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A full-body massage indicates that the therapist will massage your whole body during a therapeutic massage lasting at least 50 minutes. That's the amount of time needed to massage all the major areas of your body – back, shoulders, legs, feet, arms, hands and neck. Men get a nice pectoral massage, but women have to go to Europe for that.
You generally start face down and the therapist starts with your back and shoulder, then moves down the body. Once you flip over, the therapist works her way back up your body, usually ending with neck and shoulders and sometimes the scalp.
Deep tissue massage is aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. Deep tissue massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish massage, but the pressure will generally be more intense. It is also a more focused type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or "knots" (also known as "adhesions.")
Chinese massage is closely related to acupuncture and focuses on channels or energy points that will effectively transport and guide blood and energy, or "qi," throughout the body. The aim is to achieve balance to protect the person against different types of infection and maintain the optimum function of all organs. When the channels are impeded or blocked, the person experiences pain and is prone to health problems. The masseuse can identify which pathways are blocked and need pressure.
This is the most common type of massage therapy, and what many people are thinking about when they hear the word "massage" or try to give someone else or themselves a good massage. Swedish massage uses a combination of these basic movements.
During hot stone massage, your body is not only weighted down with hot, smooth stones, but the masseuse also uses the stones to massage your body. It's like being caressed by the smoothest (rollerball-like) hands. A hot stone massage is mostly relaxing, but it also is more invigorating than your run-of-the-mill massage, thanks to the almost-too-much heat bringing you back to focus on the moment instead of letting you drift off. The heat helps release the tension in your back and shoulders, mostly, so those muscles can be worked on more effectively.
Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body. Reflexologists work holistically with their clients and aim to work alongside allopathic healthcare to promote better health for their clients.
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