In my last guest post, I talked about what bodywork entails and why it is important. In this post I’ll explore the different options that we typically refer to as “bodywork” in the health and wellness field.

Most of us know the benefits of a relaxing massage. The standard 60-minute massage is a fantastic way to relax, reduce tension, and rehabilitate injuries.

Here are some different types of traditional massage and generally what they entail:

Swedish massage is what most visualize when they hear the word massage. It consists of longer fluid strokes meant to relax, warm, and prepare tissue for deeper work. Swedish massage can also help move fluid out of inflamed areas if there is swelling.

Deep tissue massage is used to facilitate structural change throughout the body, break up knots and adhesions, and provide deeper relief from chronic pain or tension. Strokes tend to involve more specificity either on or between muscles and can include active participation from the client in order to achieve enhanced range of motion. Posture, gait, and movement assessments are often an integral piece of deep tissue work in order to track progress.

Thai massage is typically performed on a floor mat and involves the therapist manually moving the patient’s body into increased ranges often seen in yoga. It was developed in Thailand, and influenced by the traditional medicine systems of India, China, and Southeast Asia, as well as by yoga.

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork based on the theoretical framework of traditional Chinese medicine.

Hot stone massage uses smooth, flat, and heated rocks placed at key points on the body.

Prenatal massage is customized for pregnant women.

Lymphatic massage is gentle in nature and helps move fluid toward sites of drainage, called catchments, located in the armpit, groin, and behind the knee.

Massage aside, there are other options for those who are searching for additional ways to better their quality of life.

Foam rolling has gained massive popularity over the past decade and for good reason. Self-rolling on a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or softball gives the user a tool to use at their own convenience and can be an effective way to cool-down and decrease tension post-workout. I recommend self-rolling 5-15 minutes before bed to help relax your mind and body. Self-rolling the thighs, glutes, spine, and calves are commonly used, however, less known areas accessible are the shins, forearms, rotator cuff, and abdomen.

Fascial stretch therapy, or FST, is gaining popularity in the health and medical fields as a full-body stretch technique used to enhance joint range of motion and overall mobility. Sessions typically last 60-90 minutes and include unique custom movements designed to unlock stuck tissue throughout the joints and fascial lines resulting in increased circulation, body awareness, and functional flexibility. FST is similar to Thai massage in the sense that it uses the patient’s own body movement in coordination with the therapists to achieve results. FST is performed on a massage table with leg straps that hold one leg down. This allows for maximum leverage of the free leg allowing the therapist to move about in circular dynamic ranges, which often go untouched with traditional stretching.