Massage therapy has seen an incredible growth in recent years as a treatment for a wide variety of physical and mental health and wellness conditions. While Swedish and deep tissue massage are the most common styles, some places offer lesser-known styles that might seem a bit unusual to those of us who are familiar with the basics. Fire and water massage are two of the more unique types of wellness treatments available around the globe.

Fire Massage

Otherwise known as Chinese fire massage, this is a spa treatment from China that can be a teeth-clenching idea for many people. Although the specifics may vary, Chinese fire massage usually involves placing a cloth soaked in alcohol and a “special elixir” over the face, back, legs, belly or other problem area. The cloth is lit on fire and allowed to burn for up to a minute before the therapist smothers the flames with a wet towel. The wet towel may then be used to massage the heated area.

Fire massage is claimed to:

  • Eliminate wrinkles
  • Relieve joint pain
  • Ease insomnia
  • Aid digestion
  • Curb obesity
  • Cure a cold
  • Improve conditions that are categorized by Chinese Medicine as cold in temperature

It may be effective, but fire massage’s safety and efficacy have yet to be scientifically documented in a peer-reviewed journal.

Water Massage

Water massage is a soothing type of massage that takes place in warm, waist-deep water. Warm water, such as in hot springs or soaking pools, is often associated with relaxation; therefore, adding stretches and massage techniques while incorporating water provides the ultimate relaxation.

A typical water massage session takes place in water that is 92 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit, with both the practitioner and the recipient wearing bathing suits. The practitioner performs a series of gentle rocking movements with one hand while the client is secured with the other. In addition to being rocked, clients are also stretched, bent, and arched. Water massage is thought to:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Promote a deep state of relaxation
  • Increase mobility and flexibility
  • Ease stress
  • Reduce pain
  • Improve sleep
  • Release pent-up emotions