Body Massage – Overview

Body Massage – Overview

Lai tra / 9 March, 2020

Body Massage

This is an overview that will address the most common questions about body massage. We will go in-depth about, what a body massage is. Next, we will talk about how you can differentiate different styles. Furthermore, what are the benefits that you can expect from a treatment session? Finally, where can you go to get this treatment session in Hanoi?

We recognize that the word “massage” in Vietnam can mean a number of things. Sometimes they are not what we thought initially. This article will clarify what we believe to be a true treatment session will be and how you can best choose what type of massage you want. By the end, we will also talk about the massage benefits that you can have.

What is a body massage?

A massage session is a practice between two people. The massage therapist and the client. The therapist will use different parts of his or her body, most commonly hands, elbows, knees and sometimes foot, to deliver to the client gently to strong pressure rubbing and kneading. This practice focuses on the muscles and joints in the body. Therefore, a massage is meant to ease pain and tension inside the recipient’s body.

This can sometimes mean full bodywork depending on the parlor you choose. However, in some places, it can mean from head to toe. Most massage spas offer this type of service. They start at the scalp massage and end with a relaxing foot massage.

Most often, a session will consist of a neck and shoulder massage. After that, a back massage. Then, the therapist will move down to your arms and legs. Somewhere in between, you will be asked to flip facing up. It is common for some men to ask for pectoral bodywork. Furthermore, it is common practice if you have some problematic areas on your body that you want to give more attention to you can ask the therapist. Knowingly, the service is done by the hour. Hence, focusing on one area will take time away from distributing the treatment throughout the body.

We hope this brief introduction has given you if you have never gotten a massage, a good idea of what you can expect. However, this is only the beginning. According to an article by Healthline, there are as many as 12 types of body massage you can choose from.

Different types of full-body massage treatments.

As mentioned previously, there are 12 types of body therapy. To mention some: Swedish massage, Hot Stone, Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue, Sport, Trigger point, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Thai, Prenatal, Couple’s Massage, and Chair style. We will go through each of these styles and look at them in more detail.

Swedish Massage

For those who are new to massage, sensitive to touch and have a lot of tension, this is the style for you. Swedish massage is a gentle full-body Swedish massage therapy. If you are looking for a relaxing experience while loosening up some muscle knots this is the best choice for you.

Swedish is aimed for relaxing and easing tension, especially in the upper back due to computer work every day. You have a tendency to lift up our shoulders and hunch forwards as you sit at your desk. You are likely to build up a lot of knots and tensions. The good practitioners would also ask you about your work habits, and occupations to understand more about a focus best for you. 

There are 4 techniques that are common in Swedish massage. The first, effleurage. This is a gliding motion using long strokes. Second, petrissage. This consists of squeezing and holding muscles to improve blood circulation and tension-reducing. The next technique is called vibration, which consists more of shaking to loosen up existing muscle tension. Last but not least is a method using friction. This one helps rub the knots very effectively. 

This is one of the services that we offer at Body and Soul Spa.

Hot Stone

The hot stone massage is most suitable for people who have muscle pain and tension. This treatment can be very relaxing. This style of therapeutic massage is very similar to a Swedish massage. The main difference is that hot stones are used in place of the hands. Heat encourages the process of improving blood flow, ease muscle tension, and relieve built-up pain in your body with the use of natural stones. During this treatment, warm heated stones are placed on different areas of your body. The therapist also uses gentle pressure to move the stones around your body. Usually this massage you do not wear clothes and instead be covered by sheets. This service could take up to 90 minutes on average. Due to the added expenses of this treatment, the price will be a bit more expensive than a Swedish massage.

These hot stones are found in mother nature. They are created from a formally molten rock called Basalt. When a volcano sneezes, the lava expelled cools and harden into an iron-rich rock that is born and bred to retain heat. Massage therapists heat up theses stones and use it to rub all over the body using smooth and Swedish style stokes. They can also place the stones in strategic spots to loosen the muscles below. The hot stones send therapeutic relief into the deepest layers of your body tissue. This soothing heat also helps your muscles relax and improve blood flow to the area being massaged.

Additionally, the stones allow therapists to apply firmer pressure than using their hands alone. This means they can dig deeper to untie knots of tangled muscle fibers. Be sure to communicate with your therapist if the stones are too hot or too cold before continuing the treatment.

Aromatherapy massage

An aromatherapy massage is a treatment option of choice for those who are looking for an emotional healing component in their massage. This massage aims to boost your mood, reduce your stress and anxiety levels, reduce symptoms of depression and relieve pains or tension from muscles.

This therapeutic method combines the use of essential oils and soft, gentle pressure on your body. The essential oils will be chosen by the spa or your massage therapist. If you have a personal preference you can also let them know. The essential oils are diluted before being applied to your skin. During the session, your body will receive a full body massage as the essential oils are diffused and absorb through inhalation. Blended oil massage techniques promote relaxation and improve one’s sense of well-being and physical flexibility. Using aromatherapy oils, this massage penetrates deeply into the muscles to release tension with palm pressing and stretching techniques.

Sometimes an aromatherapy massage will focus primarily on your back, neck, and shoulders.

Deep tissue massage

Compare to Swedish massage, you will be in for a surprise with this. If you prefer to have heavier pressure during your massage, this is the one for you. If you experience chronic muscle problems, this is the treatment of a full-body massage that is best for you.  A deep tissue massage can relieve tightness in your muscles, chronic muscle pain, and also anxiety.

