7 Types of Massage Therapy and Their Benefits

Massage therapy has been used for centuries to treat different ailments. It is said to have been introduced as early as 3000 BC. Pregnancy can be a difficult time, accompanied by pain in various parts of the body due to swelling and muscle stiffness. Prenatal massage is a safe way for pregnant women to enjoy the benefits of massage, but it is recommended to wait until after the first trimester to reduce the risk of any complications.

When it comes to massage therapy, there are many types that offer incredible mental and physical health benefits. In this article, we will explore seven of the most common types of massage and their differences. After reading, you will be more informed about the benefits of massage and how to choose the best one for you.

Swedish Massage

is the most popular type of massage.

It is known for its smooth, long kneading movements combined with shorter, more rhythmic strokes. This type of massage uses light to moderate pressure and can be adapted to your comfort level. Swedish massage therapy includes five different types of strokes.

Deep Tissue Massage

focuses on painful problem points on the body. It targets muscle knots (areas of tension within the muscle fiber) and problem areas in the deeper muscle layers and connective tissue.

Massage therapists use slow, firm, and intense movements or friction to help relieve pain from repetitive tension, postural problems, injuries, and tense or painful muscles. Deep tissue massage should never hurt, even if stroking is more intense.

Hot Stone Massage

involves hot stones (usually a volcanic rock called basalt that retains heat) placed on different parts of the body. The stones can be left in place or used as massage tools by a massage therapist. This heat on the muscles of the body has a relaxing and healing effect and increases blood flow to the area, as well as relaxing the muscles.

Hot stone massage can be used to treat muscle injuries by reducing stiffness and discomfort.

Sports Massage

manipulates the soft tissues of the body and focuses on certain muscle groups that depend on the athlete's sport. It helps prevent and treat injuries, reduce muscle pain, correct muscle imbalances, improve flexibility and improve sports performance. Sports massage involves faster movements than Swedish massage and may include other massage techniques such as compression, pressure point therapy, friction, and joint mobilization.


is based on the concept of “reflex areas” on the hands and feet, whose energy is thought to be connected to other parts of the body. In a reflexology session, a massage therapist will use hand, thumb, and finger techniques such as kneading and rubbing certain areas of the feet.

Shiatsu Massage

has a history in traditional Chinese medicine but it is a form of Japanese bodywork.

Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese. This type of massage uses rhythmic and localized pressure with fingers, hands or elbows to certain acupressure points of the body. These points are believed to improve the body's energy flow and restore balance. Shiatsu massage can be useful for increasing energy, recovering from injury, stimulating digestion and reducing stress.

Thai Massage

is an energizing form of massage that incorporates assisted yoga, passive stretching, and pressure massage movements.

Thai massage tries to align energies in the body and during a session, the masseur will move it in different positions. Thai massage uses rhythmic muscle compression, joint mobilization and acupressure to reduce stress and improve flexibility. It can help treat back pain, balance problems, and even migraine symptoms.

Janis Veino
Janis Veino

Hipster-friendly music enthusiast. Award-winning music fanatic. Professional zombie expert. Extreme pizza nerd. Freelance bacon enthusiast.