The Best Types of Massage for Stress

Published

March 30, 2022

Authored

Derrick Allen

Headaches, heartburn, a pounding heart, tense muscles—these are all symptoms of stress and the effects that it can have on the body. 

We can feel stress for a variety of reasons, such as workplace-related issues, traffic jams, and more. These daily stressors add up and take a toll on our mental and physical health. 

One way to reduce stress is to get a massage. But did you know there are different types of massage? Find out which types are best for reducing stress. 

Swedish Massage

The Swedish massage originated in Sweden by Per Henrik Ling in the 1830s. The Swedish massage, also known as the classic massage, is arguably the most popular type. It’s certainly the most common type you’ll see and a good choice for those new to getting a massage. 

There are many benefits of getting a Swedish massage. For one, it relaxes you and improves sleep, which can do wonders to lower your stress levels. 

Massage therapists use a combination of the following techniques: 

  • Circular motions
  • Percussion
  • Passive joint movement
  • Kneading
  • Vibration
  • Tapping
  • Rolling
  • Long strokes toward the heart

Massages, such as the classic Swedish massage, manipulate joints and relax the muscles, which also promotes blood circulation. 

Even ten minutes of a massage can activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), which helps the body manage and recover from stress. 

Hot Stone Massage

If you’re looking for the best massage for stress, you might want to try a hot stone session. During this type of massage therapy, smooth, heated stones are placed on certain areas of the body. These volcanic stones, often basalt, usually go on your spine, chest, stomach, face, palms, and feet. 

Hot stone massages help people to relax by easing tension in the muscles. It can also help any damaged soft tissues. 

Hot stones may be used alongside Swedish massage techniques. Cold stones are sometimes used as well, usually to soothe the skin and swollen blood vessels. 

Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda involves five elements, space, fire, air, water, and earth. These are considered the building blocks of all living things. There are three mind-body principles in the body, which are known as doshas. These include Pitta (fire and water), Vata (space and air), and Kapha (water and earth). 

Ayurvedic healing practices, such as massage, seek to balance the doshas. 

Ayurvedic massage is popular in India. It’s an ancient form of holistic healing, and it’s more than 3,000 years old!

This type of massage uses essential oils, and the focus is on the body’s energy points. Oils are so important to this type of therapeutic massage that it’s sometimes referred to as an oil massage.

Other tools used include mantras, tuning forks, and more. 

Aromatherapy Massage

As you might expect from the name, aromatherapy massage uses essential oils to help relax you during treatment. 

Calming scents such as lavender are often used in aromatherapy treatment. In fact, lavender has well-known calming benefits, and it can promote relaxation, which may help reduce anxiety and stress.  

Other popular scents and essential oils used during aromatherapy include: 

  • Chamomile
  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Lemon
  • Ginger
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Tea tree

Aromatherapy services are often an add-on you can ask for along with your massage. 

Deep Tissue Massage

Another one of the most popular types of massage, the deep-tissue massage, uses more pressure. It’s a good option for anyone that has soreness, tightness, or muscle pain. 

When we’re stressed, our body tenses up. Usually, the body should release the tension after the stressful situation passes. However, chronic stress can result in the body remaining tight and tense. 

That’s why this option is one of the best massages for stress. 

The goal of deep tissue massage is to release tension through slow strokes and using deep finger pressure. The focus is on the muscle fibers, fascia, and tendons. It’s often used to help people after an injury, such as a sports injury. 

Sports Massage

Speaking of sports, this type of massage is a great option for athletes with a repetitive use injury. This type of massage can be tailored to specific parts of the body that need attention, or it can be a full-body treatment. 

A sports massage can help relieve pain and muscle tension and increase athletic performance. It can also help you relax and unwind, which will lower your stress levels. 

Shiatsu Massage

The shiatsu massage is an ancient Japanese treatment that means “finger pressure.” This technique, as you might expect, uses various types of pressure, including knuckles, elbows, knees, and feet. 

The idea behind a shiatsu massage is to unblock the Ki (or Qi) and restore balance to the body. It helps improve circulation, loosens, and relaxes your muscles. 

It may also be the best massage for back pain. A recent study looked at the connection between shiatsu and chronic lower back pain and found it can help improve symptoms

Thai Massage

Thai massage involves gently stretching the whole body, similar to yoga. A massage therapist uses their fingers and palms to apply pressure as patients participate. 

This type of massage is more active than some other types, but the gentle stretching can help to relax you and relieve stress. It can also improve your flexibility and circulation. 

A 2015 study on traditional Thai massage found that when combined with rest, it can help reduce psychological stress.

Other Add-Ons for Massages

Certain other treatments may be used along with the massage for optimal relaxation. Here are a few popular add-ons you might want to get along with your massage to reduce stress: 

  • Aromatherapy treatments
  • Scalp massage
  • Cupping
  • Hand or foot treatment
  • Hot stones

Relaxing music or nature sounds may help you relax during treatment as well. 

Experience These Types of Massage for Stress

Are you dealing with stress? If you are, give one of the types of massage a try to start unwinding and taking back your life again. 

When you’re ready to book a session, select a duration, and experience the benefits of a quality, therapeutic massage for yourself.