What Are the Types of Massage Therapy?

All massages are the same, right? Well actually, no. There are a wide variety of techniques and styles. They originate from different places globally, have different methodologies, and differing purposes. It can be difficult to know exactly what’s what, so we’ve created this helpful blog to help you understand what all the different types are. Massage is a practice that’s been around a very long time, so there are a ton of styles, but we’ve chosen the six most popular.

The 6 Most Common Types of Massage Therapy

Deep Tissue

What is it used for? This type has been shown to be beneficial to those struggling with chronic muscular pain. Additionally, deep tissue massage can be a useful injury prevention method as overly tense muscle tissue can lead to strain. Many athletes use deep tissue to help improve their overall range of motion.

How it works: Deep tissue massage is a full body practice that works to relieve overall pain and stiffness. This type of massage utilizes firm pressure and long strokes to get deep into the muscle tissue. As with most therapeutic treatments, deep tissue can cause some muscle soreness for a day or so afterwards.

Sports

What is it used for? Sports massage is used to treat specific concerns such as repetitive use injuries or strain, prevent sports related injuries, and to improve athletic performance. This practice is similar to deep tissue for its use as a therapeutic treatment.

How it works: This method utilizes a combination of deep pressure massage and passive stretching to loosen up muscular tension and improve mobility. As this methodology is used to treat specific injuries, it will be more spot focused rather than full.

Depending on your practitioner and needs, a sports massage through Dynamic may include some at home stretches to do afterwards to help improve your mobility and prevent further injury.

Swedish

What is it used for? Swedish massage is used for relaxation purposes.

How it works: This particular practice is a gentle, full body massage in which a therapist will use a variety of methods to loosen up the muscle tissue. It can last anywhere from 60-90 minutes during which the practitioner will administer light pressure touch to the whole body.

Prenatal

What is it used for? Prenatal massage is a safe and effective treatment used on expecting mothers to reduce some of the muscular pain and tension associated with pregnancy.

How it works: This practice uses light pressure to focus on specific areas such as the hips, lower back, legs, and other common areas of tension for pregnant women. During the treatment women will either lay on a specific table with a cut out for the belly or on their side depending on the preference and need of both practitioner and patient.

Hot Stone

What is it used for? Hot stone massage is primarily used for relaxation purposes. While there are no conclusive studies, many claim that it helps to improve circulation.

How it works: During this practice a practitioner will place warm rocks across the individual’s body and utilize those stones as they apply gentle pressure across the body similar to a Swedish massage. The warmth of the stones can help to make tissue more pliable.

Aromatherapy

What is it used for? This type of practice is used for relaxation. Many users of this type of massage claim that it has emotional benefits to their overall mood.

How it works: Depending on the preference of the practitioner and the recipient, an essential oil will be chosen to be diluted into the base oil. That oil will then be used for a 60-90 minute light, full body massage. More concentrated oil may be placed in particular areas of the body for further effect.

How to choose the right practice for you

There are a lot of types of massage but choosing the proper one for your needs doesn’t have to be complicated. Generally speaking, massage can be divided into two categories: therapeutic and relaxing. Therapeutic treatments help with muscular soreness, treat and prevent injuries, and are generally more beneficial for athletes. The three types of therapeutic practices are deep tissue, sports, and prenatal.

Relaxation massages include aromatherapy, Swedish, hot stone, and others. While these  are great for all over mood elevation, some tension relief, and relaxation, they are less effective for athletes.

Do you have more questions about the process? Talk to one of the Dynamic practitioners today to learn more.