facebook pixel analytics

9 types of massage: Choose the best one for you!

These 9 types of massage will depend on personal preference and the type of relief you’re seeking. Choose the best one for your needs!

Ever felt like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Or maybe you're constantly battling tension headaches, or just wish you could melt into a puddle of pure relaxation? If you answered yes to any of those (or hey, even if you didn't!), then a massage might be exactly what you need. 

Massage therapy isn't just a fancy spa treatment (although it can definitely be that too!). It's a powerful tool that can help you unwind, de-stress, and even manage pain. But with so many different types of massages out there, how do you choose the right one? 

Fear not, friend! This article is your one-stop guide to the wonderful world of massage. We'll break down 9 popular massage techniques, explaining what they are, what they're good for, and how to pick the perfect one for you. So, get ready to ditch the stress and say hello to relaxation!

Source: Racool_studio on Freepik

1. Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is your go-to first date with the world of massages. It's the kind comfort food of the massage world—familiar, soothing, and oh-so satisfying. Perfect for those who are dipping their toes into the massage waters for the first time or anyone looking to shake off the stress with a touch as gentle as a summer breeze.

So, who's the perfect match for a Swedish massage? It's a winner if you:

  • Are new to the world of massage and looking for a gentle introduction.
  • Seek relief from muscle tension without the intensity of deep tissue manipulation.
  • Desire a calming experience to reduce stress and enhance relaxation.

Let's talk about the benefits. Swedish massage is like a gentle lullaby for your muscles, whispering away the knots and easing you into a state of blissful relaxation. It's not just about feeling good in the moment; it helps release muscle tension and can be a gentle warrior against stress.

Imagine this: You're cocooned in a serene space, with only the soft murmur of the outside world. You shed the layers of your day along with your clothes (underwear, your call!), slipping under a sheet on a welcoming massage table. This is your sanctuary.

The massage itself employs a variety of techniques tailored to soothe and rejuvenate, including:

  • Kneading to alleviate muscle tension and enhance blood flow.
  • Long, fluid strokes directed towards the heart to support circulation.
  • Deep circular motions that target the deeper layers of muscle tissue.
  • Gentle tapping and vibration techniques for a unique sensory experience.
  • Passive joint movements that enhance flexibility and mobility.

A standard Swedish massage session dances through 60 to 90 minutes of your day. It's an interlude where time stands still, and you emerge on the other side, not just refreshed, but reborn.

Source: Prostooleh on Freepik

2. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage is designed for those who need more than just surface-level relief. It's particularly suited for individuals who:

  • Suffer from chronic muscle pain that other massage techniques cannot alleviate.
  • Have deep-seated tension or muscle injuries.
  • Experience constant discomfort from muscle tightness and seek effective relief.

This type of massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissues, focusing on areas of significant tension and pain. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas.

During a deep tissue massage session, you can expect:

  • The therapist uses firm pressure and slow strokes to reach deeper muscle layers and connective tissue.
  • Techniques to focus on areas of pain and tension, applying deep finger pressure and slow, deliberate strokes.
  • The session lasts between 60 to 90 minutes, depending on your needs and the areas being treated.

Deep tissue massage is a therapeutic approach meant to address specific muscle issues, offering significant relief for those with chronic pain and muscle tension. 

It's crucial for clients to communicate with their therapist about the level of pressure to ensure the massage remains within their comfort zone while still being effective.

3. Sports Massage

Sports Massage is tailored for those with an active lifestyle, whether you're a weekend warrior or a professional athlete. It's designed to help if you:

  • Have a repetitive use injury from sports or any physical activity.
  • Are seeking to enhance your athletic performance.
  • Want to increase flexibility and prevent potential injuries.
  • Experience muscle tension or pain resulting from sports activities.

This specialised form of massage focuses on treating soft tissue aches, pains, and injuries that are often associated with sports and physical activities. It can be an effective way to improve your sporting performance, recover from exercise, and prevent injuries.

During a sports massage, you can anticipate:

  • A combination of techniques that might include kneading, stroking, and rubbing to enhance blood flow and warm up the muscles.
  • The application of deeper pressure to specific areas to target muscle or tissue issues.
  • Sessions that are typically 60 to 90 minutes long, but can vary based on the specific needs of the athlete or the particular focus areas for the session.

Sports massage goes beyond mere relaxation. It is aimed at those who push their bodies and want to maintain or improve their physical performance. 

By focusing on the muscles used in your sport, a sports massage can help reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation, ultimately aiding in the recovery of muscle injuries and improving overall performance.

