Combination massage is a new approach in massage therapy formed by adding all the traditional approaches to multiply the benefits of a massage session by many folds.
It is a customizable therapy approach that covers a wide spectrum of physical and mental health problems. Recently it has gained a lot of popularity because of its use by many athletes to fulfill their unique needs.
Some massage techniques focus on muscle relaxation, while others aim at muscle stimulation. The rhythmic strokes of Swedish massage combined with the deep strokes of deep tissue massage give a full-pack benefit.
Similarly, the pressure point techniques in reflexology can be coupled with the energy balancing of traditional Shiatsu for a holistic approach.
The therapist realized that although each massage technique is beneficial alone, the effects they provide when applied in combination are more wholesome.
This is how combination massage evolved by combining the techniques from different types of traditional massages that not only focus on a single aspect of the client’s needs but heals the body as a whole aiming at holism.
Therapists over many years of practice and observation created combination massage that we will discuss in detail.
What is a Combination Massage?
As clear from the name, Combination Massage is the combination of various massage techniques merged into a single session.
With combination massage, a therapist can focus on a wide range of physical stressors and customize each session according to a client’s needs. Some basic traditional massage techniques are combined in combination massage sessions include,
In Swedish massage, long kneading strokes are applied along with rhythmic tapping and movement of the joints.
Deep Tissue Massage
In Deep Tissue massage, slow and direct strokes are applied to the deeper-tensed muscles to release the tension and pain symptoms.
The Shiatsu technique has a Japanese origin and it involves applying direct pressure to different parts of the body using the hands, thumbs, feet, or other body parts rhythmically to balance the energy flow.
The reflexology technique involves applying pressure to specific points on your hands, feet, and ears to stimulate your body’s healing mechanisms.
These are some of the commonly incorporated techniques in a combination massage but the choice is not limited and a therapist can best decide which approach to add according to the client’s needs.
How To Do Combination Massage?
A combination massage is not just the application of mixed messages randomly and expecting the body to respond in healing.
It is a well-structured process that is done in a step-by-step manner to optimum relaxation, tension release, pain relief, and energy flow in your body.
Step 1: Consultation
Since every individual is presented with specific needs, a consultation with a therapist makes it easy to decide which techniques are required to deal with a person’s specific needs.
During a consultation, your therapist inquires about,
- Your medical history and general health status
- Your lifestyle including any addictions and food choices
- Stress level
- Location of painful muscles or joints
- Your expectations and preferences from the massage therapy
After all these questions and answers your therapist decides which techniques you need in your combination massage sessions and for how long each technique should be applied based on your needs.
Step 2: Warm Up with a Swedish Massage
After the consultation, your session begins with the effleurage technique from the Swedish massage to warm up your body for other intense techniques.
The Swedish massage relaxes your body and prepares your muscles for deep-tissue massage and makes you familiar with the touch.
In this step, the therapist applies long, gliding strokes for 5 to 10 minutes to spread the massage oil and soften the muscle tissues.
Step 3: Progression with Deep Tissue Massage
Once your superficial muscles and your body, in general, are relaxed, the therapist progresses the session with deep tissue techniques including petrissage and friction massage for specific areas where you feel pain or tension.
The therapist applies kneading strokes for 5 to 10 minutes to each muscle group depending on the amount of tension buildup in each muscle group.
Step 4: Perform Shiatsu and Reflexology
Based on the information provided during the initial consultation, the therapist might incorporate shiatsu or Reflexology techniques in your session.
If you are someone with excessive stress the Shiatsu is the best technique to balance the energy flow in your body.
For someone who feels exhausted and has problems with blood flow and muscle relaxation in the legs and feet, reflexology is the best option.
Your therapist will apply each of these techniques for 5 to 10 minutes to the body being treated.
Step 5: Cooling Down
The cool down involves applying the effleurage technique, in the end, to relax your body after the intense deep tissue work and other techniques.
Effleurage for 5 minutes at the end of each massage session cools down your body by releasing any leftover tension or pain.
Step 6: Aftercare Advice
After your session ends your therapist will inform you about the points of high tension, stiffness, tenderness, or pain in your body and will advise you to perform self-stretching at home and work along with other self-care methods.
Note: The duration, number of strokes, and pacific techniques used always vary based on the client’s unique needs. The beauty of a combination massage lies in its versatility and the therapist’s ability to tailor it specifically for you. In general Swedish Massage is always done in the beginning for relaxation and later the therapist applies either deep tissue, Shiatsu, or Reflexology based on the decision made in the initial consultation.
