10 Different Types of Massage TherapyMassage has many benefits. Below is a brief introduction to 10 different types of massage therapy

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is the manipulation of the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues of your body. A trained therapist uses manual techniques such as rubbing, stroking and moving parts of your body in order to remedy a particular problem.

The pressure applied can range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different massage techniques and types all treating different needs and providing various benefits.


10 Different Types of Massage Therapy


1. Swedish Massage

The most commonly used form of massage, Swedish massage is gentle and relaxing.  Long smooth strokes, kneading, circular movements and friction techniques are used on the more superficial layers of muscles and over the body.

Used for: Stress relief, general relaxation, releasing tense or cramped muscles, and improving circulation.


2. Aromatherapy Massage

In Aromatherapy massage, one or more essential oils  are chosen for their specific qualities and matched to alleviate your particular problem, for example; lavender for relaxation and stress-reduction.  Massaged into the skin, the properties of the oils are effective in treating a variety of conditions and the scents diffuse the atmosphere and are inhaled.

Used for: Stress-relief, healing, relaxation, skin conditions and hormone imbalance.


3. Hot Stone Massage

With Hot Stone Massage, smooth heated stones are placed on certain points on your body. Instead of using their hands, the therapist massages your body with the stones. You will feel two conflicting sensations at the same time; the pleasant relaxing smoothness of the stones, and the hot heat from them.

As a result, it is mostly a comforting, relaxing experience but the hot stones make it more invigorating than a Swedish massage.

Used for:  Muscle tension, relaxation, and centering


4. Chair Massage

With Chair Massage, the therapist massages your back, shoulders, neck, arms, or hands while you are sitting facing them in a chair and fully clothed. Different massage techniques are used. Alternatively, motorized massage chairs can be used that produce vibrations which activate your body cells and help re-balance its energy flow.

The chairs generate light or strong vibrations and depending on how much pressure is used, the massage can either be soothing or stimulating.

Used for:  Muscle soreness, upper back and neck pain, and revitalizing the energy centers in the body.

5. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep pressure is applied to specific problem areas of your body. Slow, forceful strokes are used to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue while more gentle massage techniques are used on the remainder of the body.

Used for: Neck and shoulder pain, sports injuries, muscular tension, and muscular-skeletal disorders.


6. Trigger Point Massage

A trigger point (or muscle knot) is a very tender area that is often isolated within a particular muscle group. These tender points may also refer pain to other parts of your body.  Slow strokes and friction techniques are used across the grain of the muscle in the specific problem point in your muscles and connective tissue. This relieves the tense painful fibrous knots and any referred pain in other parts of the body.

Used for: Low back strain, sciatica, headache, migraine, osteoarthritis, tinnitus, temporomandibular joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sports injuries.


7. Shiatsu Massage

In Shiatsu (meaning “finger pressure”) finger or thumb pressure is applied to specific points on the acupuncture meridians (channels of energy flow) in order to release the blocked energy that is causing the physical discomforts and re-balance the energy flow.

Used  for:  Headaches and migraine,, back pain, lack of energy, anxiety, bronchitis, colds, constipation, depression, insomnia, menstrual problems, sciatica, and arthritis

8. Thai Massage

Like shiatsu, the goal of Thai massage is to align the energies of the body.  It is one of the most invigorating types of massages as the therapist rigorously works your entire body, compressing and stretching your joints and also applying pressure on your muscles.

Used for: Stress, improving energy and flexibility, tension headaches, back pain, muscle tension, and overall health and well-being.


9. Sports Massage

Designed specifically for the very physically active, sports massage uses stretching and a combination of techniques similar to Swedish and deep tissue massage.  It concentrates on the areas that are related to your sport.

Used for: Prevention and treatment of injury and to enhance athletic performance.


10. Reflexology

Reflexology focuses primarily on the feet but is more than simple foot massage. It’s based on the theory that there are “reflex” areas on the feet and hands that correspond to particular parts of the body.  By applying pressure to the areas, health is restored to the corresponding parts.

Used for: Stress, tension headaches, digestive disorders, arthritis, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, menstrual disorders, back pain, tired feet, and  overall healing.


The different types of massage therapy have many benefits and can be used to compliment, but not replace, regular medical care.

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