Source: Rawpixel

4. Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy Massage combines the power of touch with the healing qualities of essential oils to create a holistic treatment that nurtures both body and mind. It’s a perfect choice for those who:

  • Are looking to enhance their mood and mental well-being along with physical relaxation.
  • Wish to relieve stress and anxiety through the use of essential oils.
  • Are interested in a massage that not only eases muscle tension but also addresses emotional health.

This type of massage employs soft, gentle pressure, incorporating essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, and roots to enhance the massage experience. The oils are selected for their therapeutic properties that can calm, energize, cleanse, or decongest the body and mind.

Here's what to expect during an aromatherapy massage:

  • The massage therapist might ask about your preferences and any specific conditions you wish to address, allowing them to select essential oils that best suit your needs.
  • The chosen essential oils are diluted and applied to the skin during the massage, facilitating physical relaxation and emotional balance.
  • Techniques used may include a combination of Swedish massage movements to relax the muscles, along with the inhalation of essential oil vapors to stimulate the senses and promote mental well-being.
  • Sessions typically range from 60 to 90 minutes, depending on your preference and the goals of the therapy.

Aromatherapy massage is a sensory journey that can help reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and improve overall mood. The use of essential oils in the massage enhances the therapeutic benefits, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a deeply relaxing and emotionally uplifting experience.

Source: Valuavitaly on Freepik

5. Hot Stone Massage 

Hot Stone Massage is a specialty massage where heated stones are used as an extension of the therapist's hands or placed on key points of the body. It's particularly beneficial for people who:

  • Experience muscle tension and pain but prefer a lighter massage.
  • Seek deeper muscle relaxation without the intense pressure of a deep tissue massage.
  • Are looking to reduce stress and promote deep relaxation.

The warmth of the stones helps to relax muscles more deeply than a standard massage, allowing the therapist to address muscle tensions without applying excessive pressure. This technique can be especially comforting during colder months, offering a unique therapeutic experience.

What to expect from a Hot Stone Massage:

  • Your therapist will place heated stones on specific areas of your body, such as along your spine, on your stomach, on your chest, or even between your toes. The heat from the stones penetrates deep into the muscle tissue, enhancing muscle relaxation and therapy effectiveness.
  • In addition to placing stones, the therapist may also use them to massage certain areas of your body with gentle pressure. This can help to release tension, ease sore muscles, and increase circulation and metabolism.
  • Sessions typically last around 90 minutes. The extended duration allows the heat to effectively penetrate and soothe the muscles, while the serene atmosphere helps to dissolve stress and tension.

Hot Stone Massage combines the therapeutic benefits of heat with traditional massage techniques to offer a deeply relaxing and rejuvenating experience. It’s ideal for those seeking relief from muscle tension and pain, as well as a peaceful retreat from the stresses of daily life.

Source: Freepik

6. Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu Massage is a form of therapeutic bodywork from Japan that combines techniques of massage, acupressure, stretching, and other movements to restore energy balance and enhance health. It's particularly beneficial for those who:

  • Seek to relieve stress and relax deeply without the use of intense pressure.
  • Need to address specific physical complaints such as muscle stiffness or joint pain.
  • Are interested in promoting emotional and physical healing by balancing their body's energy.

Shiatsu, meaning "finger pressure," involves the therapist applying pressure with fingers, thumbs, and palms to specific points on the body, following the same lines as acupuncture. This pressure helps to release tension, stimulate circulation, and promote the body's natural ability to heal.

During a Shiatsu massage session, here's what happens:

  • You remain fully clothed, typically wearing loose, comfortable clothing that allows for movement and access to pressure points.
  • The massage is performed on a mat on the floor, allowing the therapist to use their body weight to apply pressure and manipulate your body into various positions.
  • There's a focus on rhythmic, gradual pressure and stretching techniques, rather than the gliding and kneading motions found in other types of massage.
  • The session can last from 60 to 90 minutes, depending on your needs and the practitioner's approach.

Shiatsu massage is designed to improve the flow of energy, or Qi, through the body, which is believed to improve health and promote relaxation. It's a holistic approach that not only aims to relieve tension and pain but also to balance the emotional and physical well-being of the individual.

Source: Gpointstudio on Freepik

7. Thai Massage

Thai Massage, often referred to as "yoga for the lazy," brings a dynamic approach to wellness that melds ancient practices with therapeutic touch. It's an excellent choice for individuals who:

  • Are looking for a more active form of massage therapy.
  • Wish to improve flexibility, relieve muscle and joint tension, and boost energy levels.
  • Prefer a massage that focuses on both body and mind to promote a sense of well-being and relaxation.

