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Strictly speaking massage is any kind of "manipulation" of the body, however in this guide you'll also find other types of treatment that may not exactly fit that but which some people would still describe as massage.  I'm thinking mainly of reiki which doesn't involve manipulation as such but which involves touch and the benefits associated with touch and works on understanding of chakras or energy centres.


Some people would also classify breathing practices learned in meditation as massage, because these kinds of breathing can relax and release tension in the body.


Most people think of massage as one person massaging another, but you can also massage yourself, and use hydrotherapy or even use a massage machine (I tried a lovely foot massager at a conference).


The main classifications for what we normally classify as massage are deep tissue massage and superficial massage - and you can read more about the differences on those pages.


I often think of a nice hug or hand holding as massage too - it can certainly make me feel more relaxed.


Another technique to look at if you enjoy massage is yoga, as some yoga movements can be as effective as massage in manipulating and releasing stressed tissue.  In fact you could do a lot worse than to lie down, hug your knees and roll from side to side, or even better forwards and backwards to give yourself a gentle back rub (check with your doctor first if you have serious back problems!)

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