While a lot of people seem to think that getting a massage is more of a luxury than a necessity, when you stop to ponder all of the benefits that come with getting one, I would certainly beg to differ. Receiving a massage from a reputable massage therapist is able to do everything from decrease your stress levels and reduce pain and tension throughout your body to increase flexibility, improve your sleep patterns, boost your immune system and put you in a much better mood—even after only one session.
So, if you're someone who gets them on the regular, and there is a part of you that feels a little guilty due to the price tag, please don't. You are doing your mind, body and spirit a world of good by booking those appointments. On the other hand, if you've never gotten a massage before (or it's been years since you've had one), take a moment to check out 12 different types of massages (this is just some; believe it or not, there are actually several more) that are specifically designed to treat whatever it is that (physically) ails you.
12 Different Types Of Massages
1. Swedish Massage
Even though the Swedish massage is probably the most popular one out of this particular bunch, the something new that I learned is only English- and Dutch-speaking countries call it that; everywhere is, it's referred to as being the "classic massage". It consists of five basic massage strokes—gliding, kneading, tapping, cross-fibers and vibration—and it's great at relieving muscle discomfort, joint stiffness and lower back pain.
A Swedish massage typically takes somewhere between 30-90 minutes and is an awesome option if you're someone who happens to have never experienced the pleasure of a professional massage before.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
The easiest way to describe a deep tissue massage is it's a Swedish one that has more pressure applied to it. The people who request this type of treatment are usually those who experience chronic muscle pain, a sports injury or some type of strain, along with the anxiety that this type of discomfort might produce. Slower strokes with more intense finger pressure are what typically happens.
This is usually a full body massage that lasts between 60-90 minutes. Oh, and although deep tissue is noticeably more intense, you shouldn't feel additional soreness once your therapist is done (not if they really know what they are doing, anyway).
While there honestly isn't a ton of scientific data to support cupping, it's still a fan favorite for many; one that has been used for centuries. It's all about a massage therapist locating a super tight or sore part of your body, placing a suction cup over it and letting it remain there until blood rushes to the area in order to ultimately bring about relief. There are basically three different types of cupping techniques to choose from. Dry cupping is when cups that are between 1"-3" inches in diameter are placed onto your body (it's the most common method). Fire cupping is when a glass cup is lit on fire and then placed on top of your body. Then there is wet cupping; it's all about a professional literally making an incision into your skin in order to significantly increase blood circulation and remove toxins from your system (apparently, it's quite popular in Islamic culture).
Those who are looking for a temporary pain management method will usually sign up for cupping. Just keep in mind that the process typically takes around an hour. Also, it's very common for bruises to be left behind after your session (they usually go away after a couple of days).
Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of reflexology. It's when pressure is applied to pressure points like your hands, feet and ears. When I've had it done on my feet, it was crazy how I could feel certain parts of my body respond to the massage itself (because there are literally several thousand nerve endings per each sole; many that are connected to various organs, etc.). Reflexology is dope because it can do everything from relax your nerves and reduce headaches to increase blood circulation and give you an energy boost.
A reflexology session usually lasts between 30-60 minutes and is a great alternative if you'd prefer to not have a full-on massage experience like many of these other options provide.
A massage method that is directly attributed to ancient Chinese medicine is acupuncture. While it doesn't have a ton of scientific data to back it up, many professionals and clients alike are very fond of this particular approach. It's all about inserting very thin needles into various meridian points of your body in order to manage stress and relieve pain. It's very common for individuals with recurring headaches, dental pain, respiratory disorders, back pain and even menstrual cramps to use this approach.
If the mere thought of a needle freaks you out, an alternative method is acupressure, which is basically acupuncture without the use of needles. As far as how long this kind of session is, it's really based on how many needles your massage therapist feels like you need in order for you to receive maximum results.
The technical term for this particular kind of massage is myofascial release. It's when the fibrous connective tissues, which are right underneath your skin (and right above your muscle), are massaged in order to break the tissue down so that you feel less tight. Oftentimes this type of massage incorporates instruments like a foam roller, tennis ball and/or a body bar.
Myofascial release normally lasts around 30 minutes and can either be performed by a massage therapist or you can even try it on your own at home. For tips on how to do it yourself, click here.
7. Shiatsu Massage
Knowledge is power, right? When I went to look up the origin of the word, apparently, it means "finger pressure" in the Japanese language. While this is the kind of massage that can include your entire body, oftentimes a massage therapist will put a lot of focus, especially, on your hands, fingers and thumbs in order to increase endorphins (so that pain levels will decrease), lower your blood pressure and heart rate, help to balance out your hormones, improve your coordination and give you more energy.
Many people with chronic pain, sinus issues or sleep disorders enjoy this particular method. A shiatsu massage lasts for between 30-90 minutes, depending on how severe your issues may be.
8. Biodynamic Massage
Biodynamic is a type of massage that is rooted in pseudoscience (something that isn't based on specific scientific standards). What's so cool about this particular method is it's all about getting your digestive system back on track; since your digestive tract helps your system to process food easily and effectively, and also better "digest" emotional stressors too, that's why this approach can be so beneficial.
If you sign up for a biodynamic massage, your massage therapist will apply certain touch techniques that will affect everything from your skin and fascia to your bones and muscles. This massage usually requires somewhere around an hour of your time.
9. Prenatal Massage
Any woman who's been pregnant before knows that the body goes through some significant transitions throughout all three trimesters. Sometimes the muscle soreness and joint pain that comes as the result of your body continually making room for your little one to grow is enough to keep you up all hours of the night and super irritated all throughout the day. One way to provide some immediate relief is getting a prenatal massage. It's the kind of massage that's specifically designed for pregnant women and typically consists of mild pressure being applied to a woman's back, hips and legs.
A prenatal massage usually happens while you're on your side or face down on a massage table that has a hole to accommodate your baby bump. As far as how long this one lasts, it's somewhere between 45-60 minutes.
10. Aromatherapy Massage
If you're feeling particularly stressed out on the emotional tip, you should definitely consider booking an aromatherapy massage appointment. The reason why I say that is because it's all about relieving anxiety, improving your mood and reducing depression-related symptoms. Based on what you feel is emotionally bothering you, your massage therapist will incorporate an essential oil that will help to bring about relief. Basically, you will not only have some of the oil (or oils) applied to your skin, but there will be a diffuser for you to inhale the scent(s) from while you're getting your massage too.
Aromatherapy massages usually take somewhere around an hour and are full body ones. Definitely something to keep in mind, if you're super shy about totally disrobing.
11. Amatsu Massage
Amatsu massage is a method that is birthed out of the Japanese culture. During this massage, your therapist will use small body range motions in order to loosen up tightened tendons, joints, ligaments or muscles. A principle of this particular massage is when structure, emotion, energy, nutrition and environment are brought back into balance, your body will become less tense.
A thorough amatsu massage needs about an hour. It's also one of the least invasive methods of massage therapy.
12. Couples Massage
The only thing that makes partaking of one of these massages even better is if you invite your boo to join you. Couple massages are dope because they're a quality time date that provides a truly great way to reconnect with your partner. Plus, since massages are an ultimate de-stressor, by mutually having your cortisol (your natural stress hormone) levels drop, your libido is able to increase which can make for a really good night, once you both get off of the table. #wink
So, if you've got a significant other, do you and your sex life a favor and book a massage appointment for the both of you to enjoy together. It's a thoughtful date that is as sexy as it is healthy for you both. Treat yourself. ASAP.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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