Massage Styles Around the World

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Memorable Massages
Around the World

One great thing about travelling around the world is massage therapy. Massage therapy is a great way to relax and unwind physically and mentally. You can find a massage therapist almost anywhere in the world. Whether you’re interested in relieving aches and pains or relaxing after a busy week, massage therapy can provide the benefits you desire. Depending on where you have the massage, the massage therapist might use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, knees and feet. A range of facilities, equipment, and supplies may also be used, with everything from your standard massage tables and chairs to warm-water pools, lotions, and even stones or rocks.

With so many different massage styles to choose from, it can be confusing to know which option you should choose. Here’s some of m the massage styles available around the world. Every type of massage offers a different historical and cultural experience.

Acupressure Massage – China

Acupressure is a traditional Chinese healing method that is thousands of years old, derived from the practice of acupuncture, the concept of life energy which flows through "meridians" in the body. Acupressure is very effective at treating tension-related ailments such as headaches, backaches, muscle aches, eye strain, neck pain, sinus issues, arthritis, and tension due to stress. Gentle but firm pressure is applied on acupuncture points on the body using the hand, fingers, or elbow to stimulate the body's natural self-healing abilities. Pressing on these acupressure points releases muscle tension, helps with blood circulation and aids in the removal of toxic wastes and increases your energy levels and overall feeling of well-being.

Amma Massage– Japan

Amma massage is based on Chinese massage and includes a combination of pressing, stretching, stroking, and percussion manipulations, along with smooth, fluid-like movements to stimulate circulatory systems. The massage therapist uses hands, arms, elbows, knees and feet on acupressure points using the same meridians used in acupressure. It uses no oils and can be performed through clothing. Amma massage restores your body to its optimal function by loosening your muscles, joints, and connective tissues, while also strengthening your nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. Good for chronic pain, constipation, migraines, poor flexibility, relaxation, stress reduction, stimulation of blood and lymph flow, low back pain, and nervous disorders. Amma massage targets and relaxes both your body and mind to create balanced wellness.

Ayurvedic Massage – India

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old natural health system that originated in India and is both a form of bodywork and a philosophy of life that helps restore and maintain harmony and balance in one's life. Ayurvedic massage is a full body health system that examines a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A heated blend of herbal massage oils is used and uniquely mixed according to the client's physique, ailments, and diet. The treatment includes a combination of massage, meditation, yoga, nutrition, and herbal remedies and performed either lying down or sitting on a massage mat or chair. Great for arthritis, chronic pain, digestive disorders, high and low blood pressure, sciatica and immune dysfunction.

Balinese Massage – Bali

Balinese massage therapy is a form of traditional Indonesian massage combining influences from Chinese and Indian massage. Balinese massage is a full-body treatment with oils applied to the body and uses different gentle stretches, acupressure, reflexology and aromatherapy to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and energy around your body. The techniques used in Balinese Massage include deep tissue massage, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy. The massage therapist uses techniques such as fold, knead, stroke, stretch, and pressing the skin, while also placing Balinese hot stones on problem areas. Balinese massage is excellent for relaxation, but it can also loosen tight muscles, help relieve pain, soreness, and aches, ease migraines, breathing problems, and sleep disorders, reduce stress and anxiety.

Hakali Massage – Mexico

Cactus or 'Hakali' massage utilises a combination of cactus paddles dabbed in a mixture of cactus, sage oil and tequila lotion. The cactus paddles are used to knead your muscles and can also be cut in half, exposing a gooey substance that can also be used to massage your body. Cactus is the key ingredient used in the massage treatment and has many antioxidant healing properties and helps remove toxins and re-hydrates the skin, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.

Hammam Massage – Turkey

The Hammam, also known as the Turkish bath, is the Middle Eastern alternative of a steam bath or sauna. In traditional Turkish Hammam, you will relieve tiredness and spend amazing moments with your friends. Hammam is a combination between a massage and a body treatment; it’s good for energy levels, tired muscles, refreshing and re-hydrating your skin. Hammam rituals combine exfoliation and deep cleansing practices using black eucalyptus soap, together with warm and cool water techniques; this treatment will cleanse your body and gently soothe your spirit.

