
- Massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which carries away the body's waste products.
- It has been proved that massage releases a hormone called serotonin that enhances the body and mind's "feel good" state.
- Pre-natal and post-natal benefits for women are one of the most important factors for experiencing a massage.
- Massage therapy can help with pain management in chronic conditions such as arthritis, sciatica and muscle spasms.
- A massage improves blood circulation, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the cells. 

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