Types of massage

Massage is one of the greatest things ever devised by mankind. It's the best way to relax and energize a person at the same time and the perfect way to end a day. The more stressed and tired we are the better we can appreciate the healing power of a massage. By pressing, tensing and squeezing tired limbs and stiff muscles we can restore our energy levels, lift our mood, help speed up the healing process in the case of some injuries and improve the flow of blood through the body, which improves the distribution of oxygen to muscles in need of repair.

Massage can also be part of lovemaking in the shape of erotic massage or Tantra massage. Erotic massages are highly intimate experiences designed to heighten pleasure and prolong the sexual act by relaxing and arousing the body at the same time. There are many types of massages, depending on the geographical area where they have been developed and on the purpose of their developers. The basic rub has evolved over the centuries into a complex system of specialized approaches designed to serve various purposes.

The most common form of massage is called the sports massage, although this is more of an umbrella term for several techniques and styles aimed at increasing physical performance, particularly among athletes. Sports massage includes the deep muscle massage, which is meant to restore circulation and help the healing process in muscles, the muscle energy technique, orthopedic massage soft tissue therapy and myofascial release. All these techniques are designed to prevent injuries, speed up the recovery process and keep the body as flexible as possible.

Swedish massage is another popular type of massage. This style focuses on long, flowing and vigorous strokes designed to energize and relax the body by promoting the flow of blood. The six basic stroke types use in Swedish massage make use of friction, rolling, kneading, percussion, compression and vibration to achieve this purpose. The style was traced back to Pehr Ling, a Swedish fencing master, who is said to have devised the basic principles in the early decades of the 19th century.

Seated massage is another style that has gained popularity in recent times. It focuses on the use of a special chair that lets the back and arms exposed, while the rest of the body is in a comfortable position. The main purpose of this style is to relieve the stiffness that develops in the back, shoulder and neck muscles. The fact that it does not involve a large massage surface has made it very popular among corporate clients who like to enjoy massage at the office.

Reiki is a massage style developed in ancient times in Tibet. Just like its close relative, the Tantric massage, Reiki involves the visualization of chakras in order to spread the healing energy from the base of the spine to the entire body. Both Reiki and Tantra practitioners learn to use soft, gentle touches and strokes that are not aimed at working the muscles, but simply at letting the body "massage" itself by promoting the flow of energy. Both are popular among the New Age movement.

Shiatsu is a Japanese technique that combines the principles of massage and acupuncture into a single approach. Its basic principle is to achieve a balance between the Yin and Yang energies in the body in order to keep it healthy and fit. Shiatsu practitioners believe that Ki energy is moving through the body along certain paths, which are called meridians. The thumbs, fingers and palms are used to apply pressure to certain parts of the body with the purpose of balancing the flow of energy.

Sensual massage is a form of massage that involves full nudity, a sensual environment designed to heighten the senses and, of course, the practice of massaging the genitals. This type of massage is usually something shared by lovers or offered by professional sex workers and it ends in either full blown sex or simply an orgasm for the receiver. Sensual massage can be combined with aromatherapy by including essential oils into the regular massage style. Essential oils are said to help relaxation, healing or arousal and also promote a good mood.