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.
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.
A couples massage allows partners to experience massage together in the same area as one therapist works on each person. Some spas turn this into a romantic event that can leave guests starry-eyed, setting the treatment in a special room or suite large enough for two, beachside underneath the stars, or in the couple’s guest room at a hotel or resort. For an extra-special touch, rooms reserved for side-by-side massage treatments may feature cozy spa fixtures such as fireplaces, shower facilities, Jacuzzis, and dual soaking tubs, and some spas offer irresistible amenities like champagne and strawberries as a sumptuous treat. Many spas offer treatments à deux so spa-goers can share a pampering experience with a significant other, but a couples massage isn’t just for romantics. Mother-daughter duos and best friends may also enjoy side-by-side services. For couples, this form of massage can offer a double dose of benefits. The tandem treatment invites couples to get a bit closer and reconnect, and it can enhance intimacy and teach each partner how to take care of the other. Plus, select spas allow lovebirds to get in sync by offering sessions that teach massage techniques. Pampering and rejuvenating facials, massages, and other treatments in half- or full-day increments can make up a whole spa package for couples. Learn more about couples massage in Spafinder's Guide to Couple's 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.
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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