Asian massage has gained popularity worldwide for its unique approach to relaxation and holistic well-being. But what exactly is an Asian massage?
Beyond the soothing ambiance and skilled therapists, this massage encompasses a rich tapestry of techniques rooted in ancient traditions from various Asian cultures.
Read on to find out what happens during an Asian massage and whether it’s the right type of massage for you.
Types of Asian Massage
As we all know, Asian cultures differ considerably, and this goes for Asian massage as well. All Asian massage employs the general idea of using ancient techniques, and it comes with similar benefits of pain and stress relief.
There are, however, many different types of Asian massage, and they all originate from different countries and employ different techniques to achieve these benefits. These are:
- Shiatsu massage
- Thai massage
- Tuina massage
- Chi Nei Tsang massage
- Foot massage (Reflexology)
- Ayurvedic massage
- Indian Head massage
- Cupping massage
- Javanese massage
- Oriental massage
- Wand massage
- Nuru massage
Shiatsu massage originates in Japan and differs from other massage types in several ways.
First, the client is clothed during the process. Second, the massage focuses on several critical points on the client’s body. Firm pressure is applied to these points, usually with fingers, but the therapist may occasionally use palms, elbows, or even their feet.
The aforementioned firm pressure on select points using fingers gets us the name — shiatsu — which means finger pressure.
Shiatsu massage has the same benefits as other massage types in that it helps with pain, stress, and anxiety. Also, it is perfect for improving circulation or relieving localized pain.
Thai massage can also be performed on a clothed client, usually on a mat instead of a table.
The massage therapist stretches the client’s limbs and applies firm pressure to places where muscle knots often appear. This helps with mobility, posture, pain, headaches, and stress.
Frequent Thai massage has also been linked to improved function in stroke patients.
Overall, this type of massage is best suited for those struggling with reduced mobility and joint stiffness.
Tuina massage originates in Ancient China. Also known as Yin-Yang massage, it is known for using both firm and long strokes, as seen in deep tissue massage, and lighter, localized pressure, as seen in shiatsu massage.
This is done due to the associated belief that to achieve peace and ease pain, a balance between both types of touch and therapy must be achieved.
Eight basic techniques are used during a tuina massage. These are:
- palpating (mo)
- rejoining (jie)
- opposing (duan)
- lifting (ti)
- pressing (an)
- kneading (mo)
- pushing (tui)
- holding (na)
Through these techniques, tuina massage helps ease pain, promote circulation and relaxation, and improve general mood and quality of life.
Tuina massage is an excellent option for most people. Still, it is particularly well-suited for those struggling with repetitive strain injuries or those experiencing discomfort or pain due to underlying conditions.
Chi Nei Tsang Massage
Another massage type originating in Ancient China, Chi Nei Tsang, focuses on the abdomen and the internal organs contained within it.
By applying pressure to the abdominal area, the massage therapist can promote blood flow and digestion and stimulate better function of internal organs.
As such, it can also help liver and kidney function. It’s also said to help release emotional blockages and improve overall quality of life.
Chi Nei Tsang is another type of massage that will benefit most people. Those with indigestion or abdominal issues will see more pronounced benefits.
Foot Massage (Reflexology)
Despite how it may seem, a reflexology massage isn’t your run-of-the-mill foot massage.
While general foot massage only focuses on relieving pain and tension in the feet, reflexology, originating in China in its modern form, focuses on the rest of the body through key points in the sole.
Reflexology is based on the idea that the rest of the body will see particular benefits through massaging specific points on the feet. On top of this, it also alleviates stress and anxiety.
Reflexology has various benefits, but it’s particularly effective for those suffering from stress, anxiety, back pain, constipation, or sinus issues. It’s also been linked to improved quality of life for multiple sclerosis patients.
Ayurvedic massage uses oils and herbs that, when absorbed through the skin, are believed to cause positive changes in the body and mind functions.
As the massage simply distributes the oils and herbs, no firm pressure is usually applied, and no kneading is done. Instead, the skin is stretched and pulled while the oils and herbs are applied.
