Massage Basics

Massage Basics

Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. There are several types of massage that focus on different parts of the body or healing approaches. Keep reading and decide which type of massage might be right for you.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage is a gentle full-body massage that’s ideal for people who:

  • are new to massage
  • have a lot of tension
  • are sensitive to touch

It can help release muscle knots, and it’s also a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage.

For this massage, you’ll remove your clothes, though you may choose to keep your underwear on. You’ll be covered with a sheet while lying on the massage table. The massage therapist will move the sheet to uncover areas that they are actively working on.

The massage therapist will use a combination of:

  • kneading
  • long, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart
  • deep circular motions
  • vibration and tapping
  • passive joint movement techniques

Usually, a Swedish massage will last for 60–90 minutes.

Hot stone massage

Hot stone massage is best for people who have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax. This type of therapeutic massage is similar to a Swedish massage, only the massage therapist uses heated stones in lieu of or in addition to their hands. It eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and relieves pain by using heated stones. Hot stone massage may help:

  • ease muscle tension
  • improve blood flow
  • alleviate pain
  • promote relaxation
  • relieve stress

During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone as they massage different parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques using gentle pressure. Sometimes cold stones are also used.

You don’t wear clothes for hot stone massage unless you’ll feel more comfortable wearing your underwear. You will be covered with a sheet. Usually, the massage is 90 minutes long.

Aromatherapy massage

Aromatherapy massages are best for people who want to have an emotional healing component to their massage. This type of massage can help:

  • boost your mood
  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • reduce symptoms of depression
  • relieve muscle tension
  • relieve pain

Aromatherapy massages combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. Your massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference. Essential oils are diluted before being applied to the skin.

During the massage, you’ll be given a full-body massage while inhaling essential oils through a diffuser and absorbing them through your skin. Sometimes an aromatherapy massage will only focus on your back, shoulders, and head. You won’t wear any clothing other than underwear, which is optional.

An aromatherapy massage is 60–90 minutes.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It’s a good option if you have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.

During a deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will use slow strokes and deep finger pressure to relieve tension from the deepest layers of your muscles and connective tissues. You can be naked during this massage or wear your underwear.

The massage will last for 60–90 minutes.

While deep tissue may be more intense, you shouldn’t feel any pain or soreness.

Sports massage

Sports massage is a good option if you have a repetitive use injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing a sport. It’s also a good option if you’re prone to injuries because it can be used to help prevent sports injuries. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Additionally, sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.

A sports massage can be done as a full-body massage or the massage therapist may focus on the parts of the body that need the most attention. Deep pressure may be alternated with soothing strokes depending on your needs.

You can have a sports massage while clothed or naked. If you prefer to wear clothing, make sure it’s thin, loose, and allows the therapist access to your muscles. Loose shorts and a tank top are options.

The massage will last for 60–90 minutes.

Trigger point massage

Trigger point massages are best suited for people who have injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points, this type of massage can reduce pain.

Trigger point massage uses broad, flowing strokes that are gentle and relaxing combined with stronger, deeper pressure. The massage will include work on your entire body, though your therapist will focus on specific areas of your body that need to be released. You can wear lightweight clothing for the massage or be fully or partially undressed.

This type of massage will usually last for 60–90 minutes.

Reflexology

Reflexology is best for people who are looking to relax or restore their natural energy levels. It’s also a good option if you aren’t comfortable being touched on your entire body. Reflexology uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points of the feet, hands, and ears. You can wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows access to your legs.

A reflexology massage lasts for 30–60 minutes.

Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu massage is best for people who want to feel relaxed and relieve stress, pain, and tension. It’s a Japanese type of massage that:

  • promotes emotional and physical calm and relaxation
  • helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
  • may relieve headache
  • reduces muscle tension

Shiatsu massage works the whole body, but your therapist may focus on areas of your body that need extra attention. During the massage, your therapist will use their hands, palms, and thumbs to massage certain points of your body. Pulsing or rhythmic pressure is used. You can be fully clothed during this massage.

Shiatsu massages typically last for 60–90 minutes.

Couple’s massage

A couple’s massage is a massage that you do with your partner, friend or family member in the same room. It brings all the benefits of a regular massage and sometimes provides you with access to the spa’s hot tubs, saunas, and other facilities. Other treatments such as pedicures, facials, and body scrubs are sometimes offered as part of a package.

You can usually choose which type of massage you’d like to receive, and you and your partner can each get a different type of massage depending on your preference and the offerings at the spa. Your partner and you will be on tables side-by-side, and you’ll each have your own massage therapist working on your body. You can talk during the massage if you wish.

Chair massage

A chair massage is best for people who want a quick massage that focuses on your neck, shoulders, and back. A chair massage can also be a way to introduce you to massage if you’ve never had one before. Chair massage also helps to relieve stress and promote relaxation. This type of massage uses light to medium pressure.

