The Fitness Zone
There are several types of massage therapy that focus on different parts of the body and different healing methods. Whether it’s a classic style like Swedish or aromatherapy, or a sports massage to help with body aches and pains, the type required will most definitely depend on the client.
As a massage therapist, choosing a style to specialise in will depend on a lot of factors, including what you’re interested in and whether you’d like to concentrate on relaxation, health or styles influenced by the exotics.
Besides from the main massage therapies such as deep tissue, hot stone and more, here are six other styles you can focus on.
1. Sports massage
Designed to help athletes before and after training or a sports session, a sports massage will help people who exercise frequently with increased flexibility, injury prevention and healing after an injury. There are varying kinds of sports massage which will differ depending on the type of sport played and what muscles were most engaged. For example, runners or cyclists will engage a whole different set of muscles to swimmers, so a sports massage directed at the former probably won’t be as effective for the latter.
During exercise, stress and tension can build up in the body – sports massage may be beneficial in improving recovery from activity. As such, there are several different types of sports massage including maintenance massage, event massage (pre, during and post) and rehabilitation massage.
The technique used will depend on the type of massage being performed and the muscles targeted. For example, deep tissue massage will help stretch the tissues and muscles while neuromuscular will target specific trigger points.
2. Pregnancy massage
Yes, you guessed it, this one is for all the pregnant ladies out there. Importantly, any pregnant woman should discuss massage with their doctor to determine whether they are allowed to have one. As a massage therapist, it’s always crucial to check with any pregnant woman whether she has been cleared by her doctor. Additionally, prenatal massage should only be performed by a qualified therapist who specialises in this field. This is because there are risks involved if specific pressure points are stimulated.
However, the benefits are huge, including a reduction of stress hormones. Pregnancy massage can also help to relax the muscles, increase blood flow and improve the lymphatic system. Further, it can improve mood, help with anxiety and help mums-to-be sleep better. Also, during labour, pregnancy massage can be quite effective in managing pain.
The most popular form of pregnancy massage is Swedish as it is particularly good at reducing muscle tension and improving blood flow. Many therapists will use aromatherapy oils to enhance the experience.
3. Remedial massage
Remedial massage is used as a holistic healing treatment. It can be deep or shallow, and gentle or strong. Remedial massage is often used to treat chronic conditions, particularly for neck pain, back pain, tennis elbow, arthritis, increasing joint range of motion, muscular spasms and tension headaches, to name a few.
Many massage therapists who perform remedial massages are actually proficient in a number of techniques including neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, lymphatic drainage massage, muscle testing, trigger point therapy and rehabilitative stretching procedures. This is to ensure they can treat all kinds of injuries and change techniques according to where in the healing process the patient is.
A form of massage that applies pressure to the hands and feet to influence benefits elsewhere in the body, reflexology is becoming a lot more popular. The theory behind this ancient type of massage, believed to have derived from Egypt and China, is that there are ‘reflex points’ on the hands and feet that are connected to other organs in the body. For example, the tips of the toes are said to connect to the head and the heel is said to connect to the lower back.
During a reflexology session, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of why the client is there. Questions should include lifestyle, medical problems – old and current – and where they are experiencing pain.
Reflexology can help a number of conditions including tension headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, menstrual disorders and arthritis.
5. Myofascial release therapy
Myofascial release therapy is a manual therapy technique focused on pain that has arisen from the myofascial tissues. This pain is understood to be different from other kinds of pain as it supposedly originates from trigger points. By using manual pressure and stretching, the belief is the restricted movement will be loosened and as such there will be a reduction in pain. It’s believed that this type of therapy actually promotes the body to enhance its natural healing capabilities.
Injuries or loss of flexibility can be caused by ongoing back, shoulder or hip pain. Myofascial release therapy works by stretching the connective tissue around the muscles and organs. Patients also seek this kind of treatment for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or migraine headaches.
Become a certified massage therapist
Ready to take the next step in your career as a qualified massage therapist? The Australian Institute of Fitness offers several massage therapy courses to provide our students with a practical and comprehensive education. You can choose to study one of the following massage courses: