During Thai massage the therapist puts you through a series of stretches that cover the entire body. You lie on a floor mat or on a table wide enough to accommodate you and the therapist, and you wear loose-fitting clothing, often supplied by the spa, because there’s no way a sheet can stay put during these moves! The therapist might kneel on the back of your legs and pull your arms to arch your back and open your chest, or place her shoulder under your heel to lift your leg and stretch your hamstring. Thai massage also includes deep pressure-point work to stimulate the sen, or the body’s energy pathways. Thai massage is a little intense at first especially if you’re used to Swedish massage and don’t normally do much stretching. It reminds you that massage isn’t just pressure applied to you by someone else, but a balancing of the body by limbering joints and loosening muscles through movement and strategic pressure. Unlike Swedish massage, there’s a lot of interaction here between you and your therapist. To move you around the mat efficiently, the Thai massage therapist uses his or her body to leverage you into the elongating stretches. He or she also will use your body as a tool for deepening these stretches by sitting on your feet and legs or pushing or pulling you into twists. Read more about Thai Massage with Spafinder's What is Thai Massage? post. To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.

Based on the transferring of energy, Reiki is said to release blocked energy from parts of your body while moving it to the areas that are in need of healing. Originating from Japan, the technique requires the Reiki Master to place hands just above the body or lightly touching the body as the client lays on the massage table fully clothed. Reiki healing is intended to help the client relax and de-stress, heal physical or emotional pain, detoxify the body, help aid in the healing process, gain universal life energy, and even stimulate the immune system. Typically a Reiki session has you laying on a massage table fully-clothed for 50-minutes to an hour. The master will place his or her hands over the areas of your body that contain blocked energy. To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.

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 here is relaxation. As the default Western massage, Swedish massage is an extremely popular, simple, soothing touch therapy. At most spas, Swedish massage is the most popular treatment, and it’s for good reason. Perfect for first-time spa-goers, Swedish massage will help to release neck knots and sooth nerves. Traditional Swedish massage, or “classical massage,” consists mainly of long strokes over oiled skin and kneading of the outer layers of muscle tissue to reduce stress and sooth sore joints and muscles. Studies have shown Swedish massage relaxes the nervous system, aids circulation, and helps with detoxification. Find out more about Swedish Massage in Spafinder's What is Swedish Massage? To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.

Escape into the trees at this luxury cottage resort hidden among 60 acres of birch forest. A walkway woven between trees will lead you to treetop treatment rooms (suspended eight feet above ground) where products made from organically grown herbs, flowers, oils and grains are used for spa services. Try a "Maine Honey Body Buzz" or a bamboo therapy massage.


Traditional Thai massage is a different experience if you’ve only ever had a Swedish or deep tissue massage. In Thai massage, you wear loose-fitting clothing (often provided by the massage therapist) and start by lying on a mat. Throughout the massage, the therapist moves your body into various seated and prone positions, which stretch and release your muscles and soft tissue. Although your body is moving, the therapist is doing all the work, making it feel similar to supported yoga. The massage therapist will bend, stretch, and compress and lengthen your body using their hands, forearms, elbows and even feet. Don’t be alarmed by the feet! Many studios have overhead supports that allow the practitioners to safely walk on your back, releasing tight adhesions and promoting ease. Thai massage can be both invigorating and relaxing. It is an excellent option for keeping your muscles in good health if you regularly work out, or if you want to overcome a lack of flexibility. Studies show that Thai massage can increase blood circulation, improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension and enhance mental well-being.
Prepare for one of those rare city moments where you can enjoy some peace and relaxation without having to actually leave the city. This dreamy spa in Chicago’s Near North Side neighborhood is perfect for a daylong pamper session, with amenities like a lap pool, health club, and some extraordinary spa treatments. The Signature Massage is one of their most popular because it is personalized for each guest according to their needs.
"Great small home spa. Creative use of space and very relaxing. Head and scalp massage was great my hair smelled like lavender oils all day. My foot massage left me with less swelling and pain then ever and ive had a broken ankle recovering and pain for over a year. My back massage relaxed the kink in my neck and shoulders after sleeping wrong. Im so happy with the service i bought 4 more massages!."-Angelina S.
For thousands of years, Eastern healers have used pressure-point massage to balance the body. Shiatsu is the Japanese version. The idea is that chi, or life energy, flows through the body in 14 meridians. When the meridians are blocked, physical or emotional problems result. During a shiatsu massage, you lie on a floor mat while the therapist gently rocks and stretches your body and applies finger and thumb pressure to points. The purpose can be to stimulate or to subdue energy, making shiatsu invigorating as well as relaxing. Shiatsu treats your whole being rather than a single aspect of your body. Spas recommend it for stubborn knots, sports injuries, and back pain, and say the pressure can help trigger the release of chemicals, like cortisone, that help the body heal itself. Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese, but that doesn’t begin to cover it. Shiatsu therapists use their thumbs as well as elbows, knees, and feet to apply strategic pressure to muscles and connective tissues. Practitioners of Zen or Five Elements shiatsu therapy use the pressure-point massage for another reason. Namely, to balance the body’s chi, a practice that comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine. In both cases, you typically wear loose-fitting clothing, and it’s done on a floor mat. Expect intense pressure and a fair bit of movement as the therapist stretches your muscles and alleviates knots and pain. While it’s languid enough to ultimately relax your muscles, it’s not likely something you’ll sleep through. Some therapists will spend a lot of time on your hara (stomach), which is considered the root of imbalance in Five Elements shiatsu. Read more about Shiatsu Massage in Spafinder's post, What is Shiatsu Massage? To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.
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