There are several types of massages, all of which aim to bring a feeling of well-being, circulate energies and soothe tensions in the body and mind. There are many different massage techniques with different movements depending on the benefits you wish to achieve. Friction, kneading or palpating-rolling are among the most commonly used techniques, along with smoothing, pressure points or vibration.
The Anma massage, of Japanese origin, is nowadays practiced sitting and helps to eliminate the symptoms of stress at work. It is practiced in 15-minute sessions, generally within companies.
A genuine wellness massage originating from South India, the Ayurvedic technique allows the energy to be distributed throughout the body. It is a true art of living that can be practiced daily. The practitioner uses oil and applies rubbing and kneading on the 107 vital points, called “Marmas”, in order to make the vital energy, the “Prana”, circulate along the body. The traditional ayurvedic massage always starts with the left foot (“Kansu”), goes up the leg, the thigh. Then we move to the other leg, then the masseur places his attention on the belly, arms (“Abyanga”) and continues with the face, head and forehead (“Siro Dara”). When he has finished with the anterior side, the masseur passes to the posterior side following an inverse pattern (head, belly, thigh…). It is also possible to concentrate only on a specific part of the body.
Coming straight from Indonesia, Balinese massage aims to tone the body while stimulating its energy points and has both a therapeutic and aesthetic effect. Indeed, it helps to burn excess calories while maintaining a significant effectiveness against stress. A Balinese massage session generally takes place in two parts, the first part is made of caresses and gentle kneading all over the body with the forearms and thumbs, then the second part includes stretching.
The Californian massage is today the most common massage technique given in wellness salons. Also known as the Esalen massage, its development dates back to the 1970s. It is a massage that is practiced between partners in search of the sensitivity of their bodies. Practiced on a mat on the floor, the Californian massage focuses mainly on the bust, stomach and back. The practitioner uses large and gentle movements, accompanied by scented oils.
A relatively unknown practice in the West, traditional Chinese massage is an ancestral medicinal technique based on the circulation and balance of Qi movements (physical and mental strength, vigour and power of the body). The masseur will use fingers, feet and elbows to act on the patient’s acupuncture points with pressure, friction and stretching. The Chinese massage provides a feeling of intense well-being.
Korean massage, or more commonly known as Korean relaxation, differs from other techniques by the fact that here, it is the patient’s body that works more than the practitioner’s body. The goal is to literally vibrate the body of the person being massaged, lying on a cloth on the floor. A session takes place in two parts: the first one is used to “shake” the patient who is active, and the second one where he becomes passive, to integrate the sensations of the first one. It is possible to apply the Korean massage only to a selected part of the body such as the arm, neck or legs.
Pregnant Woman Massage
The massage dedicated to pregnant women is very effective and helps to relax the mother-to-be on a physical and psychological level: it relieves the body of the physical, emotional and hormonal constraints due to the pregnancy period. It is advisable to start the sessions after the 3rd month of pregnancy, when the foetus has reached a stable stage. In the 4th month, the baby will feel all the benefits of this relaxing moment. Prenatal massage can only be given by health professionals with specific training such as midwives or nurses.
Practiced on the floor or on a massage table, the Lomi Lomi is a revitalizing massage that is inspired by the traditional Polynesian philosophy and is based on the fourth elements of earth, water, air and fire. The massage is therefore broken down into four techniques related to these elements. The combination of these techniques helps to promote the awakening of the person being massaged on the physical, moral, spiritual and social levels. During the session, the masseur alternates kneading, pressing and kneading using mainly his fingers and the palms of his hands.
The naturist massage stimulates the whole body with sensual strokes. The goal here is not to achieve sexual ecstasy but to relax and unwind! Many salons nowadays offer naturist modelling sessions in quiet places with soft light and soft music. The massee and the masseuse (yes, most often women) are usually completely naked and it is possible to do a session as a couple. It is advisable to be very comfortable with nudity to go to these specialized massage parlours. It can of course be done at home, as a preliminary, which will allow you to avoid a certain routine and strengthen the couple’s bond.
The oriental massage is generally performed in an institute with a spa or hammam. This technique aims to relax the muscles and release nervous tension through sliding, touching and kneading movements of the body of the person being massaged. With the use of argan oil, the skin becomes soft and satiny and nervous tensions disappear.
Hot Stone Massage
The hot stone massage is designed to give the patient’s body a real feeling of well-being. These polished basalt stones, originating from the island of Hawaii, are heated to a temperature not exceeding 50 degrees and are placed on the energy points along the spine of the massaged person, lying on their stomach. The practitioner will then perform a back massage using pressure, friction and light touch techniques. The hot stone massage stimulates all parts of the body and warms the muscles, which has the effect of dilating the blood vessels for better circulation and increased lymphatic drainage.
Reflexology is a manual method based on the principle that pressure on particular points of the body acts on an organ directly related to them. Reflexology has many therapeutic virtues to relieve back pain or headaches, get rid of tension and rebalance the functioning of organs that are overloaded. There are several types of reflexology: plantar, hand, facial, auricular and energetic.
Shiatsu is a natural therapy technique that originated in Japan. This traditional technique mainly uses the pressure of the thumbs and hands on the whole body.
The traditional Swedish massage technique improves blood pressure, promotes muscle flexibility and firms the muscles at the same time. During the session, the masseur will perform a series of gliding and kneading movements of the muscles with the help of essential oils, which in addition to stimulating the olfactory senses, serve to facilitate the gliding over the body. Warming up the shoulders and back is an important step to relax the muscles of the massaged person. A Swedish massage session usually lasts one hour and the parts being massaged (muscles, joints) are uncovered. It is one of the most popular massage techniques.
Traditional Thai massage is rich in many virtues, such as the harmony of vital energies or the release of tensions in body and mind. Thai massage is a mixture of Ayurvedic, Chinese and Buddhist techniques. Stretching or yoga is also an integral part of the session. The patient, lying on a simple mat, receives from the practitioner’s hands kneading movements all over the body, then this work intensifies on the legs.
Tantric massage is certainly the most sensual of massages. It leads to a relaxation of the body, to a great liberation of the thought and to the opening of the chakras. During a Tantric massage session (also wrongly called erotic massage), the masseur or masseuse will be taken to touch the genitals and the erogenous zones of the massaged person, but it does not necessarily lead to a sexual act. Caution: while looking for a salon offering such a technique, check that the term “Tantric massage” does not conceal a form of prostitution. However, parlours are rare, you will easily find many books to document you this subject and to practise it in couple at home.