You will be naked or in your underwear during this massage. Your therapist will use a combination of slow strokes and deep finger pressure to ease tension at the deepest layers of your body, in your muscles and connective tissues. This full-body massage will last from 60-90 minutes. Although it is known to be more intense, you shouldn’t put up with pain or soreness during or after the fact.

When you get a deep tissue massage, your adhesions and scar tissues are loosened. These conditions occur when you have knots that are built up over time. The therapist will use techniques to flesh out the lactic acids that are stored up in your muscle tissues. You will feel pain but it should be tolerable. It will do wonders for relieving muscle tension and give your nervous system a type of reset.


Reflexology is a therapy treatment that works on the hands and the feet to affect the whole rest of the body. There are points all over the hands and feet that refers to the body. For example, sinus problems are around the toes, digestion would be the middle of the foot, the heart is under the big toe. Some therapist after cleaning your feet starts the treatment by covering your foot with a warm towel and following up with warm lotion. The muscles around your foot will be loosened so that the body can be more receptive during the reflexology treatment.

This is the one massage therapy types that focus on only a few specific parts of your body. A session should consist of a palm and foot massage. There is calcification that the therapist looks for to work on manually to unblock blockages. Next, stagnant fluids built up in the foot are treated to increase energy flow through the whole body. This is a spa service that can heal and help you feel comfortable afterward.

You can certainly ask for a complementary therapy that focuses on foot reflexology. Here the therapist will apply specific reflexology work into your foot. There are many reflex points in the palms of your hands and foot that can promote your overall health and well being.

Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu massage is perfect for spa-goers looking to relieve stress, pain, and tension. This style of massage came from Japan. It was created by the Japanese ancient healing modality to address some of the following problems. Firstly, to promote emotional and physical calmness and relaxation. Second, to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. Thirdly, for some, to reduce headaches. Lastly, it has the benefit of easing muscle tension.

A therapist performing shiatsu massage will work on the client’s full-body. Like other styles, you can also ask the practitioner to focus on areas that are of special need. The therapist will use techniques that involve his/her hands, palms, and thumbs to massage various points on your body. They will also alternate pulsing and rhythmic pressure along with some stretching techniques. During a shiatsu massage that lasts from 60 to 90 minutes, you can be fully clothed.

Thai massage

Thai massage is perhaps one of the most popular styles on our list.  We have written about Thai massage comprehensively before on our blog page. Here is a snippet:

“Also known as Thai Yoga Massage, this therapeutic practice originated in Thailand. In recent decades, it is popularized around the world. Moreover, this massage is a traditional healing system that combines several main practices.

Firstly, Ayurvedic principles from India. Ayurvedic medicine is among the world’s most ancient healing practices. It is a holistic healing system. It began development over 3000 years ago in India. The originators believe that one’s health and wellness depend on the body, mind, and soul.

Secondly, acupressure. This practice has roots in traditional Chinese medicine. Namely, the Chinese believe that an invisible network of energy inside the human body. And, the connection points in this network are called meridians. Consequently, acupressure was devised to work with the life force energy through the manipulation of these pressure points.

Thirdly, it uses assisted yoga postures. During a thái massage session, your therapist will guide you into some basic yoga poses. The purpose of this is to give your body an extra stretch and direct blood flow to the targeted area. This practice has brought many health benefits throughout the years and is continuously spreading across the whole.

What are the benefits of this body healing modality?

The biological benefits of frequent massage are still being studied. We know that in normal individuals, we are able to decrease the level of stress hormones. Secondly, we are able to decrease the production of arginine vasopressin and cortisol. We can show these statistics both in the saliva and the blood. Repeated massages have an additive effect on those who receive one massage a week for 5 weeks compared to those who did not. This information was taken from a study done at Emory University. They look physically different. Longterm weekly massage has a profound effect on the immune system. These effects were additive compared to the one who only has one message.

The study shows that those who had two massages weekly for 5 weeks experienced effects of increased oxytocin. This is a hormone that is associated with feeling good, affiliation and bonding with people. This group experienced a decrease in vasopressin, which is associated with aggressive related hormone and decreasing cortisol.

According to a list compiled by the Urban Nirvana, a full-body massage can bring you a list of 10 benefits:

  1. reduce stress
  2. improve blood circulation
  3. reduce pain
  4. eliminate toxins
  5. improve flexibility
  6. improve sleep
  7. enhance immunity
  8. reduce fatigue
  9. alleviate depression and anxiety
  10. reduce post-surgery and post-injury swelling

Where to go to get one in Hanoi?

There are many famous and popular massage parlors in Hanoi that you may have come across while traveling or living here. However, because there are so many options it is difficult for you to pick. They are varying in price range and qualities. Already when you do a search, primarily only the most touristic spa and massage house show up near the old quarter. As there is more than enough information there we would like to offer you an alternative.

Located in the west lake area of Hanoi, Body and Soul spa offers an array of massage treatments including all the styles mentioned above. Thanks to our unique location, we were able to build a unique spa that focuses fully on the quality of our services to the max. From the decor to the ambiance to each service that is offered, you will have a truly relaxing time with us.

84 Đường Tô Ngọc Vân, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội

We are 20 minutes grab ride away from Hanoi Old Quarter. You have the added benefit of having a casual walk around the west lake, among the local area and the ex-pat community that is built here. Learn more about us. 

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