During the massage, you’ll remain fully clothed and sit in a specially designed chair. You’ll straddle the chair so that your chest pushes into the back of the chair, allowing the massage therapist to have access to your back.

These massages are usually 10–30 minutes.

Communication 

Always communicate your expectations and intentions with your massage therapist and speak up if there is something with which you aren’t comfortable. Talk to your doctor before getting any type of massage if you have any health concerns or conditions.

Massage may be a way for you to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Experiment with different types of massage and with different massage therapists to find the type and provider that is most ideal for you.

Zen Massage Therapists, Salt Lake City

When it comes to massage therapy, no amount of exotic marble, fountains, lights, and monograms on fancy terrycloth robes and slippers can equal the skilled, experienced hands of a master massage therapist. A luxurious interior can make a great impression, but when you’re back in your clothes again walking out the door, the only thing that matters is how you feel in the real world. The quality of any spa experience is quite literally in the hands of the therapist. Nobody understands this better than ZEN Massage of Salt Lake City. Our partner-therapists make ZEN Massage what it is. We partner with only the best therapists who share a sincere passion for the craft of healing and the art of massage. But most of all, our partner-therapists are approachable. They know how to listen and to understand. They want to make you feel great. They enjoy what they do because they do it exceptionally well.  

Book My Zen Massage

Zen Massage in Salt Lake City

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

(801) 467-3529

 

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5 Reasons to Get a Massage This Fall

5 Reasons to Get a Massage This Fall

Changes in weather from season to season cause physiological changes in your body, you might notice some symptoms as a result. Massage therapy increases the number of killer cells that your body naturally produces and uses as its first line of defense against sickness. This is just one of several reasons you may want to consider getting a massage this fall.

Massage Supports Your Immune System

One of the physiological changes that you might experience when the seasons turn from summer to fall is a weakened immune system. This is because the drop in temperature makes your body rebalance itself faster than usual. Massages support a healthy immune system, which protects you from seasonal illnesses such as allergies and the flu. According to a study, massage therapy increases the number of killer cells that your body naturally produces and uses as its first line of defense against sickness. It does this by stimulating your lymph nodes to remove harmful bacteria, toxins, and waste. Getting a massage can even help you get over a cold.

Helps Your Body Heal

Summer activities and sports such as kayaking, running and swimming give you the exercise that you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and flexibility. Even going on a road trip or vacation with the family can be exercise. However, a lot of exercise can take a toll on your body and cause dehydration over time. After all of the activities that you participate in during the summer, it’s important to allow your body to recover. A massage can help this process along before the physiological changes occur in your body.

Gives You More Energy

Cooler temperatures and shorter days come with the changing of the leaves, and you might feel less inclined to spend time outdoors or be active. Continuing to exercise and participate in sports, however, can reduce the toll that winter takes on your levels of energy. Similarly, getting a massage increases the flow of blood and oxygen through your body. This makes it easier for your circulatory system to deliver nutrients where they’re needed, which gives you an energy boost.

Improves Sleep

Most people feel cranky when they don’t sleep well or enough, but did you know that poor sleep can lead to chronic conditions such as depression and cardiovascular disease. It’s not always easy to get eight hours of sleep every night, particularly when your body is going through a physiological transition at the beginning of fall. Studies show that getting a massage increases serotonin levels so that you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Relieves Seasonal Stress

Along with the physiological transitions that come with the passing of summer into fall are the stresses of modern living. Some of these include the return to school, extra lawn maintenance, and preparation for the holidays to come. The hustle and bustle of fall can catch up to you, exposing you to illnesses that only a healthy immune system can fight. Massage therapy helps to melt the stress away so that you can take a breather. It’s also a great way to renew your commitment to taking care of yourself.

The significant benefits of massage therapy on your body and mind are too good to ignore. Allow your body to recover and relax with a massage.  Book Now 

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Prenatal Massages | Pregnancy Pampering

Prenatal Massages | Pregnancy Pampering

Lower back pain, leg cramps, swollen feet, heartburn. Pregnancy is beautiful, but it’s anything but comfortable. Expectant mothers can help their bodies adjust with diet, massage, yoga, and even by taking a dip in the pool.

Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques. From the first to third trimester, prenatal massages can have profound physical and psychological benefits.

While we always suggest getting your doctor or midwife’s advice before booking your prenatal massage, a massage therapist with prenatal massage experience and education will know how to ensure a safe, relaxing experience for you.

First Trimester Massage – Many women have been led to believe it isn’t safe to get a massage during this period. Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy – during the first, second, or third trimester. But many facilities will refuse to offer massage to a woman who is still in her first trimester because of the increased risk for miscarriage associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

During the first trimester, a prenatal massage can help relieve some of the headaches, constipation, and yes even morning sickness. Along with the physical benefits of a massage, taking the time to deeply relax will do wonders for your well-being as you prepare for motherhood!

