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.
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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.
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Thai massage, also called Thai yoga massage, combines acupressure and assisted yoga postures. Thai massage is based on the flow of energy through the body and focuses on energy lines called “sen.” It doesn’t use oils or lotions and, instead of rubbing muscles, the massage therapist compresses, pulls, stretches and rocks the recipient’s body to promote the flow of energy through these sen. In this form of massage therapy, practitioners use their hands, knees, legs and feet to apply deep muscle compression and stretch the body. It’s often performed on a mat on the floor instead of on a massage table. Like most forms of massage, Thai massage is used to relieve stress, improve range of motion and enhance flexibility. Some people also use Thai massage to address a range of health issues, including:
Like the name suggests, deep tissue massage targets your body’s deepest layers of muscle and releases tension in overstressed areas. When your muscles are severely knotted, this therapeutic treatment is designed to break it up. Deep tissue massage is a mix of slow, short strokes and penetrating finger pressure focused on tight, contracted areas. The therapist employs her thumbs, forearms, and even elbows to work muscle tissue and relieve tension. Be warned, if it’s your first massage or you don’t get much exercise, steer clear of deep tissue. You could end up very sore the next day. A deep tissue massage can help heal injuries and release knots caused by stress. Deep tissue massage requires a solid understanding of anatomy, but top therapists don’t just have technical skill. They’re highly sensitive and aware of reactions taking place in the body during the work and know when to back off. For more read Spafinder's guide to What is Deep Tissue Massage? If Deep Tissue isn't what you're looking for, find an alternative by reading Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.
The Spa at Fairmont Grand Del Mar is one of only 25 five-star spas in the country. They have all of your favorites like therapeutic massages and deep-cleansing facials, plus a relaxation pool, both wet and dry saunas, and an indoor whirlpool. For an even more exclusive experience, the spa only uses their custom-made organic product line during treatments.
The practice of using essential oils dates back to Egyptian times (it’s been said Cleopatra was a fan). Today, aromatherapy is used to promote well-being and stimulate the senses in a wide range of spa treatments, varying from massage to facials to hydrotherapy. Fragrant essential extracts sourced from plants, flowers, and herbs are mainly applied for their therapeutic benefits; studies show aromatherapy not only improves your mood, but may reduce stress levels and treat insomnia. So whether you want to rejuvenate or simply smell delicious, we say aromatherapy just makes sense! Step into a spa and one of the first things you’ll notice is a signature scent wafting in the air. It’s there to entice your senses straight off the bat and sets the tone for a relaxed experience. Not only is aromatherapy used to set the mood in a spa, it’s celebrated for healing purposes as well. Different natural oils are used for different therapeutic benefits. For example, lavender endorses calm, so speak with your therapist about what you’d like to accomplish during your treatment. To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?
Between horseback riding and mountain biking at this ranch and resort, be sure to carve out plenty of time for the spa, which is situated along a creek in a beautiful meadow. Two massage tents are suspended over the water with glass floors (talk about an amazing view!) and treatments include signatures like the "Cowboy Soak," which involves a moonlit soak in therapeutic copper tubs overlooking a mountain range.
In the desert about 125 miles north of Los Angeles, you'll find palm trees, cacti, flowering vines, and dramatic mountain vistas as you detox, Hollywood-style, in this juice-fast led program. Guests often emerge reporting a one to three pound per day weight loss—as well as clearer heads and brighter eyes and skin. Credit goes to both the clean liquid diet and the raft of classes offered, including breath work, Reiki, sound-healing, yoga of every flavor, "creative visioning"—and even sessions about transitioning back to solid food.
Yes, it has a seriously unglamorous name, but lymphatic drainage massage has a long list of benefits. Apart from being blissfully relaxing, manual lymph drainage (usually referred to as MLD) decreases facial puffiness, boosts the immune system, smoothes cellulite and soothes sore muscles. After spa-goers have had a lymphatic drainage massage, they may never go back to a regular massage again! Lymphatic drainage massage helps deliver cellular waste (including viruses and bacteria) to the lymph nodes. Drainage is essential because the lymphatic system lacks a pump of its own to transport lymph through the body and must rely on movement and massage to flush the fluid. Lymphatic drainage massage is good at reducing swelling, healing acne, relieving fatigue, and helps the body detox. This is a great treatment to try if you’re fasting or trying a juice cleanse. Lymphatic massage consists of gentle, rhythmic pressure, whispery soft finger strokes, and ultra-light drumming and stretching of the skin in the direction of the lymph pathways toward the lymph nodes. The logic is that this will counteract the lymph system’s tendency to become sluggish or blocked by causes like spending too much time on the couch or eating unhealthy foods. Lymphatic drainage is sometimes so relaxing that clients are lulled to sleep during treatments. Those who decide to relax with lymphatic drainage should be prepared to feel a little off-kilter following a massage. Remember to drink lots of water post-treatment. Read more about Lymphatic Drainage Massage in Spafinder's guide, What is Lymphatic Drainage 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.