When you’re stressed and you know your muscles are sore and tense, you want to get a massage to ease the pain and tension in your joints. During a massage, the massage therapist applies gentle or strong pressure (in a practice of rubbing and kneading the body) to your muscles and joints to ease pain. A massage always feels wonderful, but you probably don’t know there are so many types of massages to choose from. Here’s a complete guide to the different massages and learn which type might be best for you.

Swedish massage

If this is your first time getting a massage, we recommend getting a Swedish massage. It’s a gentle full-body massage ideal for individuals with a lot of tension, but also for those who are sensitive to touch. Your massage therapist will use a combination of kneading, long, flowing strokes in the direction of your heart, deep circular motions, passive joint movement techniques, and repetitive vibration and tapping to release any muscle knots. The massage will last about an hour and on average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $60 to $100.

Deep tissue massage

If you want even more pressure than a Swedish massage, the deep tissue massage is the one for you. It relieves tight muscles, chronic muscle pain (including soreness, injury, or imbalance), and anxiety. Your massage therapist will use deep finger pressure and slow, gentle strokes to relieve any tension from the deepest layers of your muscles and connective tissues. This massage might feel more intense at first, but you won’t feel any pain or soreness. Quite the contrary, this massage is intended to ease any pain. The massage will last about an hour and on average, you can expect to spend up to $110.

Shiatsu massage

If you experience frequent headaches, a Shiatsu massage is probably the best option for you. The massage is best for those who want to feel relaxed, but also to relieve any stress, pain, and tension. The Japanese massage reduces muscle tension, promotes emotional and physical relaxation, and relieves headaches. While it works the entire body, your massage therapist will probably only focus on the areas of your body that need the most attention, using their hands, palms, and thumbs to add pulsing, rhythmic pressure. The Shiatsu massage will last about an hour and on average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $60 to $120.

Aromatherapy massage

If you love essential oils, you need to try this massage. Aromatherapy massages work best for individuals suffering from emotional pain. This massage boosts your mood, reduces stress and anxiety, reduces depression symptoms, and relieves muscle tension and pain. The massage uses essential oils, combined with soft, gentle pressure. You can trust your massage therapist to decide which essential oils to use for your specific needs, and they dilute the oils before applying them to your skin.

During the massage, you will receive a full-body massage while you inhale the essential oils through a diffuser. The essential oils are absorbed into your skin. The aromatherapy massage will last about an hour and you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $100.

Hot stone massage

Some people experience more muscle pain and tension than others. If this applies to you, then you need to try a hot stone massage. It might sound painful, but it’s perfectly healthy and safe. Similar to a Swedish massage, your massage therapist will use heated stones instead of their hands. They apply the heated stones to different areas of your body. The massage will ease muscle tension, improve blood flow, promote relaxation, relieve stress, and alleviate pain. It usually lasts about 90 minutes and you can generally expect to spend between $85 to $150.

HydroMassage Bed

Sometimes, you want to get a massage, but you don’t want to visit a massage therapist. If this describes you, there’s the perfect solution: a HydroMassage bed. The device gives you a full-body massage using pressurized water. But don’t worry; you stay dry during the massage. All you have to do is lie down on the bed, wearing whatever clothing you prefer, and relax as you feel the water pressure massage all sides of your body.

The HydroMassage bed works as a sports massage used either before or after a workout. You can rest on it before you head to the gym to warm up your muscles or after you finish your work out. The massage loosens your muscles, relieves any tension, and eases the knots in your muscles. The beds are becoming more popular in chiropractic offices, spas, and fitness centers. You can start massaging without a therapist at a local center today.

Schedule your appointment

If you have never received a massage before, go ahead and schedule your first appointment. You won’t know if you like it unless you try it. But how often should you receive a massage? It varies depending on your situation. If you suffer from insomnia, it’s best to be massaged once a week. If you sit at an office desk for more than 40 hours a week, get a massage biweekly or once a month. Visit a massage therapist weekly if you’re recovering from an injury, suffer from chronic pain, or if you’re under major stress.

But it’s okay if you’re worried about your first appointment. If you’re not using a HydroMassage bed, you need to make sure your massage therapist is legitimate. If they refer to themselves as massage therapists, practitioners, or therapists, they’re legit. If they wear scrubs, business casual attire, or active wear, they’re legitimate massage therapists. Finally, review their credentials. Do they have a license? Professional therapists will display their license in their office. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask before scheduling an appointment. You should always trust the person who is touching your body. You’re supposed to enjoy your massage, so have fun and be safe.