Glossary of Types of Massages
Therapeutic: Non-sexual. Aiding in the care and awareness of our bodies for better health.
Swedish Esalan: The most common type of massage by far in the United States, this is direct
kneading of muscles to release tightness. This very relaxing massage can be done with any amount of firmness desired.
Deep Tissue: A method using little if any lotion, which is very slow and deep. Used only on troubled spots, never over the whole body. However, very hard pressure can be applied to the entire body using Swedish Esalan techniques.
Sports Massage: A more rigorous massage using stretches and a combination of cross-fiber work (working deeply where the muscle attaches to the bone, across muscle) and working along the length of the muscle. This type of massage is usually performed before a sporting event, and afterwards a deeper, slower massage is used.
Reflexology: A technique used on the feet primarily, but it can also be applied to the hands. Best for stimulating internal organs or areas of concern that cannot be addressed directly, but it can also be used to help the whole body. The points on the foot correspond with each area of the body, through nerve endings and meridian lines of energy (derived from Eastern Medicine).
Shiatsu: From Japan, this massage uses aceupressure points, stretching, and other gentle techniques to work on the meridians (paths through the body that energy flows). Shiatsu tends to feel more subtle than other types, and is good for trouble spots and overall health.
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© Deborah Fisher, 2001-Present