When it comes to self-care, most men know that they should eat healthy, move their bodies, and do something for their mental health. But something that could be a key piece in completing this wellness puzzle is massage therapy.
Massages might evoke thoughts of fancy spa days, lemon water, and cucumber eye patches. But massages aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing. And more importantly, they’re not just for women.
There are so many ways to reap the benefits of massage therapy for men, whether you’re looking to soothe overused muscles, find relief for a sore back, or simply de-stress. We’ll walk you through the different options for men’s massages, and why you should consider adding them to your wellness routine.
The Benefits of Massages For Men
There are so many benefits to massage therapy for men, both physically and mentally. It can help with an old sports injury, tend to a tight neck, or lessen the stress of a hard week at work. Because of this range of benefits, massages for men can be such a crucial part of an overall self-care practice.
Generally, you’ll get the following physical and mental benefits from a massage session:
- Less muscle tension. From intense workouts to hunching over a desk all day, muscles can become tight over time. Massage can help to decrease muscle stiffness, getting them back to their natural, untense state.
- Improved circulation. When blood flow is limited, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia will start to tense up and cause pain. Massage therapy addresses this by using techniques that increase blood flow.
- Improved flexibility. Studies have found that post-exercise massage can lead to improvements in flexibility. By releasing tension in the muscles, you create more space for them to move, granting you more flexibility.
- Reduced soreness. Additionally, studies show that massage can aid in reducing muscle soreness. If you struggle with long bouts of soreness after the gym, consider adding a sports massage into your post-workout routine.
- Lower stress. Stress commonly appears in our body through physical pain. A relaxing massage not only helps your muscles decompress, but it can help your mind unwind, as well.
- Improved mood. When you’re less stressed and more relaxed, you’re usually in a better mood! And let’s be honest, no one’s in a good mood when they have an aching back or a crick in their neck. A massage that addresses these issues can get you into a happier head space.
- Lessened anxiety. Although a massage may not cure anxiety, it may help to temporarily relieve the symptoms. Studies show that massage therapy can reduce anxiety and lessen depressive symptoms.
The Best Massages for Men
1. Swedish massage
One of the most common types of massage therapy, a Swedish massage uses gliding strokes and circular motions to work through your soft tissues and muscles. It focuses on relaxation and relieving muscle tension.
2. Deep tissue massage
This type of massage therapy is more intense than a Swedish massage, although it uses similar tactics. The massage therapist uses a higher pressure to get into the deeper layers of the muscles and fascia.
3. Sports massage
Although these are especially great for athletes, anyone can benefit from a sports massage. They can stimulate blood flow, aid in muscle recovery, address injuries, and loosen muscles. If you struggle with range of motion or mobility, this may be a good option for you.
4. Trigger point massage
Knots can lead to decreased circulation, cause pain in other areas of the body, and limit range of motion. A trigger point massage focuses on a few spots in particular to relax these extra stiff sections.
5. Percussive massage
Percussive therapy has become more common with handheld devices like Theragun. By rapidly stimulating blood flow to a specific area, percussion therapy massage can be especially useful for athletes to warm up the muscles, deter lactic acid build up, and stimulate recovery.
6. Chair massage
If you need a quick, no-frills solution to relax your neck, shoulders, and upper back, try a chair massage. You’ll sit on a special chair with a face rest while the therapist targets select areas. It can easily be done with clothes completely on, so it’s easy to get in and out of the session.
Although facials aren’t a traditional type of massage, they’re often offered by spas. You can choose a specialty service that focuses on things like hydration, acne, aging, or general relaxation. And, many spa services have specific men’s facials where you can work with your therapist to find a regime that works for you.
What To Expect During a Massage
If you’ve never had a massage before, you might have a few questions about the experience. Here are a few standard things you can expect from any type of massage service.
A big part of massage therapy is helping you to relax. So, you can make a few decisions to make that happen. Choosing a reputable massage service or spa will ensure that you’re in the care of a professional. Then, you’ll likely be able to choose between a male or a female therapist if you have a preference.
When it comes to disrobing, you’ll always have your personal areas covered with a towel or sheet. Depending on the type of massage, you may be more or less clothed. For example, you may be able to keep all your clothes on with a chair massage, but you’ll need to be more bare for a full body table massage.
As for the pressure applied during the massage, you can communicate with your therapist about what feels comfortable. That’s right, you’re allowed to talk during the service! Be open about what feels good, what could feel better, and most importantly, if anything hurts.
Finally, most massages use lotions and oils to enhance the experience. If you have any allergies or concerns about what’s being used, you can ask your therapist about it.
Communicate and be open with your therapist so you can create the best experience possible.
With Soothe, you can recieve an at-home massage session with a licensed professional. You can book a massage in over 70+ different cities throughout the world, planning it weeks in advance or reserving a same-day session. Download the Soothe App to get started!