Massaging has been an acknowledged way of inducing the healing process for thousands of years. But when in need of distressing and loosening up after a hectic day at work, people also sometimes have a massage. Of course massage is available for anyone to use and can prove to be a great tonic to the frantic lifestyles that we are accustomed to.

Whilst we know of more eighty various style or types of massage, this article will just concentrate on the top tem as it were. That way, we can cover the basic principles behind each one, with reasonable clarity.

Firstly we are going to take a quick look at something called Swedish massage which is the most popular technique practiced in North America. Swedish massage consists of long firm strokes applied by the masseur/masseuse, with some circular actions and also some kneading of the muscles. A small amount of lotion or oil is usually applied to the body, which is then worked to produce a more pleasurable de-stressing experience.

After Swedish massage comes Aromatherapy. The two are identical in physical execution but in Aromatherapy, a scented oil is introduced into the process. The oil aroma is the product of plant extracts and the subject can select a particular smell that appeals to him/her. The oil, whilst enabling the action of the massage to be smoother and therefore more relaxing also adds a certain mental calmness into the process through its association in the subject's psyche.

Heat, or warmth is the main element used in our next chosen massage; hot stone massage. Special stones are warmed before being lain on the skin over the affected muscle area. The transfer of warmth from the stones into the muscle brings about a healing and soothing sensation. If any certain muscles are in need of more attention, the masseur/masseuse may also use physical massage. This type of massage is said to sooth the mind as well as bringing relief to the muscles.

In some instances, particularly where the affected muscle areas lie deeper, it is necessary to use a technique known as deep tissue massage, or the friction technique. In this form of massage, the masseur/masseuse will use strong, slow squeezes to massage the muscles. It is used in cases of severe muscle cramps, and where people are suffering from more chronic muscle pain. It is known to aid posture as well as being used in a recuperative fashion after injury.

Shiatsu massage originated in Japan and has close associations with acupuncture. The purpose of this particular style of massage is to improve the body's energy flow by applying fingertip pressure to various point on the body. The fingertips apply this pressure for between two to eight seconds. The process is repeated all over the body in a sort of ritual routine.

Thai massage is similar in concept to Shiatsu. This too is designed to improve the body's stream of natural energy and is administered through the fingertips by following certain ancient routines.

Women's bodies go through remarkable changes during pregnancy; extra weight responsibility, and an extra drain on energy and nutrition. Pregnancy massage can help to alleviate pain and improve general well being.

Reflexology is another branch of massage, this time relating to the feet. It maintains that our feet are related to different body organs through special pressure points and that manipulation of these pressure points can bring about enhanced well being.

For all you sporting people, massage can be a blessing. Playing sports is one of the prime causes of muscle injury and stress, so sports massage plays an important part in getting you back to peak fitness and helping you to recover from muscle damage.

Finally there is back massage, surely one of the most crucial forms of massage especially if you are one of the many millions who suffer from back pain. Properly administered back massage can be a great boon.

Massage is quite a complex field depending on what it is designed to do and how it does it. Which method is right for you?

Author's Bio: 

Fred loves to write articles about massage therapy and has a website that features a collection of Massage dvds ,abs workout dvds,massage tables,massage oil and massage chairs The dvds teach full body, Indian head and luxury facial massage and are a great resource.