At this point, most of us have experienced a massage or two – on a cruise or as part of a spa visit – but sometimes it can be a little intimidating deciding what style of treatment to choose, what to wear and what to take off in the room.

These days it is accepted that you completely disrobe and get under the blankets naked, but wear underwear if it makes you feel more at ease. It is all about the relaxation and you need to be comfortable. Always wear loose clothing to the massage. Wriggling in and out of tight clothes spoils the whole ambiance of the treatment.

Let’s do a quick recap of the most popular massages:

Swedish Massage – this is the most common type of massage. It is a good starting point for newcomers and a great stand-by for overall tension release. Long strokes knead the muscles and increase the blood circulation.

Deep Tissue Massage – is a Swedish massage with a lot more pressure.  This intensity can result in a couple of days of soreness following treatment but is really good for athletes because it gets rid of lactic acid build-up in the muscles.

Sports Massage – involves more stretching and rocking and tends to be performed at a more vigorous pace. It is also a great massage to get when treating an injury.

Thai Massage – often referred to as ‘yoga for the lazy’ and performed on the floor, this massage mixes acupressure, shiatsu with stretching and yogi asanas. It provides pain relief and increases flexibility. Great for serious golfers! Wearing baggy clothing for this treatment is a must. (You keep your clothes on).

Reflexology – the principle behind reflexology is that every organ has a corresonding point on the bottom or top of the feet, ankles and hands. The technician will thumb press these points to release stress, pain and tension in the body. The technique can also be used on the ears. At SkinSense we have used reflexology very sucessfully to bring relief to late stage pregnancies.

Prenatal – and talking of pregnancy, expectant mothers experience unique physical and emotional changes. Prenatal massage is specially designed to reduce swelling, soothe neck and back aches, improve muscle strength and relieve fatigue. First time mothers are advised to avoid massage during the first trimester but after that, massage is very helpful.

Hot Stone – for deeper relaxation, heated stones are placed on the body, between the toes and on the chakra points to melt away tension and allow deeper penetration of the muscles during treatment. This is a wonderful gift to give someone you care about.

Obviously all these protocols have something in common and sometimes use similar techniques. All will lift your spirits, refresh the mind and re-energise the body. Never be afraid to tell your therapists where your body hurts or where you feel the most tension and let them know if the pressure suits you as the treatment progresses. For best results, it is a good idea to mix massage types. Get treatments every two to three weeks, or weekly when treating an injury and always drink plenty of water following every massage.