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November 21, 2007

Spa Massages Explained

By Alicia Socorro

So you’ve decided that it’s time to start spoiling yourself, but when you grabbed a pamphlet from your local spa and noticed that there were a multitude of spa massages to choose from, you felt intimidated and decided that maybe that spa visit can wait.

Who can blame you, considering all these weird names and no explanations? Of course, if you keep putting it off, you will be missing out on the many benefits associated with spa massages… and there are many.

Spa massages are beneficial due to their muscle relaxation properties, stress alleviation, their ability to combat constipation and improve muscle tone, and, if performed regularly, can even reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Depending on what ails you or if you simply want to chill out for an hour and have someone rub you up and down, there are spa massages that is perfect for you.

First massage trip tips

If you’re paranoid about being completely naked, don’t worry, you can opt to leave your underwear on; leaving on any more than that will hinder the massage therapist’s ability to massage you effectively. You are covered with a sheet the entire time anyway.

If you’re more comfortable being massaged by a woman, call ahead and request one.

You can keep exact change with you so that you can tip the massage therapist or you can leave a tip with the front desk before you leave.

Tell the therapist if there’s a certain area of your body that aches.

If you’re uncomfortable with the music, the pressure being applied, or anything else, tell the therapist and he or she will be more than happy to make the necessary adjustments.

If you want to stay quiet or carry on a conversation during the massage, the therapist will follow suit.

Shower beforehand. It is important that your body is clean for the massage; otherwise the therapist may refuse to massage you.

Spa massages #1

This massage technique involves rolling and kneading strokes. Using oil, the massage therapist spends his or her time performing movements that will leave you feeling both relaxed and rejuvenated.

Swedish benefits: Stimulates circulation and helps the body relax.

Spa massages #2
This traditionally Japanese massage is designed to use your life force, or Chi, to help your body become more harmonized. The massage therapist uses their thumbs to locate strategic areas on the body and use acupressure to refresh and restore balance to the body and mind. This massage is sometimes performed on a floor mat with no massage oil.

Shiatsu benefits: Reduces stress and fatigue, and minimizes back pain, shoulder and neck problems, headaches, constipation, and menstrual cramps.

Spa massages #3
Lymphatic drainage

With a self-explanatory objective, this type of massage persuades the lymph capillaries to open and close, which helps the body cleanse itself and begin a cell renewal process. With soft, circular motions, the massage therapist uses his or her fingertips to massage all the lymphatic areas on your body.

Lymphatic drainage benefits: Raises energy levels, removes toxins from the body, reduces cellulite, and improves immune function.

Spa massages #4
This massage is based on the belief that there are reflexes in the hands and feet that correspond to the entire body. The massage therapist uses their thumbs and index fingers to apply pressure to these reflex points. After the pressure, you will be treated to a relaxing foot and hand massage.

Reflexology benefits: Improves circulation, cleanses your body of toxins and impurities, and restores energy.

Spa massages #5
With the objective of combining the sense of smell and the sense of touch, this type of massage aims to relax you with a soft massage and lightly scented oils.

Aromatherapy benefits: Releases pressure and stress from the body and mind, and restores a sense of peace.

Spa massages #6
Deep tissue

Using a kneading motion, the massage therapist reaches deep down into muscle tissues to correct problems in the body including whip lash, backaches and other muscle injuries. The different types of deep tissue massage include Trager, Rolfing, Feldenkrais, and Hellerwork. It is possible to feel sore the day after this type of massage.

Deep tissue benefits: Realigns muscles.

Spa massages #7
This type of massage existed in ancient Tibetan times and was brought to North America in the 1950s; it involves healing through light touch. Chakras, or energy centers, are aligned and the massage therapist is trained to serve as a vessel by which your life force is revitalized.

Reiki benefits: Relaxes the entire body and heals general maladies.

Spa massages #8
Stone therapy
Stone therapy, or thermotherapy, combines heat and pressure with the use of smooth stones placed on strategic areas on the back.

Stone therapy benefits: Relaxes the body, promotes healing, and releases stress and toxins.

Spa massages

Spas offer a whole lot more than just massages, but if it’s your first time, get a massage at a variety of spas before settling on one.

Some people think that massages are a luxury, and it’s true, they are, but they are also very beneficial to the body and you shouldn’t wait until you get a gift certificate before visiting one.

Get your rub on.

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