Second Trimester Massage – Many women find this stage of pregnancy to be easy going compared to the first and third trimesters. However, as your belly grows, your posture will change as your center of gravity shifts, resulting in back pain. Prenatal massages can ease those tense back muscles as well as enhance your posture and bodily alignment. Your body and mind will benefit greatly from the healthy habits you’ve adopted.

Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women’s prenatal care. This leads to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health. In women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones associated with stress) were reduced, and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).

These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence strongly suggests there are maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.

Third Trimester Massage – You may find that the anticipation of delivery has increased your stress levels. This is the perfect time for you to book yourself a massage. You’ll find that regular prenatal massages during this last trimester can enhance your sleep, reduce pain and swelling, and generally assist in lowering stress as the delivery day draws near.

Massages during the third trimester can even help prepare your pelvic muscles for the birthing process. Some women find deep tissue massages especially helpful during the final stretch of pregnancy, though it’s always best to consult with your obstetrician and massage therapist beforehand.

Many women have experienced a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage.

Potential benefits of prenatal massage –

  • Reduced back pain
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced edema
  • Reduced muscle tension and headaches
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
  • Better sleep

Precautions – As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider. The best way to address the risks of prenatal massage is to be informed and to work together with knowledgeable professionals.

Women who have recently experienced bleeding, pre-term contractions, or have any of the following conditions should speak with a healthcare provider prior to receiving a massage –

The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women. Along with the guidance and advice of a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health supplement shown to improve pregnancy outcome and maternal health. Consult with your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice.

From the early stages to the days before delivery, prenatal massages offer numerous benefits for your body and mind.

Sources:

http://www.massagebook.com/massage-therapy/pregnancy-pampering-benefits-prenatal-massages-trimester/

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/prenatal-massage/

Alignment, SI Joint Pain & Massage Therapy

Each body tells a personal story.  The different ways we use our bodies daily is not always a conscious decision. Let’s be honest our alignment and posture are not always optimal. We have to work, read, hunched over 8 hours at the desk, drive and then we wonder where’s our pain coming from?

​Repetitive motion creates patterns that build our posture. The fascia that lies underneath, throughout your body gets pulled in different directions and creates patches and areas with condensed tissue that need to be smoothed out.​

Massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain and for works best as part of an integrated approach with your doctor and/or physical therapist.

Physical therapy will alleviate pain through guided and supervised stretching and exercises that increase the stability of the joint. Massage therapy can also help reduce the pain associated with SI joint dysfunction by addressing the muscles and ligaments that support it.

For example, cranial-sacral therapy (balancing the rhythm of the cerebral-spinal pulse) will realign the body and reduce the stress on the SI joint. Using Swedish massage techniques, your massage therapist can relax the muscles and improve circulation in the area.

Massage can relieve the pain and discomfort of SIJ dysfunction by correcting imbalances of the musculoskeletal system. This is the connection between your muscles and your joints and bones. Some practitioners use a therapeutic strategy involving piriformis techniques that address the stability of the pelvis in order to alleviate the SI joint pain.

Corrective massage is designed to counteract harmful muscle imbalances that result in poor body posture. With the repetitiveness of occupation and daily activities, pain occurs due to imbalances created by overuse of certain muscles and under use of others. Our body posture provides a window into musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.

Muscle imbalances affect the whole body, causing stress and fatigue that tighten the muscles and limit oxygen to the cells. Poor posture can limit our body’s potential range of motion creating stress on the musculoskeletal system. The result is chronic pain caused by the weak underused muscles being pushed to their limit. Muscle pain is a strong signal of body misalignment.

Chronic conditions develop over time, and will often require multiple sessions to change the patterns and posture of your body.  As your massage therapist, we listen to the pain and make the healthy alignment changes that are needed using massage. The goal is for you to be pain free and capable of  living an active lifestyle.

It’s important to try the least invasive routes before leaping to potentially addictive prescription painkillers and costly surgeries with lengthy recovery times. In addition to your doctor, seek advice from massage therapists, physical therapists, and holistic health practitioners who can offer alternative approaches to your sacroiliac joint pain management.

The tools offered by doctors to treat pain (pills and surgery) mask the issue and do not get to the root problem, muscular skeletal imbalance. With corrective massage, sessions are interactive requiring you to flex and release certain muscles during the massage to accelerate the results and to re-educate the body so that stretched muscles are contracted and shortened muscles are lengthened. This creates balance in the body. When the body is in balance, it is pain free and strong.

Good communication with your massage therapist is key to getting the best treatment for your body.

Personalized Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City @ http://zenmassage.net/

Sources:

Low Back, Piriformis and SI Joint Pain

Impact of Massage Therapy on Pain

SI Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief Through Massage

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