Though often considered a luxury spa treatment, massage therapy offers many health benefits. It relaxes the mind and body, reduces stress, boosts the immune system, and can even help manage anxiety and depression. The many benefits of massage are ideal for active adults. There are several types of massage available, each with its own particular style and focus.
Swedish massage, the most common type of massage therapy, is often the best variety for a first massage. A Swedish massage can include a combination of techniques such as circular motions, gliding strokes, kneading and tapping. Each of these techniques work together to release muscle tension and relax both your body and mind. The pressure during a Swedish massage can vary from light to moderate, but it is a relatively gentle form of massage therapy.
Based on the basic Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage uses may of the same techniques but with more forceful pressure. This type of massage therapy targets deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. A deep-tissue massage is generally more focused than a general Swedish massage. The session will likely target chronic muscle tension, working out the knots that are causing discomfort. Deep-tissue massage may be less comfortable than a Swedish massage, but you should ask the masseuse to adjust the pressure if it is too forceful.
Sports massage and trigger point therapy are both used to treat muscle strains and injuries. While there are different types of sports massage, this therapy often targets specific problem areas, such as a frozen shoulder or sore knee. Trigger point massage focuses on tender muscle fibers, known as “trigger points”, which form through injuries or overuse. It can be painful to work out these sensitive areas, and this form of massage therapy should only be done by a qualified therapist.
Upscale spas may offer their own signature massages, though many are based on popular styles and techniques. An aromatherapy massage adds fragrant oils to a Swedish massage. This is designed to elevate your mood and increase relaxation during the session. Hot stone massage, another popular variety, incorporates smooth, heated stones into the massage. It may also include laying warmed stones on your body to help you relax.
When performed by a trained massage therapist, massages offer very few risks. Those with certain conditions should talk to their doctor before starting massage therapy, particularly those with blood clotting disorders, Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer or unexplained pain. However, when approved by your doctor, massage can often be safely incorporated as a complementary therapy for several chronic conditions.
Many active adult communities offer their own on-site spas with massage facilities. Just a few of these communities include: Soleil Laurel Canyon in Georgia, Sun City Lincoln Hills in California, Valencia Palms in Florida, and Montebello in New Jersey.
Massage therapy is more than simple pampering. Massage offers health benefits that support an active lifestyle, and can help prevent or treat injuries. If you haven’t yet tried a professional massage, book an appointment at a reputable spa and see just how relaxing the experience can be.