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Different Types of Massages and Their Relaxation Benefits

massage therapy
Samantha Green

Massage therapy has been around for a long time. No one knows exactly when and where massage therapy originated. Some claim that it was in India, others in Egypt and China. Regardless of the truth, massage therapy has been present in many cultures since ancient times.

This means that along the way numerous types of massages have been created. Massage therapy as we know it today became popular in the early 1900s. By the 1930s, massage therapy became a legitimate form of medicine.

In this article, we would like to showcase all the different types of massages we know of today and their relaxation benefits.

Before we dive right in, let’s see what massage therapy is.

What is massage therapy?

Massage therapy can be described as the process of rubbing and kneading soft tissues of the body. Massage therapy is a part of complementary medicine. This means that medical centers offer massage therapy along with traditional medicine.

A licensed massage therapist performs the massage. Massage therapy is used for different types of medical conditions.

Some of the most common massage benefits include relaxation and stress reduction, reduction of pain, and muscle tightness. Another great benefit of massage therapy is that it improves the work of the immune system.

17 Types of Massages and their benefits

There are different types of massages used for different medical conditions. Let’s discover those types and how they can help you relax.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage is considered to be one of the most famous and popular types of massages in the world. It’s a full-body massage, perfect for relaxation and pain release.

As its name suggests, this massage originated in Sweden in the 1830s. Swedish massage involves different strokes and techniques. Typically, massage therapists use a combination of long strokes and kneading. As well as vibration, tapping, and deep circular motions.

This massage is ideal for first-timers and people who want to release tension. In addition to relaxation benefits, this massage is suitable for the reduction of muscle toxins, boosting the oxygen levels in the bloodstream, and improving blood circulation and flexibility.

Thai massage

Another very famous massage is Thai massage and even though its name is Thai massage, its origins are in India. Relaxation and unwinding are the primary reasons people often indulge in this type of massage.

A Thai massage is an active form of massage meant to activate your whole body. This massage can also help you reduce pain and improve circulation and flexibility. 

Another interesting fact about Thai massage is that it uses a sequence of movements similar to yoga stretching. So expect to be twisted and stretched in different positions. 

If you want to try this kind of massage, make sure you check the amazing Thai massage Rozelle. This massage usually last from 60 to 90 minutes.

Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu is a Japanese type of massage ideal for people who want to relax, release tension and improve their sleep. It’s another full-body massage where the therapist will focus on problematic areas. 

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The direct translation of shiatsu is “finger pressure” but the therapist will also use their elbows, knuckles, knees, and even feet during the massage process. 

You can expect a better night’s sleep, improved mood, and emotional and physical calm from this massage. Just like other massages the duration of Shiatsu is also 60 to 90 minutes.

Deep tissue massage

Unlike gentle Swedish massage, deep tissue massage uses a lot more pressure. This is why this massage is excellent for those who suffer from chronic muscle pain, soreness, and tightness. People with sports injuries can also benefit from this type of massage. 

Just as its name suggests, this massage targets deep layers of muscle and surrounding tissue.

This message is not strictly relaxing but relieving pain and stiffness can ultimately provide relaxation. That’s one of the reasons it’s on this list.

Hot stone massage

If you want to relax and relieve some tension, then a hot stone massage might be the one for you. This type of massage is mostly similar to Swedish massage the only difference is the hot stones. 

During hot stone massage, you can expect hot stones to be placed on different areas of your body. In combination with hot stones, the therapist may also use cold stones. Another thing that you can expect is for the therapist to use a heated stone to massage you with, in addition to their hands.

The benefits of this kind of massage include better blood flow, pain reduction, and as mentioned relaxation. Of course, these are merely some of this incredible massage’s benefits.

Sports massage

Even though its name is sports massage, this type of massage isn’t only for athletes. The techniques used in this massage are suitable for both athletes and non-athletes.

This massage can help you relieve injuries, chronic pain, restricted range of motion, and muscle aches.  

A sports massage is another full-body massage but can also be performed on certain body areas. This massage usually consists of a combination of deep pressure and soothing strokes.

Thanks to different techniques, this massage can reduce tension, improve circulation and help the body relax. It promotes recovery and prevents muscle injury. So, if you’re not an athlete but have similar problems and work-related tension, sports massage may just be the correct answer.

Aromatherapy massage

Most massages are well-known for their physical and emotional healing powers. However, the aromatherapy massage takes this to a whole other level. Aromatherapy massage uses essential oils to help your body and mind relax. 

Plants such as lavender, chamomile, lemon, tea tree, ginger, and bergamot, are used as essential oils. These oils, in addition to having wonderful smells, are absorbed in the body. Each essential oil has different chemical compositions which means that it affects our bodies in different ways.

For example, lavender oil has quite a bit of benefits including stress and pain relief and improved sleep. Bergamot oil can lift mood, reduce anxiety, and lower blood pressure.

