Types of Massage
There are over 250 different types of massage, bodywork, somatic
therapies, movement therapies, awareness building modalities and new
types of healing using touch are being created all the time. As people
learn and study different massage techniques, they start integrating
what they have learned together with their unique experiences to create
new methods. Many methods were created because of people's own health
issues or because loved one's were affected with some disease or
The main type of massage that most massage schools will start training you in is Swedish Massage .
Swedish massage is basic relaxation massage but it also can be very
therapeutic and used to treat various conditions. It is one of the most
common types offered at spas and resorts. It doesn't come from Sweden
contrary to it's name.
Here is a short list of some other types of massage that you will commonly hear of:
- Structural Integration - Rolfing® ,
Hellerwork, Zentherapy®. Rolfing® is where most other types of
structural integration comes from. It was developed by a woman named
Ida Rolf, hence the name. It is specific work to the body to align it
- Orthopedic Massage
- Includes Strain/Counterstrain, OMERI and other methods that are based
on orthopedic and osteopathic techniques. It is usually used to treat
injuries or pain syndromes.
- Cranio-sacral therapy
using lighter touch to balance the cranial and sacral bones and joints
was developed by osteopaths and made more well known by John Upledger.
- Pregnancy Massage and infant massage
- Myofascial Release
is used by many different disciplines of massage. It works with the
tissue that covers the muscles and connects the whole body together. It
can be used for injuries and wellness massage.
- Deep Tissue Massage
is fairly common but often mis-understood. It isn't just applying more
pressure and someone using their strength to do that. That will usually
cause a person to tense up. Deep tissue massage addresses the deeper
muscles of the body that are often causing pain.
- Triggerpoint Therapy
addresses the 'knots' or triggerpoints in the muscles that are often
the cause of pain. Triggerpoints often refer pain to other areas. It
is used for relief of pain and stress.
- Energy work such as Reiki and Polarity Therapy are the two most popular.
- Neuromuscular Therapy
- Eastern Massage Therapy - includes
Acupressure, Shiatsu, Anma, Amma , Tui-Na and others usually based on the Meridian System and energetic healing
- Equine Massage and other animals such as dogs, zoo animals, exotic animals etc.
- Mind-Body therapies address the mind through the body. Hellerwork and Hakomi are a few of the most popular.
- Sports Massage
works with athletes in all stages of training from off season training,
pre-event and post event as well as helping to recover from injuries do
to sports activities.
- Medical Massage - (or clinical massage) A very controversial and growing sector of the massage profession.
- Chair Massage - Seated massage for offices, parties, building your business and airports.
or Zone Therapy addresses the feet and hands on the theory that working
those areas can affect the whole body. Some foot spa places are
opening up with untrained massage therapists so be sure to ask if they
are licensed and legitimate places.
Choosing which type to study (or to receive!) is usually a matter of
getting a variety of massages (or other healing modality) from different
therapists in the same type of massage therapy and see what feels good
When thinking about becoming a massage therapist, it it important to start learning about various methods for a few reasons:
You may want to skip massage school altogether and study something
else like the Alexandar Technique or other non-massage disciplines.
You may want to study some of the other disciplines in detail to set
yourself apart from all of the other massage therapists and become an
expert in one area.
- You will also be working
with many clients who have also had other types of work so it can help
in knowing what they have done already to find out what is working and
what is not.
- You may also want to develop a network of other types of services for your clients to help them on their healing path.
learning as much as you can about the many types of massage, bodywork
and other healing disciplines can help you in every stage of your
If you are an expert in one of these areas, please
share your information by clicking on the link for each area and write
your article or comment to help educate others as to what this type of
work can do to help educate the public as well as massage therapists.
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directory with the most accurate info on each topic. Please help me in
creating this by sharing. It is also good for your own website,
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See the big chart on the different types of Massage.
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