Massage has been practiced as an alternative medicine in India and the Far East for centuries. The popularity of massage is increasing in the United States and many massage therapists study and practice Asian massage methods. Holistic forms of exercise such as yoga and pilates combined with regular massage is a fitness regimen that many people practice. Know the differences in the various types of Asian massage before you choose the best type for your needs.
The focus of Thai massage is the working of various pressure points throughout the body. During the massage you will asked to stretch and breathe at certain times. In most cases, a Thai-inspired massage ends with a traditional ritual meant to inspire relaxation.
Chinese massage, or "tui na," focuses on acupressure to move the client's qi (pronounced "chee") to help in the activation of the body's unique healing mechanisms that are different for every person. Chinese massage is meant to help the mind in addition to the body by healing both at the same time and getting them to work as one.
Japanese massage, or "Shiatsu," is designed to promote and balance energy in the body. You may experience pain at first while the therapist uses his thumbs, palms and fingers to apply pressure to the body but that should subside as you get used to the experience. Convey any pain to the massage therapist so he can tailor the massage to your body. Japanese massage is meant to focus on the circulatory system and nervous system while training muscles to be more flexible.
Indonesian massage finds the therapist using all the parts of the hand with a focus on the knuckles to knead and massage the muscles. Indonesian massage is meant to stimulate the muscles and enhance and awaken the nerves. The goal is to reduce any tension or pain that the client is dealing with. Expect initial pain but keep in mind that healing will occur over time.