A Guide To Different Types Of Massage
The variety of massages offered in spas and massage clinics today can be overwhelming. Here is an overview of some of the most popular and more exotic types of massage.
Ayurveda is the traditional Indian system of healthcare that has become increasingly popular in the West. Massage is only one part of the ayurvedic system of medicine, and while a true ayurvedic treatment involves a consultation with a doctor in a clinical setting, massages based on ayurvedic principles are commonly offered in spas around the world. Ayurveda divides people into three types called Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and treats each patient according to his or her type. Ayurvedic massage usually involves a lot of oil.
Tui Na is a traditional Chinese form of massage. Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and the idea of Qi (or Chi), an energy or life force that flows through the body along energy lines called meridians, Tui Na uses massage techniques and manipulations to aid the flow of Qi. Soft tissue massage techniques are used along with acupressure, sometimes together with herbal compresses or poultices. The client remains fully clothed (but without shoes) on a mat on the floor or on a massage table. Tui Na is not usually recommended as a relaxing massage treatment and is more suited for treating specific musculoskeletal problems and other ailments.
The Japanese word shiatsu means “finger pressure”, and shiatsu is based on the Oriental idea of a universal force, or energy, called Ki in Japan and Chi or Qi in China. Shiatsu uses hand pressure and manipulations to relieve tension in muscles and joints, and the client remains fully clothed throughout the massage. Shiatsu is often recommended for back and neck pain and to increase mobility. Although there are several different styles of shiatsu, they are all based on the principles in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Traditional Thai Massage
Traditional Thai Massage is a part of the traditional Thai system of medicine. It is a healing art and a spiritual practice that arrived to Thailand from India, where it was created approximately 2500 years ago. It uses stretching, similar to yoga stretches, acupressure and energy line work, and is based on the idea of energy lines called sen, similar to the meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This form of massage was traditionally practiced in Thailand in temples and hospitals, and it is still a common treatment in Thailand. Thai Yoga Massage is a modern, Westernised version of this ancient healing art, devised by Ashokananda, a German man originally called Harald Brust, who created this variation based on his studies in Traditional Thai Massage.
Aromatherapy massage is a complementary treatment that combines essential oils with relaxing massage techniques. Essential oils are concentrated plant oils that are extracted from leaves, flowers, roots, seeds and fruits. Aromatherapy is often used to relieve symptoms of stress, such as anxiety or sleeping problems, and muscular aches and pains. While commercial aromatherapy oils are sold in supermarkets and beauty stores, a genuine aromatherapy massage with a professionally qualified aromatherapist involves a consultation to determine which oils are most helpful for each client.
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