If you’re new to the world of massage, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by all the different terms, jargon, words, and techniques out there.
To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common massage terms and their definitions.
From Swedish massage to hot stone massage, this guide will provide you with a solid foundation for understanding the various options available.
Whether you’re looking to book a massage for relaxation or are seeking specific therapeutic benefits, this list will help you choose the right massage for your needs.
10 Common Massage Terms You Have Probably Heard About
- Swedish massage: a type of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, and circular movements on the top layers of muscles. It is meant to relax the entire body.
- Deep tissue massage: a type of massage that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It is used to target knots and release chronic muscle tension.
- Shiatsu massage: a type of Japanese massage that uses finger pressure on specific areas of the body. It is meant to improve energy flow and balance in the body.
- Hot stone massage: a type of massage that involves the use of smooth, heated stones that are placed on the body. The heat can be both deeply relaxing and help warm up tight muscles, allowing the therapist to work more deeply.
- Thai massage: a type of massage that involves the therapist using their hands, knees, legs, and feet to move the client into a series of yoga-like stretches. It is meant to increase flexibility and relieve tension.
- Aromatherapy massage: a type of massage that involves the use of essential oils, which are believed to have healing properties. The oils are typically massaged into the skin or inhaled to promote relaxation and well-being.
- Sports massage: a type of massage that is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity. It is meant to help improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
- Trigger point therapy: a type of massage that focuses on the release of trigger points, which are tight areas within muscle tissue that can cause pain in other parts of the body.
- Reflexology: a type of massage that involves the application of pressure to specific points on the feet, hands, or ears, with the belief that these points correspond to different parts of the body. It is meant to promote relaxation and improve overall health.
- Pregnancy massage: a type of massage that is specifically designed for pregnant women. It is meant to help reduce stress, decrease swelling, and alleviate muscle aches and pains. Massage therapists who specialize in pregnancy massage are trained to work with the unique needs of pregnant women.
10 Rare Massage Terms You Might Not Have Heard!
- Watsu: a type of massage that is performed in warm water. It combines elements of shiatsu massage and yoga, and is meant to be deeply relaxing.
- Rolfing: a type of deep tissue massage that is designed to realign the body’s connective tissue and improve posture. It was developed by Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1940s.
- Trager work: a type of massage that involves gentle, rocking movements and passive stretching. It is meant to improve mobility and reduce stress.
- Lomi lomi: a type of Hawaiian massage that involves long, flowing strokes and the use of the therapist’s forearms. It is meant to be deeply relaxing and to promote a sense of well-being.
- Jin shin do: a type of massage that combines acupressure and psychotherapy. It is meant to help balance the body’s energy and improve emotional well-being.
- Myofascial release: a type of massage that focuses on releasing restrictions in the fascia (a type of connective tissue) in order to reduce pain and improve mobility.
- Ortho-bionomy: a type of massage that involves gentle movements and positions designed to help the body release tension and pain.
- Feldenkrais method: a type of massage that involves gentle, mindful movements designed to improve flexibility and coordination.
- Integrative manual therapy: a type of massage that combines various techniques to address the whole person, including physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects.
- Zero balancing: a type of massage that involves the application of gentle pressure to specific points on the body in order to improve the flow of energy.
10 Words and Terms Related to Massage Therapy
- Massage therapist: a person who is trained to give massages.
- Massage table: a table specifically designed for massage, with a padded surface and often a face cradle for the client to lie on.
- Massage oil: a lubricant that is used during massage to reduce friction and increase the therapist’s ability to work the muscles.
- Massage cream: a thicker lubricant that is often used during massage to provide additional hydration to the skin.
- Massage lotion: a lighter lubricant that is often used during massage to provide a more subtle glide.
- Massage stone: a smooth, heated stone that is used during massage to provide heat therapy.
- Massage chair: a chair specifically designed for massage, with a variety of mechanical or manual massage techniques built in.
- Massage wand: a small, handheld device that is used to massage specific areas of the body.
- Massage gun: a small, portable device that uses rapid vibration to massage muscles and promote recovery.
- Massage cushion: a portable cushion with built-in massage elements that can be used for massage on the go.
Image credits – Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.