By Jenna Nicole Levine Speaking as someone with a high pressure job who drinks too much coffee, stress is an aspect of my daily life that is hard to avoid. Work, social, and financial pressure can translate to increased risk of illness, ulcers, and depression (and people constantly saying my favorite sentence, “Wow you look tired!”) While it is impossible to cut out all the stress in your busy life one of the easiest ways to ease the effects is massage therapy. Stress is the #1 reason Americans go to the spa. Not only does a massage relieve the initial feeling of stress, but it also relieves the most pressing symptoms stress causes, such as stiffness, lack of energy, and insomnia. In addition, a good massage can improve posture, increase circulation, and lower blood pressure. The best part is that with Spa Week right around the corner you now have the ability to get an A+ massage for only $50! If you are a little overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the Spa Week menu, below are a few of the most popular massages available, and the benefits that come with them. 1. Swedish Massage The Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage in the West, and a great introduction to massage for all you newbies out there. During a Swedish massage the therapist uses oils combined with a series of stokes to relieve tension, break up muscles knots, and increase circulation. Before you start your session tell your therapist of any injuries you may have, and what you are looking to achieve from your session. (Try: the 50 Min October Harvest Swedish Massage with Choice of Cinnamon-Ginger Essential Oils or Cranberry Body Butter at The Spa at Boncaldo’s in Quincy, MA) 2. Hot Stone Massage The basic principal of the hot stone massage is simple. The therapist uses smooth heated stones in varying shapes and sizes to loosen your muscles and aid in the flow of energy. This is generally accompanied by a Swedish massage to increase circulation and promote healing. Additionally, the heat from the stones allows the therapists to work more quickly and efficiently because it loosens your muscles for them. It’s a win/win for all. (I, personally, will be getting my Spa Week Hot Stone Massage at Magdalen’s Pure Skincare in Rockville, M.D.) 3. Aromatherapy Massage Aromatherapy massage relies on essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus to either promote healing, breathing, or relaxation. The therapist can tailor their treatment based on the experience you wish to have during your session. Aromatherapy has been shown to relieve the symptoms of asthma and can even assist in the prevention of hair loss. It’s the most relaxing Rogaine on the market. (TRY: 90 Min Body Massage, with Choice Aromatherapy… or Thai Traditional Yoga Massage, Japanese Shiatsu, Thai Deep Tissue, Thai-Oil Combination Therapy or Foot Reflexology at Bahn Sabai Day Spa in Los Angeles, CA) 4. Acupressure Massage Acupressure follows the same principals of acupuncture in which the therapist applies pressure to certain meridian points of the body to relieve pain. The only real difference between these two Ancient Chinese practices is acupuncture uses needles, while acupressure uses the gentle but firm pressure of the hand. (TRY: Both acu-pressure and -puncture with the 60 Min Acupuncture with Cupping and Auricular Acupressure at Cinnabar Acupuncture Clinic & Spa in San Diego, CA) 5. Deep Tissue Massage A deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles and is great for those with persistent pain and a physical lifestyle (if you are a runner or a mom who is constantly holding a 10 pound infant this is for you). Deep tissue is often confused with deep pressure which involves sustained strong pressure throughout the full body, and not to address a specific area. (TRY: 50 Min Customized Massage with Choice of Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Relaxation or Muscle Therapy Techniques and Warm Foot Cleanse at one of the 78 LifeSpa locations participating) Visit Spa Week for a list of the participating spas in your area, and remember Spa Week is the perfect time to get YOUR well deserved massage. On top of your massage why not indulge in a facial, some laser hair removal, or a spray tan. As Michelle always says, make it a spa adventure! This week is designed for you to pamper yourself at a low cost, so take advantage and take care of yourself. Jenna Nicole Levine is a native New Yorker turned Washingtonian. When she isn’t writing about ways to save you cash on your favorite beauty treatments, you can find her living the low cost life. To read more from Jenna Nicole please visit Woman Around Town, Gal Time, or just stop by and say hello on her twitter @Jenna_Nicole.