Massage Style Smorgasbord

If you’re hav­ing trou­ble stress or chronic pain, mas­sage may be one of the avenues you’ve con­sid­ered trav­el­ling down to find relief. There are, how­ever, a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent styles of mas­sage to choose from. Each style employs dif­fer­ent meth­ods and results in dif­fer­ent ben­e­fits. Here’s a quick break­down of some of the most pop­u­lar styles of mas­sage, their meth­ods, and their benefits:

Swedish Mas­sage

By far the most com­mon form of mas­sage, Swedish mas­sage employs long, soft, knead­ing strokes in com­bi­na­tion lighter rhyth­mic tap­ping strokes on the upper­most lay­ers of mus­cle. Strokes with cir­cu­lar motions are often applied. Swedish mas­sage is effec­tive in pro­mot­ing relax­ation, boost­ing energy, and can even help with recov­ery from injuries.

Aro­mather­apy Massage

Uti­liz­ing a com­bi­na­tion of mas­sage and scented essen­tial oils, aro­mather­apy mas­sage is par­tic­u­larly suited to treat­ing stress-related con­di­tions or con­di­tions with an emo­tional component.

Neu­ro­mus­cu­lar Massage

This style employs manip­u­la­tion of soft tis­sue and tar­gets under­pin­ning causes of chronic pain involv­ing the ner­vous and mus­cu­lar sys­tem. It also addresses ten­der mus­cles points, cir­cu­la­tion, nerve com­pres­sion, pos­tural issues, and bio­me­chan­i­cal issues caused by repet­i­tive move­ment injuries.

Deep Tis­sue Massage

Best for address­ing painful, stiff spots in the body, deep tis­sue mas­sage employs slow delib­er­ate strokes focus­ing of tis­sue deep under the skin. It is less rhyth­mic than other forms of mas­sage, but can still be very therapeutic.

Sports Mas­sage

Devel­oped to assist mus­cle groups asso­ci­ated with spe­cific sports, this method uti­lizes a vari­ety of approaches to help ath­letes in train­ing. Non-athletes can use sports mas­sage to pro­mote flex­i­bil­ity, pre­vent injuries, or aid in recov­ery from injury.

Chair Mas­sage

This is a good method for peo­ple on the go. A ses­sion typ­i­cally takes 15 – 20 min­utes, and is pre­formed while the patient is fully clothed and sit­ting in a spe­cial chair. Chair mas­sage focuses on the neck, shoul­ders, back, and arms.

Shi­atsu Massage

Japan­ese for “fin­ger pres­sure”, Shi­atsu mas­sage ther­a­pists use var­ied, rhyth­mic pres­sure on spe­cific points of the body called acu­pres­sure points. Acu­pres­sure points are believed to loom large in the flow of the body’s vital energy and Shi­atsu removes block­ages at acu­pres­sure points.

Thai Mas­sage

Thai mas­sage ther­a­pists employ their own body to manip­u­late the patient into dif­fer­ent yoga-like posi­tions. This method often includes com­pres­sion of mus­cles, mobi­liza­tion of joints, and acupressure.

Hot Stone Massage

Often used in com­bi­na­tion with Swedish mas­sage tech­niques, prac­ti­tion­ers of hot stone mas­sage place warmed stones at spe­cific points of the patient’s body. The stone can be left in place for a short time or used as mas­sage tools. This method can be very sooth­ing as the stones send heat deep into the body.


Devel­oped in China, this method employs hand, thumb, and fin­ger tech­niques to stim­u­late spe­cific spots on the feet. These areas cor­re­spond to dif­fer­ent areas of the body. It is very effec­tive at reliev­ing foot pain, and is also quite relaxing.

Preg­nancy Massage

Preg­nancy brings many bod­ily changes and with them, stress. Preg­nancy mas­sage works to relieve this stress. It also helps to reduce leg and arm swelling and relieve mus­cle and joint pain. This method is espe­cially help­ful dur­ing those times dur­ing preg­nancy when use of drugs or med­ical tech­niques is discouraged.