Massage 101: Different Types of Massage

People have been performing massage therapy since before 3000 BCE. Historical evidence points to massage therapy originating in India as a form of sacred natural healing, and it has since evolved over the ages. Now there are many different styles with different benefits (over 13 different popular styles in the US alone!)

The many different types of massages

The most popular types of massage are shiatsu massage, swedish massage, deep tissue and sports massage, but in in reality there are many different types of massages.

There’s also lymphatic drainage massage, hot stone massage and reflexology massages, to name a few.

Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu Massage is used to improve energy flow and to reduce stress. Shiatsu stimulates acupressure points with localized pressure applied in a rhythmic sequence. Shiatsu massage is commonly used to ease pain and lack of mobility in the neck, shoulders and upper back.

Swedish massage

Swedish Massage is a massage for full body relaxation. This method uses broad, then specific strokes for problem areas. Swedish massage is a very common massage style, often found in spa settings because of its pleasing and relaxing effect on the human body. 

Deep tissue

Deep tissue massage is a focused, therapeutic massage. This method targets muscle knots and problem areas in the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Deep tissue massage is more intense than swedish massage because of the deep, slow strokes that place pressure on the muscles.

Sports massage

Sports massage is popular among athletes because of its beneficial impact on athletic performance. Sports massage uses compression and joint mobilization to prevent and treat injuries. Sports massage also works to increase flexibility. 

Reflexology massage

Reflexology massage is a style of massage that uses pressure points to provide an overall tension release. This type of massage combines traditional massage with light pressure applied to specific parts of your body, including: feet, hands, jaw and more.

Lymphatic drainage massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is a specialized medical massage that helps your body to drain out this lymphatic fluid that can collect in certain areas of the body. Lymphatic drainage massage involves massaging an area without swelling in order to improve the flow of lymph fluid away from the swollen area.

Callahan is a fitness enthusiast who moonlights on the growth team at ClassPass. She's a certified fitness trainer, with years of fitness experience both inside and outside of the gym. When she's not working you can find her pursuing her passion projects as editor of Trek Montana, contributing writer to the Ultimate Nashville Bach Planning Site and Plan Your Bach.
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2 thoughts on “Massage 101: Different Types of Massage

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