Massage 101

Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2004

A 30 to 90-minute massage every few weeks before the wedding will help keep your muscles loose, says Wanda Fernandez, a licensed massage therapist in Bel Air, Maryland. Try to schedule a treatment the day before your ceremony; it could be just what you need to alleviate any last-minute jitters. Shorter sessions focus on stress-affected areas, such as the head, neck, back, and shoulders. Longer ones incorporate full-body kneading.

Types of Massage
Incorporates a variety of different hand strokes (like kneading, rubbing, stretching, and pushing) and degrees of pressure, from light to deep, to relax muscles and relieve tension.

A Japanese method that uses finger pressure on specific points on the body, instead of traditional kneading strokes, to balance the flow of energy.

Scented oils and creams are used in conjunction with Swedish massage to create an individualized treatment. Depending on the aromas chosen, the massage can be calming, uplifting, or rejuvenating.

An offshoot of Swedish massage, this therapeutic method involves deep kneading of muscles to loosen chronically tight areas. (It can leave the body sore and drained, so avoid just before the wedding.)

Heated stones in various shapes, sizes, and temperatures are placed on or moved over the body, directing heat onto specific muscles to relax them. Often done in conjunction with Swedish massage. It may leave skin flushed for a few hours.

A massage therapist leads the client in stretches and yoga-like poses, then applies pressure-point techniques to reduce tension and increase flexibility.


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