Finding The Right Rubdown

What massage is best for your needs?

The right massage can help relieve pain, treat and prevent certain injuries, ease stress and anxiety, release tension, increase range of motion, and more. But with so many types of massage available, how do you choose? Here’s a pimer to help you decide.  (Also, it never hurts to check with your doctor first.)

1. Swedish Massage

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This is the classic stress-reducing, relaxing, rejuvenating massage. It uses “long, smooth, effleurage strokes” and gentle pressure, and is “perfect for first-timers because it doesn’t go too deep into the muscles,” says Bruce Schoenberg, owner of Oasis Day Spa in Dobbs Ferry.   

2. Deep-Tissue Massage

This is the “no pain, no gain” massage. Though many athletes and chronic-pain sufferers swear by its healing powers, it is not recommended for novices. “Unlike the effleurage strokes in a Swedish massage, the therapist works deep into the muscle with her thumbs and palms,” explains Schoenberg. “So if you’re not used to getting a massage, you’re gonna jump off the table.” For the inexperienced, having a deep-tissue massage, he says, “is like going to the gym and working out with heavy weights after not going for three months.” Definitely not for everyone, but if you have chronic pain, lots of knots, and tension, you may want to consider it. 

3. Shiatsu

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This Japanese modality uses finger pressure and has been likened to “acupuncture without needles.” It’s a holistic therapy intended to improve circulation, relieve stiff muscles, and alleviate stress, and it has been used to relieve chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, migraine, and arthritis.

4. Sports Massage

This massage incorporates Swedish massage and stretching techniques, and often shiatsu, and it’s designed to help athletes and other physically active people prevent and treat injuries. It lengthens tight muscles, helps increase flexibility and range of motion, and increases circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. 

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5. Trigger-Point Massage

Trigger-point massage focuses on alleviating pain in specific areas of the body by isolating the “trigger points” within a muscle that cause pain in other parts of the body. Pressure is applied and then released in these areas, resulting in a decrease in pain.

6. Thai Massage

Think of it as yoga—but with somebody else doing the moves and stretches for you. This energizing form of massage involves the therapist manipulating your body through stretching, reflexology, yoga poses, and acupressure.

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