With workplace stress becoming more commonplace, so the cost to industry increases with it as more and more individuals take time off work due to stress related illness. To combat these growing figures, a number of new stress combatant measures are being implemented into the workplace. One of the most popular is a workplace massage. The top ten massage techniques are listed below.
1. Swedish Massage
This is the most basic of all massage techniques, and the more popular, as it is usually the first to be learnt by masseuses. The Swedish massage technique consists of five basic steps or sub-techniques.
Effleurage. This first step involves long, sweeping strokes with the hands, gliding over the body. The main purpose of this is to relax the muscles.
Petrissage. This next step, the muscles are gently manipulated by being squeezed and lifted from the body. This is to relax the muscles and to improve circulation.
Friction. The masseuse applies heat to the skin and muscle in this step, by rubbing the surface with deep, circular movements. This stretches muscle fibres, breaks down any knots caused by binding of muscle fibres and improves muscle and joint flexibility.
Tapotement. Additionally known as percussion, the masseuse will quickly and rhythmically tap, cup or chop the skin with their hands. This stimulates the muscles into promoting gas exchange to improve circulation and also firms the skin and releases muscle tension and spasms.
Vibration. This last step entails gently shaking the skin with the fingers or hand. This releases any remaining tension that may reside in the muscles and also boosts circulation.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage technique is especially good for treating specific areas of the body. The masseuse will typically use their elbows or the knuckles on their fingers, working with slow, deep movements across the fibre of the muscle and across tendons. This will restrict and release blood to the muscle, re-energising the tissue with fresh oxygen, and remove more complex knots in the muscle fibres.
3. Sports Massage
The Sports Massage technique is a combination of other massage techniques. The chief techniques used are Swedish massage, Deep Tissue massage and Trigger Point massage. With the last-mentioned, Trigger Point massage involves the masseuse pinpointing the muscle area affected by detecting a hardness in the tissue, and then working directly on that area with the fingers until the muscle relaxes. Sports massage will reduce muscle swelling and tension, relieve muscle fatigue and increase the flexibility of the muscle tissue.
4. Indian Head Massage
This ancient massage technique, also known as Champissage, covers the neck and shoulders as well as the head. The neck and shoulders are first deeply kneaded and squeezed to remove any muscle tension. Once completed, the masseuse will move on to the head and scalp. With the wrists resting on the head and using their finger tips, they will lightly claw at the scalp, as if shampooing the hair. This will increase circulation thus improving blood supply to the brain. Before the final step, the masseuse will perform a facial massage, gently rubbing the temples in a small circular motion. Once finished, they will gently rub the forehead, moving away from the centre down each side of the face to the temple, before finally stroking slowly from the forehead towards the back of the head, becoming lighter as they do, until the fingers lift away from the head. This technique will remove tension from the shoulders and neck, release sinus pressure and relieve stress that can ultimately lead to headaches.
This massage technique is specifically for hands and feet. Firstly, the foot/hand is gently stoked and rubbed to warm the area before being worked. The masseuse will then use their thumbs and fingers to explore the subject, including the area between the fingers and toes, to find any anomalies. An area that needs specific attention will be gently compressed and rubbed before the masseuse moves on to the next area. Once the hand or foot has been finished, the masseuse will gently rub and stroke the hand or foot again, to relieve any stress.
6. Hot Stone Massage
As the name suggests, Hot Stone Massage utilises heated stones. The stones used are smooth and are pre-heated in water beforehand. Once the stones are at working temperature they are placed on specific parts of the body. The heat from the stones penetrates the muscles, which make them relax, stretching the muscle fibres and improving circulation. The stones are then used to massage the area, whilst they are still heated. Hot Stone Massage is used over the whole body, except for the face, and will relieve pain and muscle tension, improve muscle flexibility and increase blood circulation.
7. Shiatsu Massage
This eastern oriental massage technique uses the fingers and thumbs on the acupuncture pressure points on the body, and is often known as acupressure. Some masseuses even use their elbows and knees during a massage session. The body's pressure points are manipulated by tapping, squeezing, rubbing and deeply probing, which releases and restores the energy flow around the body. This technique relieves pain and relaxes the muscles, and improves the circulation of blood around the body.
8. Neuromuscular Massage
This particular technique focuses on a specific muscular complaint. The masseuse will concentrate on that distinct area and locate the trigger point within that muscle which is causing the problem. The masseuse will apply continuous pressure with the fingers, knuckles or the elbows, for a prolonged period. This will improve the circulation within the muscle and relieve any pain or discomfort.
9. Pregnancy Massage
Pregnancy massage techniques are specialised due to the nature of pregnancy. The areas that are covered are primarily the back and buttocks, legs and feet. For the back and buttocks, the masseuse will use a soft fist and will draw their knuckles from the neck down to the hips and will then run the fist back upward to the ribs. The masseuse will also apply pressure just below the base of the spine between the buttocks using the palm of their hand. Legs and feet will be rubbed softly. These techniques will relax the muscles and increase the blood circulation.
10. Aromatherapy Massage
This is not strictly a technique, more the addition of essential oils to the techniques mentioned above. The masseuse will use the more relaxing strokes and compliment them with essential oils. The oils chosen vary depending on the result that the masseuse would like to achieve. Different oils will produce differing feelings of well being, and this is something that the patient and masseuse would discuss beforehand.
These massage techniques can benefit employers and employees alike. By re-energising the mind and body, workplace morale improves creating a more pleasant, stress free working environment that all can benefit from.