The Different Types of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy manipulates the body to promote good health and to prevent and alleviate discomfort due to pain, muscle spasm or stress. It helps to improve circulation which may lessen the rate of recovery from injury and illness.

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy employs the use of scents and smells to invoke a sense of calmness and well-being. Aromatherapy oils are derived from various natural sources, such as plants, roots and bark. Aromatherapy oils are rubbed into the skin during the massage and the scent activates an emotional memory.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage uses slower firmer strokes to get to the deeper layers of muscle tissue. This massage is similar to Swedish massage and is often used by medically trained professionals.

Hot Stone or Lava Shell Massage

The therapist will use between one and four heated stones or shells to massage the body. The heat helps to ease tension while the stones or shells adjust the pressure needed to provide less pressure to sensitive areas on the body. The edges may be used to work tense shoulders or areas between the toes.


Hydromassage employs water to work the muscles of your body instead of hands, stones or shells. This type of therapy is more powerful than a whirlpool bath with hotter water. The high pressured water jets stimulate circulation in the body.

Indian Head Massage

Indian head massage concentrates on your shoulder, neck and head areas. This method taps into your paths of energy, called chakras, to encourage healing and balance within your body.

Oriental Massage Therapies

Oriental massage therapies include acupressure and Shiatsu. This type of massage therapy is based on a spiritual as well as physical alignment. Based on a re-balance of energy, oriental massage therapies employ pressure point specific massage techniques with emotional enlightenment.


Reflexology is the application of pressure to specific points on your hands and feet which correspond to various organs in the body. Based on principles similar to acupuncture, the application of pressure to the hands and feet assists in healing and calming injury and illness elsewhere in the body.

Relaxation Massage

Relaxation massage is often a long and luxurious massage. Soft music, soft lighting and use of aromatherapy oils may be used. This type of massage employs long strokes and a gentle kneading of the skin and muscles meant to calm the body.

Remedial Massage

Remedial massage is typically used in conjunction with physical therapy after a person sustains injury. This type of massage helps to restore function with soft tissue, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Sport Massage

Sports massage is used as part of a training program for athletes. This type of massage promotes healing and aid in performance.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Anne Bender is an accountant with more than 15 years experience. She has written several articles for eHow and and is an aspiring fiction writer and part-time farmer.