Massages have many health benefits, such as increased blood flow and even pain relief.
However, not all massages are created equal; some have elements of the massage that can leave you feeling particularly stressed out rather than relaxed and rejuvenated.
If you’re looking to get an effective massage that will relax you, look no further than this guide to the 10 best massages to relieve stress.
Follow these tips for choosing the right massage and you’ll be well on your way to de-stressing in no time!
1) Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is a powerful, highly effective treatment. It is primarily used as a healing technique to reduce tension and pain caused by muscle knots (also known as adhesions) and is especially good for individuals with chronic aches.
The therapist will use her elbow or knuckles to apply pressure directly on her tight muscles, usually with no oil or lotion.
The goal of deep tissue massage is not relaxation but intense relief from pain in specific areas, such as an injury site or tense muscle.
Deep tissue massage may be too intense for some people; if you feel like you’re going into shock during a session, you must speak up immediately.
2) Sports massage
Sports massage is a form of bodywork designed specifically for athletes. This form of massage is similar to Swedish massage but much more athletic-specific. While sports massage can be performed by almost anyone with experience, it’s most beneficial when performed by a licensed and trained professional; find one through your local massage therapist association or community college/university. If you’re on a tight budget, some athletes have had luck finding bodyworkers on Craigslist—just make sure they’re certified before booking an appointment.
Sports massages typically cost between $60 and $100 per hour depending on where you live and how often you get them done.
3) Swedish massage
Swedes use massage techniques designed to ease tension, soothe tight muscles and improve circulation. The main goal of Swedish massage is not to heal your aches and pains; it’s simply to reduce stress.
A 2008 study found that people receiving a full-body Swedish massage every day for two weeks felt less anxious, had lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and were less likely to experience headaches than those who didn’t receive massages.
But if you want that post-massage body feeling long after you leave the spa, be sure you choose a licensed masseuse for your insurance provider to cover any treatment received.
4) Trigger point therapy
If you have muscle pain throughout your body, you might try trigger point therapy. Trigger points are pressure points in muscles that cause tension when they’re pressed.
The idea behind trigger point therapy is that by relieving these pressure points, you can relieve a lot of your body’s tension as well.
You can use a foam roller or any other relaxation techniques to do this, but many consider massage to be the best form of treatment for muscle tension and overall relief from stress.
5) Cupping Therapy
Cupping therapy uses glass cups that are placed on different parts of your body and then left in place. The suction from inside will pull up your skin and musculature, which is known as negative pressure.
While it can be painful at first, people report feeling an immense sense of well-being after cupping. It’s also supposed to help with circulation, but since it doesn’t remove any excess fluids (as some think), it doesn’t do much for swelling or joint mobility.
Still, many love cupping therapy and swear by its benefits—including a boost in energy levels.
6) Exfoliation Therapy
Some people prefer to include an exfoliation session in their regular massage routine. Exfoliation is a process that helps improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, boost collagen production and even reduce cellulite. Your therapist will use products or tools like a soft scrub brush, hot stones, or gentle micro-beads during your treatment to do some light skin brushing. The goal of exfoliation therapy is not to scrub away dead skin cells; rather, it’s about improving skin tone and overall appearance. If you’re looking for a healthier glow, consider adding an exfoliation massage as part of your routine.
The process can be performed in just minutes and doesn’t require special skills or equipment–which means it’s easy for any licensed therapist to perform at home too!
Reflexology is a type of massage that works with an important system in your body called reflexes. According to Mayo Clinic, Reflex points on your feet and hands can correspond with other parts of your body, so massaging these areas may have a positive effect on related organs or functions.
If you’re feeling stressed out and don’t want to pay for an expensive massage, try reflexology. Use your own two feet! Use lotion or baby oil when rubbing your feet for best results.
Acupressure is a great way to relieve stress that won’t drain your bank account. Practitioners use their fingers and hands, though some techniques use special tools for maximum effect.
Acupressure can be particularly useful for those with chronic pain or nausea from an illness or injury—though it’s also helpful for anyone looking to reduce his or her stress levels.
You can seek out an acupressure, but you don’t have to; a little bit of internet research will turn up plenty of at-home techniques that are just as effective.
9) Hot stone therapy
The best massage for relieving stress is hot stone therapy. Because of its deep penetration, it helps relieve achy and tense muscles, relax tension in joints and release endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel good.
10) Thai massage
If you’re looking for a relaxing massage with lots of attention, a Thai massage might be just what you need.
It involves slowly and applying pressure on different parts of your body, starting from your feet and moving up towards your head.
The therapist uses his or her knees, elbows, hands, and feet to apply gentle pressure along these energy lines to help promote energy flow and release tension.
For those who find it difficult to relax or relieve stress, Thai massage can provide some relief—and it comes without any of that trouble breathing we associate with traditional massages.