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Top 10 Massage Techniques
With workplace stress becoming more commonplace,
so the cost to industry increases with it as more
and more individuals take time off work due to
stress related illness. To combat these growing
figures, a number of new stress combatant
measures are being implemented into the
workplace. One of the most popular is a workplace
massage. The top ten massage techniques are
1. Swedish Massage
This is the most basic of all massage techniques, and the more
popular, as it is usually the first to be learnt by masseuses.
The Swedish massage technique consists of five basic steps
Effleurage. This first step involves long, sweeping strokes with
the hands, gliding over the body. The main purpose of this is
to relax the muscles.
Petrissage. This next step, the muscles are gently manipulated
by being squeezed and lifted from the body. This is to relax
the muscles and to improve circulation.
Friction. The masseuse applies heat to the skin and muscle in
this step, by rubbing the surface with deep, circular
movements. This stretches muscle fibres, breaks down any
knots caused by binding of muscle fibres and improves
muscle and joint flexibility.
Tapotement. Additionally known as percussion, the masseuse
will quickly and rhythmically tap, cup or chop the skin with
their hands. This stimulates the muscles into promoting gas
exchange to improve circulation and also firms the skin and
releases muscle tension and spasms.
Vibration. This last step entails gently shaking the skin with the
fingers or hand. This releases any remaining tension that
may reside in the muscles and also boosts circulation.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage technique is especially good for treating
specific areas of the body. The masseuse will typically use
their elbows or the knuckles on their fingers, working with
slow, deep movements across the fibre of the muscle and
across tendons. This will restrict and release blood to the
muscle, re-energising the tissue with fresh oxygen, and
remove more complex knots in the muscle fibres.
3. Sports Massage
The Sports Massage technique is a combination of other
massage techniques. The chief techniques used are
Swedish massage, Deep Tissue massage and Trigger Point
massage. With the last-mentioned, Trigger Point massage
involves the masseuse pinpointing the muscle area affected
by detecting a hardness in the tissue, and then working
directly on that area with the fingers until the muscle relaxes.
Sports massage will reduce muscle swelling and tension,
relieve muscle fatigue and increase the flexibility of the
4. Indian Head Massage
This ancient massage technique, also known as Champissage,
covers the neck and shoulders as well as the head. The neck and
shoulders are first deeply kneaded and squeezed to remove any
muscle tension. Once completed, the masseuse will move on to
the head and scalp. With the wrists resting on the head and using
their finger tips, they will lightly claw at the scalp, as if shampooing
the hair. This will increase circulation thus improving blood supply
to the brain. Before the final step, the masseuse will perform a
facial massage, gently rubbing the temples in a small circular
motion. Once finished, they will gently rub the forehead, moving
away from the centre down each side of the face to the temple,
before finally stroking slowly from the forehead towards the back of
the head, becoming lighter as they do, until the fingers lift away
from the head. This technique will remove tension from the
shoulders and neck, release sinus pressure and relieve stress that
can ultimately lead to headaches.
This massage technique is specifically for hands and feet.
Firstly, the foot/hand is gently stoked and rubbed to warm
the area before being worked. The masseuse will then use
their thumbs and fingers to explore the subject, including the
area between the fingers and toes, to find any anomalies. An
area that needs specific attention will be gently compressed
and rubbed before the masseuse moves on to the next area.
Once the hand or foot has been finished, the masseuse will
gently rub and stroke the hand or foot again, to relieve any
6. Hot Stone Massage
As the name suggests, Hot Stone Massage utilises heated
stones. The stones used are smooth and are pre-heated in
water beforehand. Once the stones are at working
temperature they are placed on specific parts of the body.
The heat from the stones penetrates the muscles, which
make them relax, stretching the muscle fibres and improving
circulation. The stones are then used to massage the area,
whilst they are still heated. Hot Stone Massage is used over
the whole body, except for the face, and will relieve pain and
muscle tension, improve muscle flexibility and increase
7. Shiatsu Massage
This eastern oriental massage technique uses the fingers and
thumbs on the acupuncture pressure points on the body, and
is often known as acupressure. Some masseuses even use
their elbows and knees during a massage session. The
body's pressure points are manipulated by tapping,
squeezing, rubbing and deeply probing, which releases and
restores the energy flow around the body. This technique
relieves pain and relaxes the muscles, and improves the
circulation of blood around the body.
8. Neuromuscular Massage
This particular technique focuses on a specific muscular
complaint. The masseuse will concentrate on that distinct
area and locate the trigger point within that muscle which is
causing the problem. The masseuse will apply continuous
pressure with the fingers, knuckles or the elbows, for a
prolonged period. This will improve the circulation within the
muscle and relieve any pain or discomfort.
9. Pregnancy Massage
Pregnancy massage techniques are specialised due to the
nature of pregnancy. The areas that are covered are
primarily the back and buttocks, legs and feet. For the back
and buttocks, the masseuse will use a soft fist and will draw
their knuckles from the neck down to the hips and will then
run the fist back upward to the ribs. The masseuse will also
apply pressure just below the base of the spine between the
buttocks using the palm of their hand. Legs and feet will be
rubbed softly. These techniques will relax the muscles and
increase the blood circulation.
10. Aromatherapy Massage
This is not strictly a technique, more the addition of essential
oils to the techniques mentioned above. The masseuse will
use the more relaxing strokes and compliment them with
essential oils. The oils chosen vary depending on the result
that the masseuse would like to achieve. Different oils will
produce differing feelings of well being, and this is
something that the patient and masseuse would discuss
These massage techniques can benefit employers and
employees alike. By re-energising the mind and body,
workplace morale improves creating a more pleasant, stress
free working environment that all can benefit from.