The Ultimate Massage Guide
You've got a crick in your neck that just won't go away. Or you've pulled something playing with your kids. Or work's been crazy busy lately. Whatever the reason, a massage sounds like—and usually is—one of the best ways to decompress and reset yourself when you're stressed. There's almost an unlimited number of types to treat just about any ailment, and they're all pretty different. Before you book your next (or first) appointment, check out this guide to get the basics.
What are the benefits of massage treatments?
While most would (rightly) assume that one of the main benefits of a massage is a relaxed physical feeling, there's a lot more to it than that. Effects actually begin mentally, as your brain signals your body that it's all good to relax, which primes your muscles for the kneading and physical benefits that follow.
When focusing on the physical benefits of a massage, a runner's massage is a good example to start with. Therapeutic treatments for runners have wide-ranging benefits, including reversing damage done during workouts, boosting circulation, and increasing your joints' range of motion. In short: they make you feel a whole lot better.
A licensed therapist dives into the whys and hows of the many benefits of massages.
Why adding the treatment to your routine can make you a better, healthier runner.
What types of massages can I choose from?
The kinds of massages you can get are pretty much endless, and vary from those that require very little outside of the long, flowing strokes standard to Swedish massage, to types that might incorporate hot stones or aromatherapy oils.
So you've got lots of choices. And while most massage styles can be tailored or tweaked to address specific ailments you're dealing with, you probably want to know a little bit about the main massage styles before you book an appointment. Check out this list of the most common kinds of massage for a quick explanation of each:
Swedish massage: the most common type of massage; long kneads are used to ease tension in muscles and help clients relax. Shop for a Swedish massage near you.
Deep-tissue massage: intense kneading techniques are applied to address issues with deep layers of muscle tissue. Shop for a deep-tissue massage near you.
Hot-stone massage: small heated stones are placed on the client's back to loosen muscles and prime them for kneading. Shop for a hot-stone massage near you.
Reflexology massage: a foot massage that manipulates pressure points to address correlating achy or pain-ridden parts of the body. Shop for a reflexology massage near you.
Thai massage: a fully clothed treatment wherein the practitioner puts the client through a series of intense, full-body stretches. Shop for a Thai massage near you.
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What's the proper massage etiquette?
If you're not used to getting a massage, then the idea of taking off your clothes and having someone knead into your muscles probably sounds a little awkward. And while getting a massage is definitely your time to relax and focus on you, following a few key etiquette tips will help make the experience that much better.
Dress to your comfort level. Don't feel like taking off your underwear? Then don't! Go with whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Make sure you've showered that day. Nobody really enjoys touching someone who's sweaty or dirty, even if it's their job. Your massage therapist will thank you.
Talk to your practitioner. Namely, let them know if you have any injuries or conditions they should know about before starting the treatment.
Don't talk to your practitioner. Only if you don't want to, though—there's no need to fill idle time with small talk if that's not your thing.
Your complete guide on what to do and say during a massage.
How getting in the right frame of mind beforehand can help maximize your enjoyment of a massage.
How much does a massage cost?
On average, the cost of a massage is about $60 to $85. This depends on several factors, including where you live, the type of massage you're receiving, and the certification level of the massage therapist you're seeing.
There's also tipping to consider: if you're asking yourself, "Should I tip for a massage?" the answer is yes. Just as it is in the restaurant world, it's appropriate to tip in the ballpark of 20% (remember to base this number on the cost of the service before discounts).