What are all those massage types?

(article from Healthline.Com)  FB post on Fri 9/8/19

 I thought some of you would find it helpful to see a list outlining the different types of massage. Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. During a massage, a massage therapist will apply gentle or strong pressure to the muscles and joints of the body to ease pain and tension. A massage therapist is a person trained and qualified in giving massages.

1. Swedish massage

Swedish massage is ideal for people who:

  • are new to massage
  • have a lot of tension
  • are sensitive to touch

It can help release muscle knots, and is  a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage.

For this massage, you’ll remove your clothes but keep your underwear on. You will be covered in a towel so regard is given to your privacy though the massage therapist will move the towel to uncover the area they need to work on.  The massage therapist will use a combination of:

  • kneading
  • long, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart
  • deep circular motions
  • vibration and tapping
  • passive joint movement techniques

A full body Swedish massage will usually last for an hour.


  • Choose a Swedish massage for relaxation or managing minor pain.
  • This type of massage is also good for people new to massage.

 2. Hot stone massage

Hot stone massage is best for people who have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax. This type of therapeutic massage is similar to a Swedish massage, only the massage therapist uses heated stones in lieu of or in addition to their hands. It eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and relieves pain by using heated stones. Hot stone massage may help:

  • ease muscle tension
  • improve blood flow
  • alleviate pain
  • promote relaxation
  • relieve stress

 During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone as they massage different parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques using gentle pressure. Sometimes cold stones are also used.  For this massage, you’ll remove your clothes but keep your underwear on. You will be covered in a towel so regard is given to your privacy though the massage therapist will move the towel to uncover the area they need to work.  A full body hot stone massage is usually 60 minutes long.


  • Hot stone massage may relieve more muscle tension than a Swedish massage because of the added heat.
  • This type of massage may be more expensive than a Swedish massage.

 3 Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage combines soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. Your massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference. Essential oils are diluted with base oils before being applied to the skin.   The essential oils are absorbed through the skin into your blood stream hence it is important to consider which oil combinations should be used or indeed whether they shouldn’t be used at the time e.g. if you are pregnant.  A full body aromatherapy massage usually lasts 60 minutes.  Aromatherapy massage can:

  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • reduce symptoms of depression
  • relieve muscle tension
  • relieve pain
  • boost your mood


  • Aromatherapy combines the gentle touches of Swedish massage with the addition of essential oils.
  • Do not use this type of massage if you’re sensitive to smell or essential oils.

 4. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It’s a good option if you have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.  During a deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will use slow strokes and deep finger pressure to relieve tension from the deepest layers of your muscles and connective tissues. A full body deep tissue massage will usually last for 60 minutes.  While deep tissue may be more intense, you shouldn’t feel any pain or soreness.


  • Deep tissue massage is a good option if you have a lot of muscle tension or chronic pain.
  • Avoid this type of massage if you’re overly sensitive to pressure.

5. Sports Massage

Sports massage is a good option if you have a repetitive use injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing a sport. It’s also a good option if you’re prone to injuries because it can be used to help prevent sports injuries. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Additionally, sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.

A sports massage can be done as a full-body massage or the massage therapist may focus on specific parts of the body that need the most attention. Deep pressure may be alternated with soothing strokes depending on your needs.  The full body sports massage will usually last for 60 minutes.


  • Sports massage is a good option if you have an injury from repetitive muscle use.
  • This type of massage may also help improve flexibility and sports performance, and reduce your risk for injury.

 6. Trigger Point Massage

Trigger point massages are best suited for people who have injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points, this type of massage can reduce pain.

Trigger point massage uses broad, flowing strokes that are gentle and relaxing combined with stronger, deeper pressure. The massage includes work on your entire body, though your therapist will focus on specific areas of your body that need to be released. You can wear lightweight clothing for the massage or be fully or partially undressed.   This type of massage will usually last for around 60 minutes.


  • Trigger point massage can help you manage chronic pain.
  • Wear lightweight clothing for this type of massage.

 7. Reflexology

Reflexology is ideal for people who are looking to relax or restore their natural energy levels. It’s also a good option if you aren’t comfortable being touched on your entire body. Reflexology uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points of the feet, hands, and ears. For this massage you can wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows access to your legs.  A reflexology massage usually lasts for 30–60 minutes.


  • Reflexology focuses on pressure points in your feet, hands, and ears.
  • This is a good option if you’re uncomfortable being touched over your entire body. You can also be fully clothed during this type of massage.

 8. Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage is a Japanese type of massage that relieves stress, tension and pain.  Shiatsu:-

  • promotes emotional and physical calm and relaxation
  • helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
  • may relieve headache
  • reduces muscle tension

 Shiatsu massage works the whole body, but your therapist may focus on areas of your body that need extra attention. During the massage, your therapist will use their hands, palms, and thumbs to massage certain points of your body. Pulsing or rhythmic pressure is used. You can be fully clothed during this massage. Shiatsu massages typically last for 60–90 minutes.


  • Shiatsu is a good option if you’re looking for a relaxing massage. It may also help release minor tension.
  • You can be fully clothed during this type of massage.

 9. Thai Massage

Thai massage is ideal for those who want a more active form of massage and want to reduce and relieve pain and stress. It can also help improve:

  • flexibility
  • circulation
  • energy levels

Thai massage works the entire body using a sequence of movements that are similar to yogic stretching. Your therapist will use their palms and fingers to apply firm pressure to your body. You’ll also be stretched and twisted into various positions. You can wear loose, comfortable clothing during the massage. Thai massage normally lasts for 60–90 minutes.


  • Thai massage is more active than other forms of massage, and the therapist will stretch your body in addition to providing a massage.
  • This is another type of massage where you remain fully clothed.

10. Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage can be a safe way for women to get a massage during pregnancy. It can help reduce pregnancy body aches, reduce stress, and ease muscle tension. Many therapists do not offer massage to women in their first trimester of pregnancy due to the risk of miscarriage during this time.

 Prenatal massage uses mild pressure similar to Swedish massage. The therapist will focus on areas such as your lower back, hips, and legs. During the massage, you’ll either lie on your side or on a specially designed table with a cutout for your belly. If you’ve had pain in your calves or other parts of your leg, see a doctor to clarify you are safe to have a massage.  The massage will last for between 45–60 minutes.


  • Prenatal massage is a good option for pregnant women.
  • This type of massage focuses on gentle pressure and is good for relaxation and mild tension relief.

 11. Couple’s Massage

A couple’s massage is one you do with your partner, friend, or family member receiving a massage at the same time in the same room. You can choose which type of massage you’d like to receive, indeed you and your partner can each get a different type of massage depending on your preference. Your partner and you will be on tables side-by-side, and you’ll each have your own massage therapist working on your body.


  • A couple’s massage is a massage you have in a shared room with a friend, partner, or family member.
  • You can usually choose from a variety of types of massages to have during your appointment. Swedish and hot stone massages are commonly offered as an option during a couple’s massage.

 12. Indian Head Massage

This massage focuses on your upper back, neck, shoulders, upper arm, head and face. Indian Head Massage helps to relieve stress and promote relaxation and the therapist uses light to medium pressure.  During this massage you can remain fully clothed and sit in a chair or you can enjoy the treatment whilst lying on the massage couch(with the upper half of the body being unclothed, although you will be asked to wear a full size towel) whilst in a lying position.  An Indian Head Massage usually lasts for around 45 minutes.


  • An Indian Head Massage is a great option if you’re short of time.
  • Or if you’ve not tried a massage before.