Giving and receiving a massage is a personal but incredibly rewarding experience. But with different types of massage available, it can be hard to know what to choose. Here is a beginners guide to different techniques used in remedial and Swedish massages and how it can be replicated at home.
Swedish massage is probably what most people relate to when they think of relaxation, candles and scented oils. It's one of the more relaxing approaches and places great emphasis on relieving tension within the muscles, using long graceful strokes towards the heart to improve circulation. This stroke is a technique known as Effleurage and requires the massage therapist to follow muscular patterns with the palm and fingertips, alternating pressure to encourage blood flow. This is particularly effective on the back and legs due to the size of the interconnecting muscles.
Preparing to give a Swedish massage is simple enough and requires just a little preparation. A comfortable setting such as a bedroom with dimmed lights and perhaps some scented candles will help to relax the person being massaged, loosening their muscles to make them ready to receive the pressure of the hand. If you choose to use oils, consider what type of skin they have. If it's oily, then try something like Jojoba oil. Alternatively, if someone has relatively dry skin, use something oilier like coconut or Shea butter. This can be used along with a few drops of essential oils like lavender to create an aromatherapy massage. Apply the oil to the hand to allow it to warm up, and then use long strokes from the extremities of the body towards the heart.
Remedial massage is slightly different. Rather than being used to de-stress and relax, it is used to alleviate tight muscles and pain that may be a hindrance to everyday movement. This can range from a stiff neck to a sore back, all of which can be debilitating. Remedial massages can be somewhat uncomfortable which is why the massage therapist will tend to focus on specific areas for short amounts of time, working deep into the muscle tissue.
If you don't have the money to see a remedial or sports massage therapist regularly, you can always use a foam roller. These work similarly to break down muscle tension. For the legs, which are often a problem area, simply place the roller on the floor and lie on it side on with the outside of your thigh on the roller and your lower arm stabilising you. You can use your upper leg to take some of the weight if you want by placing your foot on the floor in front of you. Just roll up and down gently from the lower part of the calf to the outer side of the knee; holding it over any painful spots until they have relaxed.Share