8 Massage Therapy Techniques and Their Health Benefits

If you’ve never had a massage, you might be wondering if getting one could help you get rid of a stubborn back ache, or if you can get a relaxing massage even though you are pregnant.

If you are familiar with one type of massage, you might be tempted to try something else the next time you get in touch with your massage therapist.

Let’s review some of the best massage therapy techniques so you can choose the one that will bring you the benefits you need.

1. Swedish massage

If you are new to massage, a Swedish massage could be the best massage therapy techniques for you. This massage technique is gentle, and it involves kneading, circular motions, and long flowing strokes.

Most people choose a Swedish massage when they want to relax, but this technique can also help relieve tension and muscle knots. If your back or your shoulders are painful, a few sessions with your registered massage therapist should help ease your pain.

A full Swedish massage will cover your whole body, and should last between 60 and 90 minutes. You will have to remove your clothes, but you can keep your underwear.

2. Thai massage

A Thai massage could be the right type of massage for you if you don’t want to take your clothes off, or if you want an active form of massage that will help you get rid of pain and stress.

Your massage therapist will use their hands to apply pressure to different parts of your body, but they will also stretch your body in different ways that might seem familiar to people who practice yoga.

A Thai massage will last between 60 and 90 minutes, and will improve your flexibility as well as your blood flow.

3. Hot stone massage

A hot stone massage is similar to a Swedish massage, but on top of using their hands to massage your body, your massage therapist will be using smooth, heated stones. Cold stones can be used as well.

This massage technique can help ease tension and pain, and it can improve blood flow. Many people choose a hot stone massage because it simply helps them relax.

If you choose this type of massage, expect to spend 90 minutes on the massage table, in your underwear.

4. Deep tissue massage

A deep tissue massage is another technique similar to a Swedish massage, but your massage therapist will apply more pressure to different areas of your body.

This massage technique is a good choice if you have a lot of tension in your muscles, or if you struggle with chronic pain. Deep tissue massage can also help relieve anxiety.

Once again, you can keep your underwear during this massage, and you will spend between 60 and 90 minutes on the table.

5. Sports massage techniques

Sports massage therapy is ideal for those who suffer from a muscle injury, or for athletes who want to do what they can to prevent injuries, or to increase their flexibility.

During a sports massage, your therapist will either massage your full body, or focus on a few different areas.

Your massage will last between 60 and 90 minutes, and if you want to keep your clothes on, you should wear loose clothing so your therapist can massage your muscles more easily. You can also take off your clothes and keep your underwear.

6. Pregnancy massage techniques

A pregnancy massage uses mild pressure to help reduce the aches, the muscle tension and the stress that can result from pregnancy. It generally focuses on the lower back, on the hips and on the legs of pregnant women.

If you want a pregnancy massage, you will either lie on your side, or lie face down on a special table with a cutout that will keep your belly safe.

A pregnancy massage should last between 45 and 60 minutes.

7. Shiatsu massage techniques

Shiatsu is a Japanese massage therapy technique that promotes relaxation. It can also help relieve headaches, as well as anxiety and stress.

Your massage therapist will use their hands, their palms and their thumbs to apply pressure to different points of your body. You can choose a full body massage, or ask your massage therapist to focus only on certain areas.

You can keep your clothes during a shiatsu massage, and you will spend between 60 and 90 minutes on the table.

8. Reflexology massage techniques

Since reflexology is a technique that focuses on pressure points located on your feet, your hands, and your outer ears, you can wear comfortable clothes during your massage. Some people don’t exactly consider reflexology to be a type of massage, but many massage therapists are still offering this therapy.

By applying gentle pressure to a point located on your big toe, for example, your massage therapist should be able to relieve pain in your neck.

For a reflexology session, you should spend between 30 and 60 minutes on the massage table.

  • Gretchen is a free-spirited blogger focused on ways to improve her spiritual and emotional health. She uses the MANDALA HEALS blog to dispense advice, tutorials & guides on various topics.

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