Here is a quick guide to the most popular types of massage therapy to help you figure out which massage therapy style is right for you.

 

 

1) Swedish Massage Therapy

This is the most common type of massage therapy in the United States. It is also known as Swedish massage or simply massage therapy.

Massage therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil.

Swedish massage therapy can be very gentle and relaxing. If you've never had massage before, this is a good one to try first.  

 

2) Deep Tissue Massage

 

Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. The massage therapist uses slower strokes or friction techniques across the grain of the muscle.

Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage.

 

3) Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians. 

Each point is held for for two to eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance.

People are normally pleasantly surprised when they try shiatsu for the first time. It is relaxing yet the pressure is firm, and there is usually no soreness afterwards. 


4) Reflexology

Although reflexology is sometimes called foot massage, it is more than simple foot massage. Reflexology involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot that correspond to organs and systems in the body. Reflexology is very relaxing, especially for people who stand on their feet all day or just have tired, achy feet.  


5) Sports Massage


Sports massage is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity. But you don't have to be a professional athlete to have one-it's also used by people who are active and work out often. The focus isn't on relaxation but on preventing and treating injury and enhancing athletic performance.

A combination of techniques are used. The strokes are generally faster than Swedish massage. Facilitated stretching is a common technique. It helps to loosen muscles and increase flexibility.

 

6) Sensual

(Not Practiced by me - Information only)

An unstructured massage that uses touch for an emotionally pleasing response. Strokes are typically light or moderate, and are not intended to be physically therapeutic. Typically, an atmosphere of relaxation is set through the use of candles and music. The practitioner often is unclothed as well as the client.

Unlike Erotic Massage, Sensual Massage may not specify climax as a goal. Instead, it is intended to indulge the client, to make him or her feel special and cared for. Often, full-body contact is utilized by the practitioner. Sensual massage is widely offered by untrained practitioners.

The only structured, trademarked variety of Sensual Massage is Body Electric, who trains therapists through their center in Oakland, California. This variety of sensual massage is intended to promote positive self-image and acceptance of the body, and help to reattach a wholesome view of sexual energy within the body. Performed on undraped clients using creams or oils, on a table, bed, or floor.

 

 

7) Erotic

(Not Practiced by me - Information only)

The use of touch to arouse a client. It is widely performed by both trained and untrained therapists, and there is no standardized technique for erotic massage. It is usually performed by an unclothed or partially clothed practitioner on an unclothed client, with the specific goal of climax.

The practitioner, if trained, may utilize a variety of techniques using nontraditional parts of his body to apply pressure and stroke. Amateur practitioners may offer a service that appears more like a sexual encounter than a massage.

Not considered a therapeutic technique, and widely unregulated, communication between client and practitioner is critical, especially if the technique is painful or unsafe.