An aromatherapy massage is a full-body massage that combines gentle pressure and essential oils. All in all, this type of massage is one of the best relaxation massages.

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Reflexology or zone therapy is a massage therapy that uses different kinds of pressure techniques on different pressure points such as feet, hands, and ears. Thanks to its relaxation benefits, this massage is perfect for anyone who is looking to unwind and relieve anxiety, pain, and fatigue.

If you don’t mind being touched on the entire body, this type of massage is ideal for you. This massage is based on the theory that our feet, hands, and ears are connected to certain organs and systems in our body. Applying pressure to these body parts can result in numerous health benefits.

Lymphatic drainage massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is a gentle massage that encourages lymph fluid to circulate better. The massage consists of soft, gentle circular motions, and it’s ideal for people who have lymphedema, or swelling problems.

This massage can help with several conditions including stress, edema, insomnia, fatigue, skin conditions, and digestive issues. However, it’s not for everyone. If you suffer from kidney and liver problems, have congestive heart failure, or have an infection, you should stay away from lymphatic drainage massage.

Trigger point massage

If you suffer from chronic pain or a specific condition, trigger point massage may be the one for you. This type of massage focuses on targeting trigger points and reducing pain. 

Trigger points are areas of tightness in the muscles that can cause pain in other areas of the body. Small tears in muscles, dehydration, or poor diet cause these trigger points and they can’t heal on their own.

With various techniques, the therapist can loosen the knots, pushing the fresh blood in and pushing the waste material out. To prevent these trigger points from forming in your body, you should regularly go to trigger point massage as well as do exercise and stretch.

Chair massage

A chair massage promotes relaxation and relieves stress. If you are looking for a short massage that doesn’t use too much pressure, the chair massage is exactly what you’re looking for.

This massage targets the shoulders, neck, and back with light or medium pressure. No need to undress for this massage, all you need to do is straddle the chair and allow the therapist to reach your back.

With just a few different moves and techniques, this massage can help you reduce stress, decrease anxiety and depression, relieve headaches, improve sleep quality, and lower blood pressure.  

Reiki massage

Reiki is yet another massage that originates in Japan. The word Reiki is a combo of two Japanese words “rei” (higher power) and “ki” (life force energy). From this, we can conclude that the Reiki message is an energy-healing massage.

This message is peculiar because it doesn’t require applying pressure on the body. Instead, the Reiki master uses hand movements over the body. These movements transfer the healing energy from the practitioner to the patient.

There is still very little information about the actual benefits of this massage but it should reduce stress and promote healing.

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Prenatal massage

Prenatal massage as its name suggests is a massage safe for pregnant women. It’s very convenient because it can help relieve pregnancy aches, muscle tension and reduce stress. 

Prenatal massage is mild and it focuses on your lower back, hips, and legs. 

Before going to a prenatal massage, consult with your doctor. Massages aren’t recommended for women in their first trimester, so avoid them during the first months of pregnancy.

Craniosacral massage

Craniosacral massage relieves pain in the central nervous system.

This massage boosts health and immunity. Craniosacral massage is not just a head massage but a therapy that helps release compression in the bones of the head, low back, and spine. 

With gentle movements and manipulation of the bones of your skull, and spine, the therapist is improving the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. This can help with migraines, neck pain, scoliosis, insomnia, and other problems. Relaxation is another benefit of this type of massage.

Head and scalp massage

If you need good relaxation and destressing, the head and scalp massage is a perfect choice. This massage therapy is so good it will put you in a state of Zen. 

Additionally, this kind of massage is also excellent for easing headaches and boosting hair growth! 

Indulging in a regular head massage can help you decrease the frequency and intensity of headaches. Scalp massages can also stimulate hair follicles to grow thicker hair.

Foot massage

There’s nothing better than a good foot massage after a long day at work. Foot massages are not only relaxing but also relieve muscle aches and improve circulation.

There are several different foot massage techniques that therapists use to relieve foot pain and help you relax.

Even though foot massages are harmless, pregnant women and people prone to blood clots should consult with their physician before going for a foot massage.

Abhyanga oil massage

Abhyanga is a type of self-massage performed with warm oil. You can choose either coconut or sesame oil for this massage as well as traditional Ayurvedic oils. 

Once you warm up the oil, apply it to your whole body from the scalp to the toes. Then rub and kneed the oils into your whole body with firm but gentle movements.

Some of the greatest benefits of this type of self-massage include relaxation, better sleep, improved circulation, and overall health.


With so many different types of massages choosing just one is impossible. The best thing is that you can combine different massages. Different therapists will help you choose and combine which massages usually go together.

Every one of these massages is primarily used as part of complementary medicine. And as you can see, each of them has numerous benefits, both physical and mental. Most of these messages help us destress and relieve tension.

If you aren’t sure which massage is the right one for you, make sure you always consult with your doctor.

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