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We all need to be kneaded. And in this time of economic stress, taking the time for self care is of utmost importance. Whether you choose to give your shoulders some shiatsu love or treat your feet to the pressure and release of reflexology, read through our list of hands-on bodywork techniques and figure out which one is for you. Cheaper--and faster--than a vacation, body work can quickly release your tension and leave you calm and refreshed. Indulge your muscles--they will be thankful!

Swedish Massage
During a Swedish massage, the masseuse uses oils and five kinds of strokes--sliding, kneading, tapping, friction, and vibration--to reduce joint stiffness, pain, improve circulation, and relax you deeply.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage focuses on realigning deeper tissues and connective fibers. The masseuse uses strokes that are slower and harder than those used in Swedish or Sports massages. Deep tissue massage can be effective in treating conditions such as chronically tense shoulders and neck, fibromyalgia, or postural problems.

Hot Stone Massage

Heated basalt stones are placed on the client, often along the spine or energy centers (chakras). The heat from the stones relaxes muscles and the weight applies pressure. The masseuse then rubs hot oiled stones over the client's legs, arms and torso to facilitate muscular release and relaxation.

Thai Massage

Thai Massage is usually performed on the floor, with the client wearing comfortable clothing. The masseuse uses deep massage while putting the client in a variety of passive yoga poses and stretches.


The practice of reflexology is based on the traditional Eastern view that the hands and feet contain many pressure points that correspond to various parts of the body. When pressed, these points release tension and blocked energy (qi).

Sports Massage

Sports massage is used as a pre-event rubdown or as post-event recovery to sooth the aches and pains caused by physical exertion. A restorative or rehabilitative sports massage during training also helps you train harder or nurse a sports injury back to health.

Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda, which translates as "Science of Life," is India's traditional medicine. Massage is an important component of Ayurveda, and there are many different types in the Ayurvedic tradition. Many use hot medicated oils and milks as well as bundles of herbs or oatmeals, which are rubbed over the body.

Medical Massage
Medical Massage is not one specific type of massage, but rather any massage directed at relieving a specific medical problem, such as tension headaches, back pain, or arthritis. But before you get a massage to alleviate medical problems, make sure the masseuse is certified and well-recommended!

Rolfing, Or Structural Integration

Rolfing, developed by Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1940's, is one of the most intense forms of body work (some clients find it quite painful). Rolfing uses a soft tissue manipulation technique that aims to restructure the body by separating and loosening muscle fibers to improve posture and respiration. Enthusiasts also find long-lasting stress relief because of the overall comfort and freedom it allows the body.


Acupressure releases tension and rewires the nervous system by applying pressure to specific points along the body's meridian system (channels of energy) with a hand or elbow (instead of needles like in acupuncture).

Sometimes known as a finger pressure massage, Shiatsu is a Japanese technique in which the masseuse rhythmically kneads his fingers, thumbs, and palms on pressure points to encourage the flow of energy (qi). It is good for back pain, stress, headaches, or just to relax.

In Watsu, the therapist cradles the client in a skin-temperature pool. Stretches and deeply relaxing movements are applied to put the client's body and mind at total ease. Watsu was developed by Harold Dull in the 1980's, when he experimented with using traditional Shiatsu massage techniques while in a pool.

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