Top 10 Types of Massage Therapy – Tried them All?

By Jessica Fuller / June 30, 2015
Top 10 Types of Massage Therapy

In this article, I am going to cover the top 10 types of massage therapy commonly offered worldwide today.

It covers a wide of different massage types. Everyone will find something suitable for themselves. Whether you’re new to massage or looking for something different.

There are the more traditional Western massage techniques, like Deep Tissue or Swedish Massage. Along with Eastern techniques, like Thai Massage and Shiatsu.

For all you folks new to massage. Is there a reason you haven’t had a massage yet? Is it the cost, finding somewhere near you, not being sure what to expect, feeling a little embarrassed?

Here is what to expect from your first massage if it’s the uncertainty holding you back. But take it from me, one massage and there is no looking back.

There are various types of massage explained throughout this article. I’m sure you’ll find something that sounds like heaven to you and make you pick up the phone.

Top 10 Types of Massage Therapy

Swedish Massage

Possibly the most widely practised form of massage therapy and well-known is the Swedish Massage. It’s the typical type of massage offered in health spas worldwide.

There are 5 basic strokes to Swedish massage, these are:

Effleurage – A long, relaxing stroke gliding across the body.

Petrissage –  A kneading type of stroke.

Tapotement – A tapping or percussion type of technique.

Friction – A rapid stroke used to produce heat.

Vibration – Jostling and vibration motions.

Swedish massage is great at relieving tension buildup in muscles. It increases blood flow and circulation and can dissolve scar tissue, especially with the aid of specific essential oils.

It’s also a wonderfully relaxing massage. Often casually used by people as a form of stress relieving relaxation.

Deep Tissue Massage

There are a number of different massage techniques that come under the deep tissue massage banner.

These techniques are often used to target specific pain and inflammation problems. To rehabilitate injuries, sporting aches and pains, and deal with other physical problems.

There is a misconception that deep tissue massage is always painful. This is not the case at all, it can be quite soothing. Especially when used in conjunction with other techniques.

Just be sure to communicate with your therapist what you want from the massage and how much pain you can tolerate.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger Point Therapy is great for finding and targeting painful issues between a person’s muscle and connective tissue.

These areas can be particularly painful. They can also cause other parts of the body to hurt. So targeting them with trigger point therapy is a good solution.

This process will usually involve pressure being applied to the trigger points. Then the painful tissue will be massaged and softened, it’s particularly helpful with conditions like tennis elbow.

Sports massage is also a very similar technique. Often being part of a combination of the two types.

Sports Massage

As the name suggests, Sports Massage is commonly used before, during and after sorting events.

Professional athletes put their bodies through extreme stress. Injuries, aches and pains are a common occurrence.

Athletes report being able to perform at a higher level with regular massage. They see gains in recovery time, flexibility, range of motion, and muscle balance.

Sports massage can incorporate several other types of massage to suit the requirements of the athlete.

Prenatal and Pregnancy Massage

Prenatal Massage, also known as Pregnancy Massage, does a lot to help a pregnant woman feel more comfortable.

Women who receive regular massage during their pregnancy experience a smoother delivery. Some women also experience a shorter labor times.

Postpartum Massage, also known as Postnatal Massage helps new mothers to stabilize their bodies after birth. Infant massage also helps newborns and mothers to build a strong bond.

Expecting mothers should always seek healthcare advice from their doctors before undergoing massage therapy.

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage brings together massage, and aromatherapy. Essential oils are used either directly on the skin, or diffused into the air.

Aromatherapy is very effective at relieving built up tension, soothing aches and pains, and reducing inflammation.

It can also have an affect on many other aspects of wellbeing. Such as mood, stomach cramps, indigestion problems, and relieve sinus issues.

Hot Stone Massage Therapy

Hot Stone Massage Therapy is incredibly relaxing. Hot basalt stones are massaged over the person’s body with warm oil.

It works wonders for people suffering with insomnia among other conditions. As well as enabling the therapist to work deeper into the soft tissues as the heat therapy penetrates deeper.

The heat helps release tensions, loosen painful knots, and soften tight muscles. A truly relaxing experience I recommend anyone to try at least once.

Foot Reflexology

Foot Reflexology is a massage therapy that uses the theory of certain areas on the feet have connections to other parts of the body.

Having feet rubbed can be very refreshing and helpful for some, and with the knowledge of the body’s energy pathways, it’s surprising what health issues a skilled therapist can help with.

Clients typically lie back on a table or in a chair and all you need to remove are your socks. So it’s a quicker form of therapy that can be performed quickly.

Reflexology can also be performed on the hands and ears, not just the feet.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu comes under the general practice of acupressure. Developed in Japan, and now widely practiced worldwide.

Pressure is applied to certain points over the body. As well as stretching and other forms of manipulation. All with the end goal of restoring the body’s natural balance.

You need to focus on your breathing while undergoing this therapy too. It’s kind of like a guided meditation with physical elements, very relaxing.

Thai Massage

With roots going back further than 2,500 years. Thai Massage is a traditional form of hands-on massage.

It’s a combination of gentle compressions, focusing on following the energy flows known as ‘sen’. Incorporating some yoga style stretching.

It’s a relaxing massage, with corrections being made to posture, pains, muscle tension, and overall wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. The top 10 types of massage therapy that are all easily available and ready for you to hop on the table and enjoy.

I can’t urge enough how important it is to make time to look after your mind and body. We all live busy lives, but just 30-minutes a week, or every other week can make a world of difference to how you feel.

About the author

Jessica Fuller

I started studying and experimenting with alternative medicine, different massage techniques, and alternative therapies after graduating. I also love travelling and writing, so I found a way to combine all my loves - blogging!