What are the Benefits of Full Body Massage?
Sometimes massaging just focusing on a specific part of the body is not enough. Perhaps you are looking for total relaxation or are looking for a sense of total well-being with a treatment that fits every nook and cranny.
“Full body” can refer to several different styles of massage within a set of widely practiced treatments. With the term covering so many different techniques, it can be difficult for those new to the world of massage to know what to expect from a full body session.
There are also key differences between the individual treatments that are worth noting and the benefits of full body massage.
Benefits of Full Body Massage
On top of leaving you generally feeling lighter and more relaxed, studies and additional research have shown that massage can benefit the body and mind in several profound ways:
Gentle exfoliation occurs due to the friction of the massage therapist’s hands, along with the use of massage lotion and oil, allowing fresh skin cells to emerge .
Nervous System Relaxation
The relaxation induced by massage leads to a “rest and digest” mode in your nervous system. This can balance hormone production, decreasing stress hormones like corticosteroids and increasing “feel good” hormones like endorphins. This balance positively affects various bodily functions, including sleep/wake cycles and immune response [1,3,4].
Massage acts like a sponge on your muscles. It squeezes out blood and lymph fluid, allowing fresh blood to enter, bringing nutrition, oxygen, and immune cells. Stretching and range of motion movements incorporated by your therapist can also benefit your joints and muscles [1,3].
Massage supports the lymphatic system, crucial for balancing fluid and immune system function. This can reduce edema in certain parts of the body by draining the lymphatic system [1,3].
Improved Bone Blood Supply
Massage enhances blood flow, which brings essential minerals to your bones, supporting their strength and function .
A Healthy Heart
The vasodilation produced by massage increases venous return, which in turn improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to all your organs .
Different types of full body massage
There are several types of massage therapy methods. Some of the more familiar treatments include Swedish massage and deep tissue massage, but there are many other types of massages that individuals can receive from a massage therapist, each with their own unique benefits.
1. Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is the most common type of massage. Known for its soft, long, kneading strokes combined with shorter, rhythmic tapping strokes, this kind of massage uses light to moderate pressure to accommodate for your comfort level.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage gives attention to painful trouble spots on the body. It targets muscle knots (areas of tension within the muscle fiber) and problem areas in deeper muscle layers and connective tissue.
3. Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massages involve hot stones (usually a volcanic rock called basalt that retains heat) placed on different parts of the body. The stones may be left in place or used as massage tools by a massage therapist. This heat on the body’s muscles has a relaxing, healing effect and increases blood flow to the area, as well as loosens muscles.
4. Sports Massage
Sports massages manipulate the body’s soft tissues and focus on certain muscle groups dependent on the athlete’s sport. Usually used for people who play sports or exercise regularly, sports massage helps prevent and treat injuries, reduce muscle pain, correct muscle imbalances, improve flexibility, and enhance athletic performance.
Reflexology is based on the concept of ‘reflex areas’ on the hands and feet, whose energy is believed to be connected to other parts of the body. In a reflexology session, a massage therapist will use hand, thumb, and finger techniques like kneading and rubbing on certain areas of the feet.
6. Thai Massage
Thai massage is a more energizing form of massage, incorporating assisted yoga, passive stretching, and pressing massage movements. Thai massage attempts to align the body’s energies and during a session, the massage therapist will move and stretch you in different postures.
7. Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy massage integrates essential oils into the massage experience. The use of essential oils dates back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, where they often gave scented massages and aromatic baths.
Blending these two elements together promotes relaxation and may invigorate or energize you, depending on the types of scents your massage therapist chooses. Many therapists will consult with you first to learn which kinds of essential oils you prefer.
The practices listed above are the highlights, but by no means do they cover all forms of massage therapy. There are different types of massage out there, each achieving different results.
What to expect from a full body massage
Full body massages last at least an hour, and practitioners usually begin with a quick chat about problem areas to understand what you want from the treatment. Remember that you should always feel comfortable communicating with your therapist during your treatment to adjust the pressure level to your liking.
Once you’re comfortable on the table, your therapist will apply oil (or use wax for a sports massage).
Keep in mind that there is no one set schedule for a massage – when the practitioner starts working on your body will vary depending on your needs, the time available and the person’s approach.
You will be covered with a towel throughout the treatment, and the practitioner will move the towel around as they work on different areas of your body.
After your appointment, you will have some alone time to get dressed. If possible, use the rest of the day to relax and rewind, and drink plenty of water. If you feel pain the next day, try taking a warm bath.
This article is brought to you by TherapyGoWhere, The Massage Spas and Wellness Places Directory.
1. “8 Surprising Benefits of a Full Body Massage” – Zeel.
2. “25 Benefits of Massage: For Body and Mind” – The Good Body.
3. “Full Body Massage: How Does It Work & What Are the Health Benefits?” – Heal.me.
4. “Benefits Of Full Body Massage” – A Valley of Vitality.
5. “Benefits of massage therapy” – Mayo Clinic Health System.