The Gift of Massage
● By Christina Freeman
By Susan Cunningham
Steamboat Springs, CO - Massage has been shown to reduce
blood pressure, decrease anxiety and depression, relieve pain, aid in healing, control migraines and
more, according to the American Massage Therapy Association.
With various types of massage, the only stressful part is choosing one. Different styles involve different pressures, movements and techniques. To decide, consider your goals, look for a massage therapist that’s certified, and be sure he or she knows if you have any health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Then show up and relax.
With more than a dozen varieties of massage techniques available in Steamboat, it’s easy to make the gift of massage personal. Here’s a key to deciphering some of the most popular styles of massage.
One of the most popular massages in America, the Swedish is calming and relaxing. It features long, gliding strokes, kneading and tapping, with firm but gentle pressure.
Benefits: increase circulation, relieve muscle aches and tension, increase flexibility, lower stress
Also popular, deep tissue massage is more intense than the Swedish and sometimes uncomfortable, but ideal for targeting knots or stiff and painful areas. Slow strokes and intense pressure reach layers of muscles, tendons and other tissues deep under the skin. Pamela Peretz, CEO of Pamper Group, Inc., which has three massage locations in Steamboat, says that deep tissue massage is great for skiers and snowboarders. “Deep tissue massage is one that really benefits them,” Peretz says. “(It) helps get rid of the achiness and soreness, and helps them get back on the mountain.”
Benefits: relieve pain, improve mobility, ease chronic tension
Use this before, during and after athletic events to alleviate stress and tension resulting from physical activity.
Benefits: increase flexibility, injury prevention and healing, improve circulation, relieve pain
The client lies on a padded floor and is moved into various stretches and positions to compress muscles, stretch the body and apply pressure to key points. Thai is recommended for skiers and other active individuals.
Benefits: relieve tension, improve flexibility, energize
Hot stones are placed on key areas of the body, including the back, palms and between toes, to transmit heat deep into the body. The stones may be used with oil for massaging. Benefits: relax muscles, improve circulation and calm the nervous system
The massage therapist uses his or her bare feet to apply intense pressure to the body, massaging deep tissue. This is the deepest deep tissue massage. For less intensity, request one foot instead of two.
Benefits: relieve pain, improve posture and balance, relaxation.
Feet (and sometimes hands and ears) are massaged at pressure points, which some believe correspond with other areas of the body.
Benefits: relieve pain, restore balance
Shiatsu (WATSU) and Aquatic Bodywork
The client floats with support in warm mineral water while his body is moved, massaged, compressed and stretched. The water helps support, stretch and stimulate the body. Benefits: increase circulation, clear energy blockages, relaxation
Adjustments to the body’s energy field is worked with light touch or by placing hands hear or above the body.
Gentle movements of the bones of the head, spine and sacram to help the craniosacral fluid move more easily.
A quick massage that focuses on neck, shoulders, back, arms and hands.
Done in a side-lying position, with pillows and bolsters to eliminate any strain.
Benefits include relaxation, improved circulation and mobility, relief from pain.
With slow gliding motions, cups are moved along the body to create suction to loosen stiff tissues and improve circulation.
A couple is massaged at the same time, side by side, by two massage therapists.
Gentle pressure is applied to restricted areas of connective tissue to release and restore the fascia.
Other massage options in Steamboat include: aromatherapy massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, Abhyanga massage, aroma flower elixir massage.