Travel around the World for 8 Different Massages ...

Need a double dose of relaxation? Few things can combine to achieve that more than a massage when you’re on holiday. If you’re a fan of massage, it’s an exciting adventure to try different forms of massage in their places of origin or where they’re most commonly practiced and perfected. Pack your bags because we’re going to travel around the world and try out some different massages.

1. Sweden

Well, this first one is sort of steering you to the wrong country, since Swedish massages aren’t really from Sweden. In fact, of all the different types of massages this one is usually identified as the “classic” massage in most countries. This type of massage uses a mixture of stroking, rubbing, kneading and even striking. Athletes or those who exercise often get this kind of massage to break down the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. The soreness this buildup often brings is relieved when fresh blood can flow through the muscles.

2. Japan

While Shiatsu massage is known as Japanese, its origins are in China. The Japanese put their own spin on it, and in 1919 a practitioner named Tamai Tempaku standardized it. In Japanese, the word “shiatsu” means finger pressure, and this type of massage involves applying pressure to certain parts of the body. Each practitioner will have his or her own style, and may even include acupuncture and cupping. The practitioner aims to create balance in the body.

3. United States

Mary Nelson of Tucson, Arizona, created LaStone Massage, a hot and cold stone massage technique. While several kinds of stone massages have been used in some form throughout the ages, most have focused on heated stones. She credits her spirit guide with helping her to conceive the idea of hot and cold stone work in 1993. Her goal is to use temperature to get the body to chemically respond in order to be cleansed. Only certified La Stone therapists are trained in her particular technique.

4. East Africa

Originating with the tribes of East Africa, the African Rungu massage uses a throwing baton or stick called a Rungu. This wooden stick holds significance in East African tribal cultures. For the Masaai people, for example, the stick is symbolic of the warrior status of the young males. The massage uses the shaft of the Rungu stick in circular motion for deep muscle massage, and the knobs are used to target certain muscles.

5. Thailand

The Thai or Yoga massage has a long history in Thai oral tradition. Taught from generation to generation without leaving written history means no one is really sure where the Thai massage originated. Some speculate it began with the personal physician to the king of North India around 500 B.C. Both the masseuse and the receiver are involved in the movements, which includes kneading, rubbing and stretching.

6. Laos

It is thought that the Laos massage originates in the same place as the Thai massage, namely in Northern India. Pressure is applied to certain points of the body, and may even include foot reflexology. While you’ll still feel cracking, it’s somewhat softer than the Thai massage. However, after the massage, you’re treated to an herbal steam bath.

7. Turkey

The Ottomans in Turkey were instrumental in the building of baths all around Constantinople, now Istanbul. Some of these traditions, as well as some of the original baths, still exist. Today, you can get a Turkish or Hammam Bath in the same place they’ve been happening for centuries. It’s all very luxurious - you first change into a traditional cotton body wrap, then heat up your body in a sauna with a heated marble platform. Then, your body is scrubbed by an attendant, and finally, you’ll get your massage. A massage may include twisting and pulling of the body and may even include people walking on you back.

8. India

The Ayurveda Head Massage is a tradition going back 5,000 years. Practitioners use particular oils as they knead and stroke all over a person’s head. They may also massage the shoulders, hands, and various other body parts. The oil is warmed and continuously poured on the forehead, often while under a warm blanket.

Where are you going for your next massage?