For many people the word ''massage'' conjures up images of indulgent luxury and fancy spas. While not wholly inaccurate, massage is far from just an expensive indulgence. It offers myriad health benefits, and has been shown to help a number of conditions, from depression to ADHD. For certain conditions, you may even be able to get treatments at least partially covered by insurance. If you are interested in reaping the health effects of massage, you should know there are actually many different techniques, each offering specific benefits. Here is an overview of some of the most common types of massages and what they can do for the body.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage, which is probably the most common technique employed in your average massage, is a combination of many different techniques such as rolling, kneading, and light, rhythmic strokes. The goals are many, from relieving stress and tension to improving blood flow.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is more therapeutic in nature; while your average Swedish massage manipulates the skin and underlying soft tissue, this form goes deep into the muscles and also the fascia-- the connective tissue that runs through the body. This type of massage is meant to address pain and restricted movement that may come from injury or certain health conditions. While anyone is a candidate, this may not be the type of massage to opt for if pure relaxation is your aim. The actual massage may be a bit ''rough'' at times, and you may experience soreness and tenderness the next day.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu, which translates to ''finger pressure'' aims to enhance the flow of the life force, and clear energy blocks, by applying pressure to specific points in the body. It also involves rotating and stretching the joints. Traditional practitioners believe Shiatsu stimulates circulation, blood flow and lymphatic flow, and enhance the body's resistance to disease. It may be beneficial for addressing specific health problems, such as headache, back pain, asthma, stiffness, chronic pain and digestive problems.

Thai Massage

Thai massage is typically a combination of applying pressure to specific points on the body and yoga-like stretching. Practitioners believe this type of massage restores balance to energy points in the body, and loosens blocks that cause illness and discomfort. If improving overall well-being and enhancing flexibility is your aim, Thai massage may be a good choice. As a big fan of massages myself, I must say this is one of my favorite-a bit uncomfortable at times, but you will leave feeling like a million bucks.

Trigger Point Massage

Trigger point massage aims to flush out toxins and release endorphins-those feel good chemicals-by applying pressure to the waste-accumulating tight and knobby tissue known as ''trigger points.'' This is a popular massage for athletes whose vigorous activities cause all sorts of problems from shin splints to low back stiffness. If you suffer muscle pain and tension as a result of an accident, surgery or health condition, trigger point massage may be beneficial.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about natural ways to improve health, and is a huge advocate of massage based on the benefits she has reaped from the practice in her own life; if you are looking for massage services in the Gilbert or Chandler sections of Arizona, she recommends visiting Vimtrim for more information.