Lomi Lomi Massage – Hawaii

Lomi Lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage centred on achieving harmony in mind, body, and spirit. Lomi Lomi massage includes light lymphatic and deep tissue work with spiritual aspects. One of the aims of 'Lomi Lomi' massage is to clear blockages in the body's natural flow of energy through the body. Like traditional Chinese medicine, energy blockages are thought to contribute to problems in physical, emotional, and mental health. The techniques used in Lomi Lomi massage combine deep pressure and with long, continuous massage strokes that run the length of the body. Lomi promotes relaxation, improves circulation, helps muscle pain and other physical ailments while providing emotional and spiritual benefits, including the relief of fear and negative emotions.

Reflexology Massage – China

Reflexology is based on an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. Reflexology symbols are believed to be recorded on the feet of statues of Buddha in India and later China, and also at the same time in Egypt, as depicted in the tomb of Ankmahor. Although Reflexology is often combined with massage therapy, it's technically not a form of massage therapy. It's a separate therapy that applies pressure to reflex zones on your feet, hands or outer ears that connect to the organs, glands and systems in the body. Varying levels of pressure are applied to the acupressure points in the feet, hands, and ears to stimulate the organs of the body, open up energy channels, and relieve blocked areas. Reflexology works with the body's natural energy system, helping to strengthen the immune system and promote self-healing. It also helps to reduce pain and stress, increase relaxation, and improve blood and lymphatic fluid circulation.

Rungu Massage - East Africa

Rungu massage originated in East Africa and uses a wooden baton, the Rungu stick. Rungu massage uses medium to deep pressure of long soothing strokes. The Rungu stick is used to penetrate deep into the muscles for a more intense massage experience. The movements of the Rungu provides immediate relaxation that reduces muscle pain and tension. The Rungu massage is a firm stimulating massage which will leave you feeling completely relaxed. The Rungu is excellent for relieving tension and muscle pain, helps to improve blood flow and sensory nerve perception, increases lymphatic drainage, releases endorphins and creates a deep sense of well-being and relaxation.

Shiatsu Massage – Japan

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork and based on ideas of traditional Chinese medicine. Shiatsu originates from a Japanese massage called, Anma and means "finger pressure." For shiatsu massage, the therapist uses their fingers, thumbs, and palms. Pressure is applied to the body's meridians, as in acupressure and is thought to be essential for the balance and flow of the body's vital energy. Shiatsu can also include stretching and cupping to create balance in the body. The massage therapist can also roll, brush, vibrate, and grasp the skin. The feet are used to apply pressure on your back, legs, and feet. Shiatsu reduces tension and muscle pain, helps to aid migraines by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the body.

Swedish Massage – Sweden

Swedish massage is the best-known type of bodywork performed today. Swedish massage is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage. The primary goal of Swedish massage is to relax the entire body by massaging the muscles with long gliding strokes towards the direction of the heart. Swedish massage is beneficial for boosting the level of oxygen in the blood, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension and decreasing muscle toxins. Swedish massage techniques include effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (working across muscle fibres), and vibration/shaking. It's excellent for athletes and those who exercise regularly as they tend to have a buildup of lactic acid, and the massage can help to loosen that and allow fresh blood to flow through.

Thai Massage – Thailand

Thai massage is an ancient massage therapy stemming from India about 2,500 years ago and is based on yoga-like positions and Ayurvedic healing massage. Thai massage involves moving and manipulating the body to relieve physical and emotional tension. Thai massage uses techniques like passive stretching and gentle pressure along the body’s energy lines to improve flexibility, balance the body’s energy systems, and relieve muscle and joint tension. The massage therapist uses different sequences of techniques, and movement from both the massage therapist and the client is required. There is constant body contact between the therapist and the client, but rather than rubbing the muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched, and rocked. Thai massage can help reduce stress, boost energy, increase energy levels, relieves headaches, stimulates circulation and improves range of motion.

