Reflexology is the practice of stimulating points on the feet that are thought to correspond to specific parts of the body. It is based on a reflexology chart or “zone theory” that maps out the body on the foot. It is not an everyday foot massage. Reflexology involves kneading the soft fleshy ball of the foot, pulling on the toes, tracing around the heel, and pushing deep into the arch. These are just a few of the many small, intense movements you’ll experience. While some spots may feel more sensitive than others, reflexologists will often say that pain indicates blocks in the energy pathways or weak organs and isn’t due to the pressure of the touch. In addition to manipulating the pressure points on the foot, reflexologists sometimes work on hands or ears to trigger relaxation. Some people say they feel hot or cold sensations. During a reflexology session, you’re clothed and seated or lying down while the therapist rubs, presses on, and squeezes points on your feet. The therapist may concentrate on specific areas to alleviate ailments (if you have sinus trouble, she’ll focus on your toes) or work on the whole foot with the aim of strengthening every system in the body. Read more about Reflexology with What is Reflexology? 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.
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.
This destination spa boasts a stunning red rock backdrop and offers rejuvenating Native American-inspired therapies such as "Spirit of the New Moon," which begins with you writing down an intention, followed by a foot bath and fully body massage and "Inner Quest." For the latter, reflective of Native American rituals, sweet grass is burned and a blanket is used to create the warmth of a sweat lodge. New offerings include an exfoliation inspired by the southwest region's pinon nut and directional meditation inspired by indigenous medicine wheel practices.
A deep tissue full body massage is a form of healing bodywork. At your first massage, your massage therapist will do a brief intake. They will ask you questions about the type of pressure you’d like to receive during your deep tissue massage, any previous massage experience you’ve had, and any injuries or sensitivities you have. You can remain clothed, or the massage therapist will provide draping so that even if you’re not wearing clothes you are always fully covered. Deep tissue massage may be a good option for people with chronic pain or muscle tension. The systematic deep tissue strokes will work to break down any scar tissue or stiff tissues and create ease in your body again. Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, fists and knuckles to knead and stroke your muscles and loosen adhesions. Although deep tissue massage work is intense, it should not be painful, so communicate clearly with your massage therapist so they know if you’re having any discomfort. The national average cost of a deep tissue massage is between $70 and $90.
There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:
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A native Hawaiian healing practice, Lomi Lomi or lomilomi massage is a deeply nurturing style of massage characterized by fast flowing movement. There is also a spiritual side therapists focus on giving the treatment with love and intention. Traditional practitioners may offer a prayer beforehand. There are 100,000 styles of Lomi Lomi massage, according to author Makana Risser Chai, so it’s hard to know what you’ll be getting. In general, strokes are long, flowing, fast, and rhythmic, and therapists use their hands, forearms, and occasionally their fists for deep pressure. Lomi Lomi treatments are typically choreographed and given in time to special music (mostly drums). Beware treatments that are “lomi lomi-inspired.” Lomi lomi massage training takes several years to complete, either with a mentor or through a multi-level training program. Spas with seriously trained therapists will be glad to tell you where their staff learned it. You may be asked to remove all clothing (you’ll still be covered with a sarong or sheet) so the therapist can keep the quick tempo and move from your shoulders to your glutes and back up in two seconds flat. Read about Lomi Lomi Massage in Spafinder's post, What is an Hawaiian or Lomi Lomi 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.
Those Scandinavians knew what they were doing. If you’ve never been to a classic Nordic Spa we are happy to lead you to bliss. It’s all based on a circuit of thermal baths that take your body through a complete cleansing and physical conditioning. Because you are moving between steam baths and cold pools, improved blood circulation is one of the major benefits. These spectacular spas are often found immersed in epic natural environments. So, think of it as the ultimate winter warm-up, perfect for the après-skier or the “I’ll spa while you ski” set. This invigorating day spa experience can be had year-round. Get ready to take hydrotherapy to a holistic new level. The first stop on the Nordic Spa circuit is usually a dry sauna or steam bath, which raises your body temperature to dilate pores and flush out toxins. The next stage of this water therapy involves a cold shower, or a very chilly dip in a sub-zero pool. Grin and bear it. We swear it’s good for you! Finally, to get the most out of this hyper hydrotherapy experience, repeat the hot, cold sequence three or four times before tucking in to a cozy relaxation room.