In this guide, we take a look at the basics of the spa massage. We also offer some advice to help you choose the right type of massage for you.
What is a massage?
A massage is a spa treatment that usually involves a trained therapist placing their hands directly on your body and using varying techniques to work into the skin, muscles, tendons and other connective tissue. Depending on the type of massage you choose, the pressure the therapist uses will range from light to strong. Some massages will incorporate oils to enhance the experience and promote wellbeing.
What is massage good for?
Different massages are good for different things. Some types of massage focus on specific parts of the body, for example the back, neck and shoulders massage or the Indian head massage. Other types of massage are designed to promote relaxation, such as the Swedish massage. There are also massages that are more about working on specific issues, such as the sports massage. Finally, there are specialist and alternative massages, such as the pregnancy massage and hot stone massage.
Before you go for a massage: How to prepare
We have plenty of information on our site about what to expect before, during and after your massage. Essentially, you should be on time (or early if you want to enjoy the spa’s facilities ahead of your treatment). Also, let the spa know ahead of time if you have any special circumstances, for example if you are pregnant or have mobility issues.
For more (including an answer to that all-important question about whether you need to be naked!), take a look at our guide to what to wear and take to a spa. You might also like our complete guide to spa etiquette.
Precautions you must take
Not all treatments are suitable for all guests, so it is important to check with the spa or your doctor to avoid disappointment. Issues that may affect whether you can enjoy a massage include if you:
- Are pregnant (especially in your first or last trimester)
- Have had recent surgery
- Have had recent (or are having ongoing) treatment for cancer
- Have certain skin conditions
Which massage is right for you? Light to medium massage pressure
We recommend these more gentle, relaxing, pampering types of massage:
Swedish massage (similar to aromatherapy massage minus the essential oils)
Back, neck and shoulders massage
Manual lymphatic drainage
Which massage is right for you? Medium to strong pressure
Try these more stimulating massages for easing muscular aches and pains:
Deep-tissue massage (similar to a sports massage)
Hot stone massage
Getting the most from your massage
Once you’ve booked your massage and you’re in the treatment room, there’s no point lying there gritting your teeth if your massage feels too hard or too soft. A good spa therapist will ask you if the pressure is ok for you and she/he should adapt the pressure accordingly. Therapists are not telepathic, so don’t hesitate to politely let yours know what you like and what you don’t. After all, you’re the one paying for the treatment –this is your time – so don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Having trouble choosing a massage?
Whether you like light to medium massage pressure or would rather have your head, feet or arms massaged than your back, SpaSeekers understands that one person’s idea of massage heaven is another’s hell! Our job is to help you find the massage that’s right for you, or whoever you’re booking a spa treat for – be that for mum, your best friend or partner.
Massages are by far the most commonly booked treatments in UK spas. As long as there’s stress in our lives, we’ll always have aches and pains. But if you find the sheer choice of massages now available gives you a headache too, SpaSeekers can help.
With decades of experience recommending spas, spa packages and spa treatments to our customers, we’re certainly able to help you find the right massage. Whether you want to escape on a pampering spa day, a weekend spa break with the girls or whether you need help choosing the right spa gift voucher for a loved one, we've got all you need to know when it comes to choosing massages.
Return to SpaSeekers’ Spa Treatments Guide