Massage therapy is documented as one of the earliest methods of healing, with references in medical writings nearly 4,000 years old. Getting a massage is a good way to relax and relieve your mind and body of stress. If you are not sure what kind of massage to get, here’s a quick guide to the different types of massage therapy to help you decide which one is best for you.

1. Swedish Massage

swedishmassageThis is perhaps the most common type of massage in the US. In fact, when people say they want a massage, they usually mean a Swedish massage. The therapists use long strokes, circular movements and kneading, and apply oil or massage lotion.

For people who’ve never tried a massage before, choosing Swedish massage therapy is recommended.

2. Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy-Massage-What-Why-How-1This type of massage is similar to Swedish massage except that there’s the addition of scented essential oils to address the client’s specific needs. For example, if you want to relax, then the therapist can pour oil that’s specifically helpful to help you relax. This form of therapy is suited for those who are stressed or exhausted.

3. Shiatsu

shiatsu massageShiatsu is a Japanese massage that uses finger pressure done in a rhythmic sequence targeting acupuncture meridians. While different massage clinics may vary in their application of Shiatsu, normally, a point is held for 2-8 seconds to improve energy flow and aid the body in regaining balance.

Although not a popular choice in the US, those who have tried it are pleasantly surprised at the wonderful effects of Shiatsu. It is relaxing and there is often no soreness afterwards.

4. Thai Massage

balaskas102aThis type of massage aligns the body energies using gentle but firm pressure on specific areas. Thai massage also includes a variety of stretches and compressions. When you get a Thai massage, the therapist stretches and moves you into different postures so don’t expect to lie on the bed for the entire duration of your massage.

Thai massage is a very energizing form of massage. It is also improves flexibility, reduces stress and enhances your range of motion.

5. Hot Stone Massage

hot-stone-massageThis massage involves the use of heated stones which are placed on certain areas in the body to loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers.

The therapist may also apply gentle pressure on the stone. The warmth is quite soothing. It is a good massage for people suffering from muscle tension.

6. Deep Tissue Massage

508c80bb77a47_DeepTissueMassageDeep tissue massage is often used for sports therapy. It targets the deeper connective tissue and muscle layers, and it makes use of slower strokes. It’s excellent for treating constantly tight muscles, repetitive strain, recovery from injury or postural problems. After getting a deep tissue massage, you are likely to feel sore for 1-2 days.

7. Pregnancy Massage

pregnant-massageThis is also known as prenatal massage, and it is becoming increasingly popular among pregnant women. Massage therapists need to be certified in pregnancy massage. They know the proper way to position a pregnant woman’s body during the massage, and they also know how to modify techniques to ensure the client is comfortable.

Pregnancy massage is excellent for reducing stress, decreasing swelling, relieving pains, and reducing depression.

8. Reflexology

reflexologyIn the US, people simply think of it as foot massage, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Reflexology involves using pressure to some areas in the foot that link to different systems and organs in the body. It is very relaxing, especially for those who always stand on their feet all day.

9. Back Massage

BackOur backs often experience aches and pains, which is why back massage is popular. Massage clinics often offer 30 minute back massages to relieve your pain in the back and neck. Back massages could be Swedish, hot stone or Thai massage.

10. Sports Massage

calf massagePeople who are involved in physical activities particular sports often get a sports massage. It’s a specialized form of massage that’s not focused on relaxation but rather, treating injury or preventing injury. It’s also designed to improve athletic performance. The strokes are faster than Swedish massage, and it also uses stretching and deep pressure to increase flexibility and loosen tight muscles.

Most spas and massage clinics offer a combination of the different types of massage we’ve mentioned here. If you’re in desperate need of a massage, choose from any of the ones we’ve listed and book an appointment with a massage clinic near you.