There are many different types of massage therapy techniques. More specifically, there are many different Eastern approaches to massage. Since ancient times Asian cultures such as China, Japan, Indonesia, and India have delved into the importance of massage. Some of the popular Eastern techniques include the two traditional types of Chinese massages, Shiatsu, Thai massage, Ayurvedic massage, and Balinese massage.
Zhi Ya, one of the two Chinese methods, uses acupressure techniques to find important points on the body that could relieve large areas of the body from muscle stress and pain. Acupressure focuses on discovering specific points throughout the body that when pushed or are under pressure connect to nerves that will create large reactions throughout specific parts of the body- relieving tension or even causing specific bodily functions to function fluidly.
Tui Na, the other Chinese method of massage, focuses on the stretching and kneading of the muscles. Instead of focusing on one specific point of a muscle like in acupressure, Tui Na focuses on the entire muscle and relieving tension over a greater space of the body. In eastern traditions, it is not considered a massage therapy technique, but rather a medicinal practice that is a part of Chinese medicine.
Shiatsu massage is an oriental massage therapy technique that incorporates both acupressure and the stretching of muscles by using the thumbs, fingers, and palms of the hand to put pressure on the muscles. It also incorporates techniques using vibrations, rolling, and strumming along the body. In our western culture you might have seen the term “shiatsu” in the battery-operated massage chairs that can be purchased or found in spas.
Ayurvedic massage is a technique used in India, that directly ties to Yoga and meditiaton. Indians consider it more of a medicinal technique for the health system rather than a massage. The Ayurvedic therapists use heated herbal oils directly on the skin during the massage in order to relieve tension through the skin’s pores.
Thai massages are routed from the Ayurvedic and Zhi Ya massages. It incorporates Yoga positions throughout the massage as well as finding pressure points through acupressure.
Balinese massage is an Indonesian massage technique that focus on gently making the person feel calm and relaxed. Aromatherapy oils are used on the skin of the person to aid in the calming factor, and gentle rolling and kneading are used on the muscles. It is said that the energy flow, oxygen, and blood flow increases after receiving a Balinese massage.