Whether it’s your first time at a spa or you’re a serious enthusiast, massage tends to be at the top of everyone’s list of must-have services. The Chinese have used massage since 1600 BC, and the technique has been mentioned in ancient records from the Arabic, Egyptian, Greek, Japanese, Greek and Roman nations as well. There are as many as 80 different massage modalities and techniques, and the most common link between all of them is the human touch. From Ayurvedic to Thai, the emotional and physical benefits of massage have the ability to pay us back tenfold.
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- When most people think of massage, they think of Swedish. The style takes its name from a 19th-century Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling, whose system of medical gymnastics included massage. Swedish massage is defined by four or five (somewhat familiar) techniques, which have French names: effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic choppings), and friction (rubbing). Some therapists now incorporate advanced techniques that have rehabilitating effects and stretches for improving your range of motion. But the ultimate goal is relaxation. Swedish massage relaxes the nervous system, aids circulation, and helps with detoxification.
- A Couple's Massage allows partners to experience massage together in the same area as one therapist works on each person. Spas increasingly continue to cater to couples—and the couple’s massage is just one treatment they take to heart. Some spas turn this into a romantic event that can leave guests starry-eyed, setting the treatment in a special room or suite large enough for two, beachside underneath the stars, or in the couple’s guest room at a hotel or resort. For an extra-special touch, rooms reserved for side-by-side massage treatments may feature cozy spa fixtures such as fireplaces, shower facilities, Jacuzzis, and dual soaking tubs, and some spas offer irresistible amenities like champagne and strawberries as a sumptuous treat.
- Like its name suggests, Deep-Tissue Massage targets your body’s deepest layers of muscle and releases tension in overstressed areas. When your muscles are severely knotted, this therapeutic treatment is designed to break it up. Deep-tissue massage is a mix of slow, short, strokes and penetrating finger pressure focused on tight, contracted areas. The therapist employs her thumbs, forearms, and even elbows to work muscle tissue and relieve tension. Be warned, if it’s your first massage or you don’t get much exercise, steer clear of deep-tissue massage—you could end up very sore the next day. A deep-tissue massage can help heal injuries and release adhesions and knots caused by stress.