Massages aren’t all the same. Before you make an appointment at the spa, think about what your body needs, or the types of strokes that you’re look forward to, then choose the therapy that you want. If you’re unsure how, here’s a guide to help you out.
1. Swedish massage
What it’s like: This is a very common massage that most people will find comforting and therapeutic. The therapists use long strokes that are smooth, sometimes some kneading actions on the surface of your muscles. Most of the time, they use an oil, cream or lotion during the process.
Recommended for: Those with back aches or muscle tension, and conditions such as arthritis and migraines
2. Thai massage
What it’s like: This massage features a lot of compressions and stretches. Don’t be surprised when the therapist moves you into a sequence of postures – it’s almost like doing a two-man yoga. You’ll enjoy this if you like stretching.
Recommended for: Those who want to improve energy levels and flexibility
What it’s like: A Japanese therapy, the therapist uses his/her fingers to add pressure to acupoints in a rhythmic movement. Each point is held for a few seconds so that energy (qi) can flow from the acupoints and the body can regain balance.
Recommended for: People looking for a relaxing experience, believe in the importance of qi flow, or for overall well-being
4. Hot stone massage
What it’s like: Those who have poor blood circulation tend to feel chilly and the warmth from the hot stones help to improve the blood circulation. The heat also relaxes the muscles so the massage can be done more gently. Sometimes, instead of just placing the hot stones on the body, the therapist may use the stones to apply some pressure on specific muscles. In some cases, the stones may be swapped with other tools, such as bamboo.
Recommended for: People experiencing poor blood circulation, low energy and anxiety
5. Aromatherapy massage
What it’s like: The therapist chooses essential oils (usually after a consultation with the clients to find out about their needs) to administer the massage. You can expect the therapist to guide you through some breathing exercises too, so that you can inhale the scent of the essential oils, which can help to alleviate stress level and blood pressure.
Recommended for: Those who are experiencing stress or stress-related problems like insomnia, and for energising the mind and reducing problems like headache
6. Deep tissue massage
What it’s like: This works similarly to the Swedish massage, but the therapist uses slower and stronger strokes, or even friction techniques (going back and forth on every muscle) to help loosen and deeply knead the muscles. Take note that you may feel sore for a few days after a deep tissue massage.
Recommended for: Those recovering from injury and those who are having chronically tight or aching muscles
What it’s like: Some may think this is for relaxing the feet, but it’s more than that. While it focuses on the feet, the concept behind this massage is that there are “reflex areas” on the feet that correspond to your vital organs through energetic pathways, and it is believed that applying pressure on specific reflex areas can help improve health in the corresponding organs.
Recommended for: Those who believe in that the philosophy behind reflexology, or who are seeking alternative methods to help relieve problems in digestion, menstruation, arthritis, and stress-related conditions