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The most common type of massage is Swedish massage therapy. It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles. A traditional Swedish massage or deep tissue massage is done without any clothes because the therapist uses oil for glide over your bare skin. Wearing panties or underwear is fine, but a bra won’t allow for a comfortable massage.
Deep tissue massage is best for giving attention to certain painful, stiff "trouble spots" in your body. The massage therapist uses slow, deliberate strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles, tendons, or other tissues deep under your skin. Though less rhythmic than other types of massage, deep tissue massage can be quite therapeutic -- relieving chronic patterns of tension and helping with muscle injuries, such as back sprain. Some people experience muscle soreness after deep tissue massage that could last up to 3 to 4 days. This soreness is similar to pain you might feel after a vigorous workout and should fade over time. Deep tissue massage is done without any clothes because the therapist uses oil or cream to glide over your bare skin. Wearing panties or underwear is fine, but a bra won’t allow for a comfortable massage.
In Japanese, shiatsu means "finger pressure." For shiatsu massage, the therapist uses varied, rhythmic pressure on certain precise points of the body. These points are called acupressure points, and they are believed to be important for the flow of the body's vital energy, called chi. Proponents say shiatsu massage can help relieve blockages at these acupressure points. Cream or oil is not necessary and you can wear loose clothing for this therapy.
Developed to help with muscle systems used for a particular sport, sports massage uses a variety of approaches to help athletes in training -- before, during, or after sports events. You might use it to promote flexibility and help prevent injuries. Or, it may help muscle strains, aiding healing after a sports injury. Sports massage offers stretching techniques as well. You may want to wear a fitted shirt or tank top and stretchy underwear/boxers or shorts.
Myofascial release (MFR) therapy focuses on releasing muscular shortness and tightness. The goal of myofascial therapy is to stretch and loosen the fascia so that it and other contiguous structures can move more freely, and the patient's motion is restored. For this reason, myofascial therapy is sometimes referred to as 'myofascial release' therapy. While myofascial release is gentle, it has profound effects upon the body tissues. Do not let the gentleness deceive you. While each patient's response will be highly individual, certain common responses are seen repeatedly. Occasionally you may leave after the first treatment feeling like nothing happened. Later (even a day later), the effects of the treatment begin to manifest themselves. Often there is soreness after treatment for several hours or perhaps a day. The discomfort is a result of the released tissues secreting lactic acid and other trapped metabolic wastes into the intercellular spaces where it can then be excreted via the body's normal pathways. The best way to aid this process is by drinking extra water which helps flush toxins out of the body. Manual therapy which will include Myofascial Release, requires skin-to-skin contact and friction between your therapist’s hands and you. For your comfort and continued modesty we recommend you wear two piece bathing suits (alternately loose shorts and a loose tank top or t-shirt will work) for women and loose shorts or bathing suits for men.
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a specialized, gentle type of skin massage. When tissues are swollen, deep tissue techniques may actually cause damage to the lymph vessels and surrounding structures. Lymphatic massage is often the treatment of choice, because it helps the body remove proteins and waste products from the affected area and reduce the swelling. A lymphatic massage session starts with light massage on the surface of the skin of the neck. The therapist gently rubs, strokes, taps or pushes the skin in directions that follow the structure of the lymphatic system so that accumulated lymph fluid can drain through proper channels. Lymphatic drainage is very gentle, is not painful and doesn’t have a stimulating effect. Because of the risk of rare side effects of massage which include heart arrhythmias, damage to tissues and blood flow changes, people with a history of heart failure, contagious skin diseases, bleeding disorders, kidney failure, blood clots or phlebitis shouldn't have lymphatic massages. In some cases, however, a doctor may prescribe the massage.
During pregnancy, your body goes through major changes. Pregnancy massage can help with these changes by reducing stress, decreasing swelling, and relieving muscle and joint pain. Massage may be particularly helpful during a time when medication and other medical options may be more limited. Using massage pillows, the massage therapist will help get you into a comfortable position for this type of massage. The client can be placed on their sides or can be massaged in a seated position. Leg massage of a pregnant woman suffering from thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis should never be performed due to the risk of releasing a blood clot. Massage is further contraindicated for women with a history of embolism, or varicose veins. Acupressure and reflexology are two types of massage that focus on pressure points on the body and the hands and feet, respectively. Historically, acupressure and reflexology have been contraindicated on the pressure points associated with the ovaries and uterus.
Hot stone massage is a specialty massage where the therapist uses smooth, heated stones as an extension of their own hands, or by placing them on the body. The heat can be both deeply relaxing and help warm up tight muscles so the therapist can work more deeply and more quickly. You usually start face down, with the therapist working on your back. First, the therapist warms up the body with traditional Swedish massage, then massages you while holding a heated stone. As the stone cools, the therapist replaces it with another. The therapist uses many stones of various shapes and sizes -- big ones on the big muscles, smaller ones on smaller muscles. Hot Stone massage is not appropriate if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are on medication that thins your blood. You shouldn't get a hot stone massage if you are pregnant or have a sunburn. You also may want to reconsider if you are menopausal, as it may trigger a hot flash.