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 Tips to Relax Your Body No Matter Where You Are

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Physical Health

We are always associating stress with our mental health, failing to realize that it can take its toll on our physical health as well. How many times have you felt stiff, experienced back pain or a sore jaw? Probably more than you wanted, and everything is simply the result or being stressed out. And you cannot be blamed – life today can be so difficult at times that stress is the only thing we have left. However, it’s very important to try and do whatever we can to alleviate the stress and relax our muscles and our bodies. But how to do that? It’s easier said than done, right? Take a look at some of the easiest ways how to relax your body, regardless of where you are at that precise moment:

Nothing like a good massage

Yes. There’s definitely nothing like a good massage, and if you have the possibility of booking one, make sure you do that immediately. The good thing is that you can nowadays find so many good masseurs who also offer mobile massages, so you don’t have to go to them – they can come to you. It’s very important to know who your masseur is, as you definitely want someone who knows what they’re doing. Opt for a relaxation or deep tissue massage, as these are the ones that will help you relax in the best possible way.

Comfort before anything else

Next up, you should pay attention to what you’re wearing. No, we’re not going to lecture you about the trends and must-have of the season, but on the fact that you should always wear whatever’s comfortable for you. Discomfort can also be a great trigger for stress, so you can minimize it by wearing pieces of clothing that make you feel comfortable. If you have to dress up for your office, make sure that you wear shoes that are comfortable and a suit (or a shirt and pants) that both look good on you and are comfy. If you can rock athleisure in your office, you can always opt for men’s Adidas clothing and shoes as they are both extremely fashionable and comfortable. Most importantly, you can combine them with a suit without any problem – it’s the latest fashion y’all! Don’t forget to wear comfortable underwear, though. This is something that many take for granted, but it turns out that wearing the wrong underwear can definitely break our day.

Be mindful

It is said that, in order to relax your body, you need to relax your mind. Believe it or not, it’s worth trying, right? The best way to do this is with mindfulness meditation – a practice that has been scientifically proven to decrease anxiety and stress levels, and also increase the grey matter in the brain. Just allocate 15-20 minutes every day to meditate just a bit, and you will feel much more centered in the morning and throughout the following day.

The thing with shoulders

The stress that you carry can certainly take its toll on your body. But what body part will suffer the most? Definitely your shoulders and your neck, and this can result in stiffness and in pain. What you need to do to prevent this from happening, is simply drop your shoulders, and stop the unnecessary tension from building up there. Drop your shoulders and take a deep breath. You will see the difference in no time, and just imagine how it will feel if you did this throughout the day. Be conscious of the posture of your shoulders and grow a habit out of it. What you can also do is practice the occasional shoulder and neck stretch, as it wouldn’t hurt at all.

The thing with feet

The top of your body (basically your shoulders and your neck) can be full of stress, but as much as this body part is important, so is the lowest point of your body – the foot. Relaxing your feet can definitely help you a lot with relaxing your entire body. Every part of your body is connected by nerves to your feet, so you can effectively relax your entire body if you opt for a foot massage or stretching your toes out.

As you can see, it’s not that difficult to help your body relax from time to time. Not only will you be doing your mental self a favour, but you will see the benefits it has on your physical health as well. Try them out and you will see. We will be expecting your thank you cards.

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