Most women love a good massage after a very stressful day, but not all massages are the same. According to a feature on ScienceDaily.com, different kinds of strokes have different purposes.

Licensed Massage Therapist Arnold Kelly from the Outpatient Physical Therapy clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Spain's Rehabilitation Center explains that although most massages almost immediately loosen up muscles, ease breathing, and improve blood flow, it's still best to be able to get the right kind of therapy for whatever condition you may have.

He explains that there there are four major types of massage: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular, and Trigger Point. "Swedish is for those who are interested in just relieving stress. If there are deeper aches and pains, deep tissue can help take care of it." On the other hand, Neuromuscular therapy works with your soft tissues and your central nervous system, while Trigger Point therapy works on trigger points, or on the "tight areas within the muscle tissue that cause pain in other parts of the body."

Going for a regular massage session may "increase a person's range of motion, strengthen the immune system and provide an improved sense of well-being," but it's also good to remember not to overdo it. If you're looking for just an hour or two to relax, one trip a month to your therapist or masseuse is enough. If you're experiencing chronic muscle pain, going to an expert once a week to once a day may help depending on what is recommended.

(Photo by Sirichai Tichakorn via sxc.hu)

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