There are more than 640 muscles in your body—how many of them need some love right now? Massage therapy is a natural choice for chronic pain, stress relief, and—best of all—feeling good. There are (almost) as many types of massage therapy as there are muscles under your skin. So relax and read on for a mini-glossary of 11 popular types of massage and how they benefit your body.
This blanket term covers all the body movement and touch techniques that trained professionals use to heal your aching bones. Therapists have to attend many hours of training, depending on their area of focus, to receive certification and provide services to the public.
It’s like acupuncture without the needles. Pressure is applied to points on your body to correct the ailment you’re suffering from. The points run along energy channels (called Qi in traditional Chinese medicine) and are part of a centuries old healing technique that will leave you in good hands.
Light holding of the head and extremely gentle touch along the spine and sacrum. This soothing and restorative treatment is said to alleviate stress and tension, and bring the body back into balance.
This is a category of any massage therapy that works deep into your darkest corners to relieve the causes of chronic pain or lasting aches. Perfect for that knot in your groin that’s been lingering since last year, or recurring back pain from the dumb chair in your office.
Smooth, flat, heated stones are placed along your back at pressure points or trouble areas. They serve to loosen up the muscles and deliver heat deep into the body. At times the stones are also used for light massage, although more often, they are removed after a period of relaxation and traditional Swedish or Shiatsu massage is administered. The massage may end with the re-heated stones being placed on the back once more.
Whether it’s pre- or postnatal, a pregnancy massage provides relief from swelling, low back pain, headaches, and stress. It’s a great way to give your hard-working body some tender loving care as it goes through change.
This Japanese term translates as ‘finger pressure.’ Based on the same principles of acupressure and acupuncture to create movement in the body’s energy channels, Shiatsu is known for incorporating kneading movements and promoting deep relaxation and increasing circulation.
Whether you’re a weekend jogger or competitive sprinter, regular activity places repetitive wear and tear on your fabulous body. Sports massage can help the body before a competition or after an athletic event, or as a regular part of a fitness regimen to improve flexibility, fight muscle strain, and heal injury.
This is the massage everyone knows. It’s made up of five body strokes designed to relax, heal, improve circulation, and maintain health. Does a body good.
This is a full body experience. Therapists use their fingers, hands, elbows, forearms, and feet (walking along your body!) to apply pressure at energy points. Your entire body is moved and stretched for you, improving circulation, flexibility, relaxation, and easing stress.
The manipulation of pressure points on your feet to alleviate symptoms in a corresponding part of your body.
A Japanese term that refers to ‘life force energy.” The practitioner aims to move energy through your body, creating health, improving the immune system, clearing away emotional pain, and sending healing love into your body. Which all sounds amazing.