5 Benefits of Essential Oils for Men

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One will rarely hear men using essential oils in their grooming routine, or at all for that matter, and men who still haven’t started using them simply have no idea what they’re missing. Essential oils have always been a part of our lives and grooming rituals, they have numerous uses, not to mention health and other benefits, and it’s time for all the men to jump on the essential oil bandwagon. Just in case you’re not convinced, we’re here to nudge you in the right direction with some pretty compelling benefits that come with using different oils, so let’s get started.

The wonders of eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil truly is a wonder as it comes with no less than twenty different benefits. In case you’re battling a sinus infection, just a few drops of eucalyptus oil and hot water, and a towel of course, can provide you with immediate relief as the scent is so strong that it opens up your sinuses almost immediately and you can finally breathe again. However, this isn’t the only way this oil comes in handy. When applied directly to the skin, it serves as a powerful natural bug repellent, not to mention that it’s a great alternative for vapor rub, and since it’s considered a powerful antiseptic it can also be used to treat cuts, scars, burns. On top of all that, for men who suffer migraines, rubbing the temples with a few drops of this oil can be of great help, and finally, when it comes to regular grooming, it is a total life saver against dandruff but the grooming winner is the fact that this powerful oil can be applied to acne and it will shrink and dry them right up without drying the rest of your skin.

Everyone deserves some R&R

We all led hectic lives and sometimes we need to shed all the stress off our shoulders and go for a nice and relaxing massage. Since we live in an age when everything can be delivered to our door, why go to a spa for a massage when you can book an at-home massage and have a spa day in the comfort of your very own home. You can of course, while waiting for your masseuse, set the mood with the music that puts you in that ‘chill’ mode, dim the lights, and light up some amazingly aromatic soy melts. The best possible scent you can choose is lavender. You may think it’s girly, but lavender has powerful soothing effect and you can even light these soy melts before hitting the hay as lavender will put you to sleep in almost no time at all.

Boost that immunity

Unhealthy diet, stressful lifestyle, lack of exercise – there are many factors that result in a dip of your immune system. While it is highly recommended that you bring your immunity in spick and span shape, there are, in the meantime, tons of essential oils that can be of great service for that purpose alone. You see, there are certain essential oils that contain terpenes, esters, phenolics, ethers and ketones, which have the power to fight foreign pathogens pose a threat to your health, and that is why you should turn to them. Luckily, there are tons of them, so you can take your pick according to scent preference. You have oregano, myrrh, ginger, lemon as well as cinnamon, and you can either rub them on the surface of your skin or place a few drops in an essential oil diffuser and create a bacteria-free environment.

Reduce anxiety

One of the original uses of essential oils is to create a stress-free environment that will help you shed anxiety and feel at peace again. Roman chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, orange, rose, frankincense and vetiver are some of the finest oils for this particular purpose, as they all have incredible soothing properties. The best part is, you don’t have to do any of the work – you can simply open the bottle, sprinkle a few drops on your furniture or simply leave the bottle open, and when stress and anxiety really take a toll on you, simply inhale them for a few moments or rub a few drops on your temples and under your nose and you’ll begin to feel the anxiety leave your body almost immediately.

Enhance your skin

We live in a new era in which men have taken to personal grooming more seriously and diligently than ever before. The use beard oils, pomades, special shampoos and conditioners and have even taken to caring for their skin. However, aside from a cleanser and a men’s facial cream, they usually don’t go above and beyond for their skin. This is where essential oils step in. In case you’re battling acne, which isn’t uncommon, you need the antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory benefits of helichrysum oil. After a close shave your skin can become a tad irritated, and lavender is here again to soothe and soften the skin. Feel free to apply it on the irritated area, but make sure you dilute it with a bit of lukewarm water as on its own, it can be quite strong. Finally, if you have a skin that’s prone to producing excess sebum, a nice little bottle of lemongrass oil can definitely take care of that. Make a facial mist using distilled water and a few drops of this highly powerful oil, and you will be grease free forever.

From relaxation, immunity boost, to cuts and burns and even skincare, you will not find a problem that the right essential oil can’t fix. Just make sure you use them properly, always read the labels and you will get the results for every need you have, every single time.

Peter is a health writer at Essential Men's Clinic blog. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.