Types of massage and its benefits

According to the U.S Massage Therapy Collage (MTC), more than $12 billion is generated by the Massage groups only in United States. More than 39.1 million Americans visit massage spa at least once in a year.

What is Massage?

Massage is the “manual manipulation of muscles and soft tissues of body including the ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues”. It is used by hundreds and thousands of people for the cure of mental and physical stresses all over the world. It is considered as a natural way of curing.

Recent researches have revealed that massage is going to improve the overall functions of human lymphatic tissues and regulates hormones of the human blood. It can also be involved in the treatment of injured tissues of the body. It has also been found that massage is not only helpful in soothing sore muscles but also regulates the flow of bloodstream.

Many people believe that massage helps them to relieve from stress and depression and doubles their power. Massage boosts relaxation of muscles. Massage therapists relieve pain, stress and tension by using their hands usually, but forearms, feet and elbows are also used in different types of massages.

Sweedish Massage
Sweedish Massage (Image Credits: ersler)

Overall benefits of massage

Therapist have reported benefits of massage includes:

  1. Regulates the flow of blood in the body
  2. Increase in Joint Range of Motion (ROM)
  3. Increase in the flexibility of joints and muscles
  4. Elimination of lactic acid and other waste products from the body
  5. Promotes the feelings of well-being
  6. Relief in muscle tension
  7. Relaxation of neurological system
  8. Increase immunity against injury
  9. Decrease recovery time
  10. Decrease muscle spasms

Types of Massage

Keeping in the views and needs of people about massage therapy; the massage therapists have developed a wide range of massage techniques which are helpful in managing anxiety, fibromyalgia and arthritis. Different massage therapies are offered in different Spas, Yoga centers, hotels and chiropractic offices depending on the demand of their clients. It has been found that there are 80 types of massages all over the world; some are intense, some are gentle and active. Massage ranges from the most classic type – Swedish massage- to more exotic type – shiatsu.

Most common types of massage are discussed below:

Swedish Massage

  • Most popular type of massage
  • Very gentle technique used in this massage
  • Improves relaxation
  • Regulates blood flow
  • Relieves muscle pain and tension

The massage therapist moves the joints very gently to improve the movement by using long and gliding strokes. The kneading and tapping techniques are used on the painful or stressed muscles parallel to blood flow towards the heart.

Deep tissue Massage

  •  Very active and intense type of massage
  • Used in treatment of long-lasting and chronic muscle tension or pain
  • Helps in reduction of inflammation-relating disorders like Arthritis

The therapists apply low strokes using their fingers, thumbs and elbows. The intense pressure is exerted to reach the deep layers of muscles. The pressure is more intense than the Swedish massage.

Sports Massage

  • To prevent and cure injuries
  • Improvement in flexibility
  • Regulates the blood flow in the body
  • Enhancement in athletic activities and overall performance

This type of massage is generally used by players and athletics to improve their sports activity or performance. Even the common man, who are not athletic, can adopt this type of massage to relax their muscles. The focus of this sport massage to manipulate the soft tissues of sportsman, especially, the certain muscles of particular sportsman according to his sport activity. In sport massage, the massage therapists use the faster strokes than the Swedish massage. The techniques of friction, joint mobilization, compression and pressure point are used in this sport massage.


The massage relates to the “REFLEX AREAS” of the body like hands and feet and it is believed that the hands and feet are interconnected with other parts of the body and ultimately promotes the energy level of whole body. Therapist/ reflexologists apply pressures on hands an\d feet, the reflex points of the body which ultimately create balance in the nerv\ous system and helps in the stimulation of endorphins. The endorphins stimulation is the indication of pleasure in the body which reduces stress and discomfort.

In this massage, therapist use the pressure with their fingers. The kneading 7and rubbing techniques are used for the promotion of relaxation in the body. This massage is part of ancient civilization but the therapist of US have refined this massage in 1993.

Pregnancy Massage

Other name is “prenatal” massage. For the relaxation of muscles of expected mother – for soothing the pain of lower back and swollen ankles of pregnant women- this massage is especially helpful for the last trimester pregnancy. Its safe massage for fetus and mother both.

Precaution should be made during massage. A specialized training and certification is required for the pregnancy/ prenatal therapists. The therapist should have vast knowledge of positions and supports for expecting mothers. Special techniques are required in this massage with special cushions and table. The women must feel comfort and safe during massage.

Thai massage

  • Its blend of passive stretching, pressure movements, and Yoga
  • Most energetic type of massage
  • It’s more like a yoga- minus working
  • It improves the motion and flexibility of muscles

In Thai massage, therapist moves and stretches the body on the floor mat. There is rhythmic compression of muscles to boost the energy which ultimately reduces the stress and tension from the body- reduces pain in backbone and helpful in the treatment of balance and migraine problems.

Shiatsu massage (Japanese type of massage)

Shiatsu massage goals to improve the flow of body energy by stimulating the acupressure points- ultimately balance of body is regained. It is considered as a treatment and reduction of stress- related health problems. This massage is helpful in treating arthritis, back and neck pain, sciatica, sinus infections, and insomnia. Shiatsu helps to increase immunity against injuries, improves energy and stimulates the functions of digestive system. No oil or lotion is used in this massage. This massage is done on floor mat or on low-leveled table while wearing loose clothes.

Hot stone Massage

  • Named hot-stone massage as warm stones are used

The massage therapists use smooth and hot stones on the specific points of the body. The volcanic rock- basalt- is used in this massage which has ability to retain heat in the rock. This warm effect of stone gives relaxing and help in loosen the tight and painful muscles in little time frame. The high blood pressure, heart diseases, and diabetes are treated with this hot-stone massage.  This massage is for sure a first option for the patients suffering with blood -thinning problems.

Aromatherapy massage

  • Swedish massage using scented/ essential oils

These oils are extracted from flowers and other parts of the plant which are considered as a healing agents. For instance, Lavender and rose, are used to promote relaxation of muscles. Other oils are selected depending on the need of the body.

The back pain, headache, insomnia, digestive problems and premenstrual symptoms can be resolved by soothing effects of aromatherapy massage. But the caution should be made about the allergic symptoms against specific oils and aroma. Before receiving an aromatherapy massage, make sure you’re not allergic to any of the plants used in the oils, since they may cause a reaction on the skin.

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