The benefits of Ayurvedic massage entirely depend on which oils and herbs are used. Still, the experience and atmosphere as a whole can alleviate stress and anxiety.
Ayurvedic massage is an excellent option for those looking to relax. Still, it is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women and very young children. The oils and herbs may also interfere with some other topical medicines.
Indian Head Massage
Indian head massage focuses on the head, neck, and shoulder areas. Firm pressure and light touch are used in tandem to promote blood flow, break apart muscle knots, and alleviate stress, anxiety, and headaches.
Additionally, Indian head massage is known to improve sinus function and is said to stimulate hair growth.
An Indian head massage is a fantastic option if you’re experiencing headaches or stiffness of the shoulders and neck. It’s also one of the few massage types you can perform on yourself, so it’s always worth trying.
Cupping massage is performed by applying heated cups to the back area. It’s believed that various benefits can be achieved by applying these cups to critical points.
Cupping massage is known to improve circulation and has been shown to help with acne and herpes.
It’s important to note that this massage type can cause localized short-term discomfort and pain and often leaves burn marks or bruises where the cups are applied.
As such, taking care of the area after receiving a cupping massage is essential to avoid infection. Most massage parlors will apply an antibiotic ointment for this reason.
If you experience back acne or want to experiment with pain management, cupping massage is a good option. With that being said, most people would benefit more from conventional massage types, such as deep tissue or full body massage.
The Traditional Javanese massage originates in Indonesia and is similar to a deep tissue massage. What sets this one apart is its focus on using the entire hand and wrist to apply pressure.
This massage technique stems from the idea that the body accumulates airs and winds and that these can be expelled through firm and deep pressure using the entire hand and wrist.
Effectively identical to the deep tissue massage, it shares the same benefits. It’s excellent at breaking apart muscle knots and alleviating chronic pain, stress, and anxiety. It also promotes circulation and proper posture.
Due to its similarities with deep tissue massage, most people will benefit from a Javanese massage. In particular, anyone seeking relief from chronic pain or stiffness will see short-term and long-term improvements in their quality of life.
Oriental massage features parts of all previously listed Asian massage types and some non-massage treatments, such as acupuncture. It can include any and all elements, usually letting the client pick and choose what works best for them.
This massage can have various benefits depending on which treatments are performed. As such, it can be customized to work for most people.
Oriental massage is a great option if you can’t decide on a single massage type or want to try as many different treatments on a vacation or parlor visit.
Japanese Wand massage uses a massage wand to relieve tension and muscle knots through vibration. This helps avoid potentially painful pressure while seeing many of the same benefits.
As the show’s main star is the wand itself, you can give this massage to yourself or others at home without much training. Since the wand is relatively cheap, this massage is an excellent and affordable option for many.
Still, a wand is no replacement for a complete massage at a spa or parlor, as stubborn muscle knots or chronic pain relief are best left to professionals.
Nuru massage originates from Japan. A Nuru massage involves the client and therapist fully naked and covered in slippery Nuru oil. The therapist uses their entire body to apply pressure and massage the client.
It’s an erotic massage and usually ends with a happy ending. As such, while it holds many of the same benefits of a regular massage, it also helps relieve sexual tension and stress through intimate touch and orgasm.
People of all genders and sexual orientations will benefit from a Nuru massage, as while it is pleasurable, the sensual experience also has a positive chemical impact on the body through the release of oxytocin and dopamine.
Most people will enjoy a Nuru massage. Still, those looking to get rid of deep muscle knots or relieve chronic pain will benefit more from other types of Asian or deep tissue massage.
There are many types of Asian massage, and keeping up with the terminology can feel like a chore. Armed with our list and descriptions, you’re ready to dive deep into that exotic world and choose the right option for you.
If you’re interested in getting an Asian massage, you can book one with us at AsianMassage2Hotel and receive one from the best luxury Asian massage therapists in Vegas. You can also book a couples massage if you’d rather get a massage with a partner.