Originating from the blending of Buddhist teaching, yoga practices, and traditional Chinese medicine over centuries, Thai massage involves a series of interactive, flowing movements and stretches that the therapist uses to help release tension and enhance flexibility. 

Unlike more traditional forms of massage, no oils are used, and you remain fully clothed in comfortable attire that allows for movement.

During a Thai massage session, you can expect:

  • To lie on a mat on the floor, as opposed to a typical massage table, which allows the therapist to perform a range of movements.
  • The therapist uses their hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches, applying muscle compression, joint mobilisation, and acupressure as needed.
  • A focus on rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body, which may include pulling fingers, toes, and ears, arching the recipient's back, and moving the body into many different positions.
  • A typical session lasts between 60 to 90 minutes, offering a comprehensive approach to physical and energetic healing.

Thai massage is a holistic healing technique that aims to harmonise the body, energise the mind, and nurture the soul. It offers a unique experience that can leave you feeling deeply relaxed yet invigorated, with improved mobility and a clearer mind.

Source: Jcomp on Freepik

8. Reflexology 

Reflexology stands out as a distinct practice in the world of massage, focusing on the theory that specific points on the feet, hands, and ears are linked to various organs and body parts. It's especially suited for individuals who:

  • Prefer a non-invasive therapy focused on relaxation and stress relief.
  • Are interested in promoting healing and balance within the body without full-body massage.
  • Have conditions that might benefit from targeted pressure point therapy.

This practice uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points believed to correspond with different parts of the body. Through this targeted approach, reflexology aims to restore energy flow, reduce pain, and promote overall well-being.

During a reflexology session, you can expect:

  • To remain fully clothed, with only your shoes and socks removed to allow access to your feet, and possibly hands.
  • The therapist applies pressure to specific areas of the feet, hands, and sometimes ears, using thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion.
  • The experience is deeply relaxing, with effects on the whole body, despite the treatment being localised to the extremities.
  • Sessions typically last between 30 to 60 minutes, making it a convenient option for those with limited time or those who prefer a focused treatment.

Reflexology is a holistic therapy that has been used for centuries to promote healing, reduce stress, and improve circulation. 

Source: Pch.vector on Freepik

9. Prenatal Massage

Prenatal Massage is a specialised massage therapy designed to support and nurture expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy journey. It's an ideal choice for women who:

  • Are experiencing the common aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
  • Seek to reduce stress and promote relaxation during their pregnancy.
  • Wish to improve circulation and support the health of both mother and baby.

This form of massage adapts standard massage techniques to the needs of pregnant women. It addresses the unique pressures and shifts in posture that come with carrying a baby, aiming to relieve tension, ease sore spots, and improve circulation and mobility.

During a prenatal massage session, expect:

  • To be positioned on your side or in a semi-reclining position, never flat on your back, to ensure comfort and safety for both you and your baby.
  • The use of cushions and pillows to provide support and alleviate pressure on the lower back and pelvic areas.
  • Gentle to moderate pressure applied throughout the session, focusing on areas of tension such as the back, neck, hips, and legs.
  • The session lasts typically between 45 to 60 minutes, tailored to accommodate the comfort and health needs of the expectant mother.

Prenatal massage is more than just a way to reduce pregnancy discomfort; it's a holistic approach to wellness that supports the emotional and physiological well-being of the mother-to-be. It can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and enhance the overall pregnancy experience.

It's important for expectant mothers to consult with their healthcare provider before beginning any new massage therapy to ensure it's safe for their specific pregnancy condition.


Well, we've zipped through the amazing world of massage therapies, each with its own special flair to offer. Whether it's the gentle caress of a Swedish massage, the deep relief of a deep tissue, or the specialized care of a prenatal massage, there's a perfect match out there for everyone.

Picking the right massage isn't just a treat; it's about tuning into your body's needs and giving it the care it deserves. Each type has its own set of perks, ready to tackle whatever stress, ache, or tension you're carrying around.

The key? Keep exploring until you find that perfect massage fit, and always chat with your therapist to make sure you're getting exactly what you need. So, why wait? Dive into the world of massage therapy and discover the incredible benefits waiting for you. Let the relaxation journey begin!

Friska 🐨

Read next: Pamper your toes: 2024's must-try pedicure style

cta banner

Follow us

We՚ll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the modern working world.