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When you’re stressed and in serious need of down time, getting a massage can feel life-changing. Though we think of a massage as a luxury, studies show its benefits go beyond relaxation to include relief from chronic pain and improved immune function.
“People are much more knowledgeable about their health and bodies, and that includes choosing a massage modality that can accomplish a particular goal, such as relief from muscle pain or ‘tech neck,’” says Beth McGroarty, research director of the Global Wellness Institute, a Miami-based global think tank for the spa and wellness industry. We asked the experts at Spafinder (spafinder.com) to tell us which massages they expect to be popular this year. Here’s what they shared:
Best if you’re… feeling stiff from sitting in front of a computer all day.
How it works: You wear loose-fitting clothes as you lie on a floor mat or table while a therapist performs a series of yoga-like stretches for deep relaxation, stress relief and enhanced circulation. For example, he might place his shoulder under your heel to lift your leg and stretch your hamstring, according to Spafinder.
Best if you’re… recovering from surgery. It can also be effective for smoothing cellulite, soothing muscle soreness, boosting immune function, promoting circulation and reducing facial puffiness.
How it works: Your massage therapist uses a light touch while applying gentle pressure to increase the flow of liquid through the lymph nodes. “It can reduce swelling from fluids that accumulate in the body and help deliver cellular waste and microscopic viruses and bacteria to the lymph nodes,” explains McGroarty, adding that the massage is popular among breast cancer patients who may be dealing with a build-up of excess fluid.
Best if you’re… living with chronic pain or recovering from an injury.
How it works: This practice heals by relieving tightness and pain from every bodily organ. Feedback from the body tells your therapist how much force to use, the direction of the stretch and how long to stretch, according to Spafinder. It also helps increase range of motion.