Physiological Effects of Combination Massage
The effects of combination massage on your body are a combination of the effects of each of the techniques used but using in a combination amplifies the benefits even more. Here are the benefits of combination massage.
1. Pain relief
By reducing muscle tension, softening the tender points, and releasing muscle shortness, a session of combination massage significantly reduces your body aches, chronic tension, and deep muscle pains.
2. Stress relief
The relaxation techniques used int eh beginning and end of the session lowers the level of stress hormones in your body. And some researchers also suggest that effleurage promotes the production of feel-good hormones that also relieves stress.
3. Helps in healing
The kneading and friction techniques increase the blood flow to the area being treated. When oxygenated blood comes, the process of healing becomes faster.
4. Energy flow
By using the Shiatsu technique your body’s energy flow is established gives you a sense of wellness, rejuvenation, and freshness.
Which Areas of the Body are Massaged in Combination Massage?
The areas that are specifically targeted in combination massage are your body parts that constantly work or remain under tension.
1. Back and Shoulders
People working on a computer or spending most of the time sitting in front of a desk in the office have a buildup of tension in the back and shoulders.
The Swedish massage and Deep Tissue techniques of combination massage are used in the upper back and shoulder region to relax the muscles and relieve tension.
Neck pain due to work or faulty posture is another common condition that can be healed with Shiatsu and deep muscle work in combination with massage.
The neck muscles become tight due to sustained forward head or slouched posture that is stretched during the Shiatsu approach.
3. Arms and Hands
Anyone working with repetitive movements like sewing, typing, or writing can sustain repetitive stress injuries.
Reflexology of the hands activates specific zones that can alleviate the stress built up in the arms and hands due to repetitive activities.
4. Lower Body
Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage techniques are applied commonly in the lower body.
Sports players, athletes, or laborers who stay all day on their feet have tension and strain accumulated in their glutes, thighs, or calves.
The muscle tightness and fatigue in this region can be treated with combination massage.
An important part of combination massage is the reflexology of the foot.
Foot massage does not only relaxes your feet but also heals other structures and organs in your body as your feet have specific areas corresponding to different organs.
Thus it improves general well-being along with relaxation.
Your head and face are the most neglected regions during massage sessions, but they hold a great deal of tension.
Combination massage involves treating the head, scalp, and face with gentle Swedish and Shiatsu techniques for relieving stress and headaches.
Every massage session is customized based on the region of high tension and pain. The regions to include in a session are decided during the consultation and are based on the client’s preferences and expectations.
Frequency of Combination Massage
Many factors are involved when deciding how often should you get a combination massage session. Your general health status, budget, work schedule, and your goals for availing of the massage are some of these factors.
Have a look at the scenarios below to understand the frequency of combination massage you need.
1. Combination Massage for General Wellness and Relaxation
If your general health status is good and you only need combination massage for improving your relaxation and feeling good, then availing of a session once a month is best for you to reduce the stress and maintain a balance in the body.
2. Combination Massage for Chronic Stress and Anxiety
If you are suffering from chronic stress and high level of anxiety then you need combination massage more often. Getting a session after 10 to 14 days can work for people who struggle with managing personal fatigue, stress, and anxiety.
In times of intense feelings of stress, you can even get a combination massage once after 5 to 6 days, as it doesn’t do any harm.
3. Combination Massage for Chronic Pain and Specific Health Issues
Chronic pain from conditions like migraine, fibromyalgia, sciatica, or other physical health problems is difficult to manage with medications alone.
You need a very specific, personalized session for targetted areas which your therapist decides after consultation.
The combination massage therapy in such cases begins with one session per week that might get less frequent as your condition improves.
4. Combination Massage for Athletic Training and Recovery
Athletes need combination massage the most for recovery. During intense training sessions, an athlete might get a session every 2 days, or combination massage sessions can be scheduled with training sessions or after an injury or intense practice day.
5. Contraindications for Combination Massage
Although beneficial for a wide array of conditions, you can not always go for combination massage in specific conditions.
The contraindications for combination massage are the as that for any other massage technique. These are the presence of any skin infection, open wounds, osteoporosis, or cardiovascular problems.
Who Should Perform Combination Massage?
A licensed massage therapist who is trained in various forms of massage and understands the intricacies of all the approaches of a massage performs combination massage.
Cost of Combination Massage
A single session of combination massage can cost somewhere between $60 to $150 depending on the duration of the session, the therapist’s experience, and the location where you are getting the therapy.
Combination massage is a holistic approach using multiple traditional massage techniques. It provides benefits of all the individual massages combined for general wellness.
A therapist can assess your needs and designs a customized session based on your selected goals. I recommend hiring an expert licensed therapist for combination massage to get optimal results.