10 Most Popular Types of Massage

From aromatherapy to shiatsu, here's what they all mean

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Swedish: The most common type of massage in the U.S., a massage therapist uses long, smooth strokes, kneading in circular movements throughout the skin, using lotions or oils.

Aromatherapy: A therapist uses select essential oils such as lavender to help the patient relax, reducing stress, energizing and calming.

Hot stone: Heated, smooth stones are placed on certain areas of the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers of the body.

Deep tissue: This method targets deep layers of muscle, focusing on the body’s particular painful or stiff trouble spots. Some people may feel sore afterward.

Shiatsu: In Japanese, shiatsu means “finger pressure.” A therapist uses rhythmic finger pressure on acupressure points of the body.

Pregnancy: This is popular among expectant mothers, but it’s important to have a therapist trained in the proper way to position and support the woman’s body. Mayo Clinic in Florida’s Stephan Esser, a physical medicine and rehabilitative physician, said expectant mothers should wait until after their first trimester to have a pregnancy massage.

Neuromuscular: This is a form of soft tissue manipulation that aims to treat underlying causes of chronic pain involving the muscular and nervous systems.

Sports: It’s specifically designed for athletes, but this method can be used on most people. It focuses on preventing or treating injury and enhancing athletic performance.

Reflexology: Also called a foot massage, this type involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot that correspond to organs and systems within the body.

Source: About.com and American Massage Therapy Association

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