Getting the massage

There are, according to Alice Wignall in The Guardian last week, six types of massage readily available.

I'd like to rule out the chair massage those fifteen-minute vibrating things in shopping centres. Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely these are just novelty gimmicks, there in shopping centres to distract bored men and women who are being dragged around by their partner who is going to try just one more shoe shop. They are the equivalent, surely, of the Postman Pat stationary van rides that are outside supermarkets for bored toddlers.

This leaves us with five mainstream massages: Therapeutic, Thai, Shiatsu, Reflexology, and Sports.

Therapeutic this Swedish massage is the conventional stroking, kneading, percussion combo up and down your naked body. Its got all sorts of modest health benefits, and can reduce stress. Beware of vague whale-song music, candles and aromatherapy. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Thai Rhythmic pressure to different parts of the body along the Sen energy channels. Bits of your body might be pulled around and you will be contorted into a variety of different positions. Digits and members may be cracked. Thai massage sounds like a euphemism to me, but apparently it leaves you stretched and soothed, so give it a try.

Shiatsu apparently not a type of small white yappy dog. It actually means finger pressure, and once you know that, it does exactly what it says on the tin. The hand pressure and manipulation should be good for back and neck pain, joint pain, insomnia and stress. Rebalancing your ki may feel so subtle that you think nothing was happening. But anything that�s good enough for Muhammed Ali is good enough for me.

Reflexology this is the one that supposes that each part of your body relates to a part of your feet. Hmmm. It claims to work through the nervous system or other energy channels, to relieve stress, increase energy levels and boost the immune system. Sounds like a glorified foot massage to me.

Sports this sounds most attractive to me. A serious type of massage for a serious amateur sportsman and young professional. But you needn't be a young sportsman to benefit from this massage as occupational and domestic strains can give you sports injuries whatever your age and state of fitness. It's a deeper and more intense version of a therapeutic massage, often including some stretching and compression. Deep tissue massage is sometimes incorporated. Not designed for your immediate relaxation, but to prevent injury and speed recovery.

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