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Healing powers of massage
The West Australian Massage can be good in many ways

Massage isn't just for a splurge on holiday or when you are in crippling back pain. It is a bona fide ancient therapy that has healing powers in areas you may not think of.

A University of Illinois analysis of 37 massage therapy studies found massage therapy reduced anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate and depression. A course of massage was also found to provide similar benefits to psychotherapy for those suffering from depression or anxiety.

There is a huge variety of massages on offer, from a deep-tissue massage for injury through to a lulling Swedish massage. Here are some to try:

Hot stone

This luxury massage is still wildly popular, and for good reason - it's one of the most relaxing massages you can get. The warm, smooth stones are placed on strategic spots around the body to warm up the muscles quickly. Using the contours of the stones, the body is slowly massaged, usually with oils, and the stones can help knead into muscles quicker and more deeply than normal.

Onyesha Spa, Pinelake, 9306 8335; Skin Deep Medi-Spas, Perth, 9226 2997.

Head massage

Hands up if your favourite part of being at the hairdresser is the head massage at the basin? You're not alone. Instead of a whole-body massage, this is concentrated on your head and neck, and depending on the clinic, also the back, shoulders and face. For an extra-special add-on, look for a clinic or spa that offers Shirodhara, the ancient Ayurvedic treatment whereby warmed oil is poured on to your "third eye".

The Massage Club, Booragoon, 9317 1113; Vanilla Face and Body Spa, Scarborough, 9245 2618. For Shirodhara, The Ayurveda Awareness Centre, Booragoon, 6262 9182.

Remedial

Chronic pain? Play sport regularly? Then this is the massage for you. It involves a combination of all different techniques, including deep-tissue and trigger-point therapy, to heal injuries and other health issues, according to Massage Club co-owner Patrick Ducler Des Rauches. Make sure your therapist is fully qualified for this treatment.

Subiaco Sports Massage Clinic, 9382 3969; the Massage Club, Booragoon, 9317 1113; Massage and Injury Management Clinic, Warwick, 9243 7052.

Relaxation

Also known as a Swedish massage, this is the typical massage most of us imagine. But it doesn't just relax the body. Mr Ducler Des Rauches said the gentle, rhythmic strokes also increased circulation, soothed the nervous system and eliminated toxins. This is perfect for those who are stressed out or just need to feel good for an hour.

Belen, Karrinyup, 9204 2204.