Hands on healing: Massage is good for you - and feels good, too.

Why You Should Add Massage to Your Health Regimen

Some people may think of getting a massage as an indulgent luxury, something reserved for vacation or a special treat.

But a good massage offers much more than just relaxation. Studies show massage has numerous health benefits, including improving circulation and boosting immunity. Massages can relieve back pain, headaches, and arthritis, and improve sleep. And of course massages are a great way to ease stress and combat anxiety, too.

Consider adding regular massages to your self-care routine. To make massages more affordable, look for discounts on Groupon and other websites, or purchase multiple appointments at once for a package discount.

Massage schools often offer inexpensive appointments with masseuses getting their training hours. Here is a guide to the most popular forms of massage.

Swedish: One of the best known types of massage, the Swedish style uses long gliding strokes and gentle kneading, great for relieving muscle stiffness.

Sports: This technique was developed to aid athletes in training and to treat sports injuries. A skilled massage therapist can hone in on problem spots.

Aromatherapy: To enhance relaxation, aromatherapy massage features essential oils such as calming lavender and chamomile, uplifting clary sage, or energizing rosemary.

Pressure Point: This type of massage is directed at relieving pressure on specific points and easing knots of tight tissue. Specific types include reflexology, acupressure, and myofascial trigger massage.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.