80+ Types of Massage: A Comprehensive Guide

Massage is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries to promote physical and mental well-being. Today, there are more than 80 known types of massage, each with its own unique characteristics. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 25% of men and 21% of women in the U. S.

enjoyed a massage last year, and more than half of them motivated by health and well-being reasons. If you're looking for a way to relax or if you want to experience your first massage treatment, Swedish massage should be at the top of your list. This type of massage is known for its long, gentle strokes that help reduce tension and anxiety. A study conducted by Emory University's Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program investigated the effects of Swedish massage on people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but who were not receiving medical treatment.

The Swedish massage group reported a significant reduction in anxiety scores, and researchers say it may be an effective treatment for the condition.Sports massage is ideal for athletes or anyone with a physically demanding lifestyle. It helps reduce muscle tension, improve flexibility, and increase range of motion. Shiatsu massage dates back to ancient Japan and means “finger pressure”. This type of massage uses pressure points to target specific areas of the body and promote healing.Percussion massage has been dubbed the “new foam roll” by Men's Health.

It uses rapid strokes to stimulate muscles and increase blood flow. Reflexology, also known as “zone therapy”, involves applying different levels of pressure to the hands, feet and ears. If you experience pain and discomfort associated with a medical condition, reflexology may be helpful. Researchers have reviewed 17 studies that analyze the psychological benefits of reflexology and have concluded that it improves mental well-being and helps people manage health conditions in the long term.Thai massage is different from other techniques, since the patient lies on the floor and actively participates.

A study found that Thai massage can reduce levels of the stress marker present in our saliva. It also helps fill the body tissues with oxygen thanks to its yoga-like stretches.Aromatherapy massage uses essential oils from plants to improve mental and physical well-being. One study, involving 58 cancer patients, tracked how participants felt before and after a session. The results showed that aromatherapy massage reduced anxiety levels significantly more than traditional massage alone.Another way to treat trigger points is through ancient Chinese acupressure therapy, a mixture of acupuncture and reflexology.

Another research that followed 340 participants suffering from alopecia revealed that twice-daily scalp massages improved hair loss for 69% of participants.If you're feeling stressed and exhausted, you might want to consider a shiatsu massage. The technique has been scientifically proven to promote emotional and physical calm.As we enter this new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, some public health requirements in public settings are changing. Changes such as no longer having to provide proof of vaccination to eat in a restaurant or no longer having to wear a mask when we go shopping.Massage has been practiced for thousands of years and today you can choose from around 80 massage therapy styles with a wide variety of pressures, movements and techniques. All of them involve pressing, rubbing, or manipulating muscles and other soft tissues with your hands and fingers.

Sometimes forearms, elbows, or feet are even used.

Types of Massage

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is one of the most popular types of massage therapy in North America. It uses long strokes combined with kneading techniques to reduce tension in the body's muscles and promote relaxation.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage but it focuses on deeper layers of muscle tissue and fascia. It uses more intense kneading techniques than Swedish ones.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage is a type of therapeutic massage that uses heated stones placed on specific parts of the body to relax muscles and improve circulation.

Sports Massage

Specifically designed with athletes in mind, sports massage is a variation of Swedish massage that aims to address pain caused by repetitive movements and help active people recover more quickly from stress and injury.

Shiatsu Massage

A Japanese style of massage rooted in Chinese medicine, shiatsu massage aims to eliminate blockages that prevent the body's energy force, or Qi, from flowing freely. Therapists use many different techniques, often using the elbows, knees and even the feet, while working on tension in the back, joints, and extremities.

Trigger Point Massage

Like deep tissue massage, trigger point massage aims to dissipate chronic tension located deep within the muscles.

But while deep tissue is ideal for tension to spread over a large area, the trigger point is best for pain that radiates from a very specific point (or several points).

Couples Massage

Massage therapists knead two clients side by side in the same room. Swedish massage is the typical modality used, but you can also request other types of massages such as deep tissue or hot stone.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massages are designed specifically for pregnant women who need relief from aches and pains associated with pregnancy. It helps reduce stress on weight-bearing joints while promoting relaxation.

Janis Veino
Janis Veino

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