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.

A Stressed Man's Guide to Handling a Bad Mood


Fighting stress

Fighting stress could quite possibly be the hardest thing a modern man is faced with at the moment. From tedious tasks and traffic hassle to tight deadlines and nightmare bosses, we are surrounded by stressful situations from all directions. While there is no way of avoiding stress completely, there are still a few ways you could bring serenity back into your life. So, here is a stressed man's guide to handling a bad mood:

Get a Melbourne relaxation massage

Stress affects more than just our mind – it influences every part of our body as well. When we carry too much tension, it seems only natural that it often leads to muscle stiffness and pain. That is why the best way to deal with stress might be to get a Melbourne trigger point therapy massage that targets those specific tender spots and relieves tension and pain in your muscles. If you want to release the built-up tension, but also nurture your whole body and achieve complete relaxation and rejuvenation, then you may want to opt for an incredible Melbourne relaxation massage.

Schedule a dinner night with your friends

As the people who care about us the most, listen to our problems and help us deal with them in the best way possible, it’s no wonder that spending quality time with our friends is an extremely effective way of dealing with stress. So, make your friendships a priority, gather the group together and organise an amazing dinner night. If you live in Melbourne, there are many great Warrandyte restaurants where you could laugh and unwind with your friends, enjoy some quality food and good drinks and spend a relaxing evening together.

Take up a sports activity

Whether you decide to exercise alone or start playing sports with your friends on a regular basis, physical activity will not only improve your levels of stress, but it will also reduce the risk of serious illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Football and basketball are great options, but if you don’t have such a large group of friends, you might want to consider sports such as tennis or squash, since all you need for these games is one partner, some equipment and a few hours of your free time.

Give yoga and meditation a try

Even though they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, yoga and meditation can do wonders for your stress level. These practices calm you down, restore your inner balance, increase your mindfulness and minimise negative emotions. And the more you do them, the more peace they bring into your life. So, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try yoga and meditation, in order to restore some peace of mind.

Remember to take a nap

While it may not sound like the best idea in the world, taking a nap is quite an effective way of dealing with tension. Most people who are under a lot of stress have problems falling asleep at night, let alone during the day, but when you force your body to do so, it can be hugely beneficial to your stress levels and your overall health. Apart from being well-rested, feeling refreshed and productive and being able to focus on important things, you’ll also be able to forget about all the stress that’s been bothering you, which is why you should think about adding power-napping into your everyday routine.

Whichever way you choose to deal with your mood, make sure it relaxes you and restores your inner balance. When you find a couple of activities you thoroughly enjoy, you’ll notice your stress levels drop in no time.

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