Awareness of various types of massage therapy gives you oodles of options for stress and pain relief.

No matter what types of massage therapy you choose, you can be certain, the benefits are abounding. With a vast and rich history of health care, massage is well know to help people heal.

The reason massage therapy works so well is hard to explain without getting into microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. There is a ton of information out there in the world of the internet on that.

proven benefits of massage therapy

This article will explain some common massage therapy modalities. This information helps you decide what kind of massage techniques will work best for you.

Massage Therapy Modalities

There are so many different styles of massage therapy. We will begin with the common ones. You may have heard of these.

Common Massage Therapy Modalities

Swedish:This is the most commonly know traditional massage type.
A doctor from Sweden around 1820, Dr. Per Henrik Ling. His knowledge came from the study of gymnastics and his skills in anatomy and physiology. Of course he “borrowed” ideas from Greece, China, Egypt and other ancient civilizations. The massage strokes are used in this style are gliding, friction, kneading, shaking, and tapping. It effectively treats most conditions served by massage. Known as traditional massage, you can find this style at most facilities that offer massage services.

Deep Tissue: Differing from deep pressure massage. This is a type of massage that includes work on the deep levels of muscle and connective tissue. The focus is to relieve specific tension and pain.

Hot Stone: This style uses heated stones either positioned on the body and/or used to apply light or deep pressure. Usually you will find this type of massage in local spas.

Eastern Medicine Modalities of Massage Therapy

Shiatsu: A Japanese form of acupressure. It uses a rhythmic pressure on specific points along the meridians (energy points) of the body, similar to acupuncture. The client does not undress, but wears loose comfortable clothing. A typical session could include range of motion and stretching. Additionally, within this modality there are six other variations.

Client in assisted cobra pose with Thai Massage (massage therapy type) practitioner
Client in assisted cobra pose with Thai Massage practitioner

Thai Massage:This vast style uses a combination of ancient healing methods similar to acupressure and yoga. Usually, the client is fully clothed and treated on a mat on the floor. Commonly, placed in passive stretches and positions similar to yoga poses. Additionally, the therapist works on the meridian (energy lines of energy points). Also, treatments can include herbal preparations used topically on the body in the form of Thai herbal balls.

Bodhi Sangha-School of Thai Massage offers ongoing training and treatments at the beautiful grounds in Gainesville, FL, with founder Ariela Grodner.

Energetic Types of Massage

Therapeutic Touch Massage: A laying on of hands technique that doesn’t touch the skin of the body. It focuses on the energetic field around the body called the human energy field. Developed in the 70’s by nurse and professor Dolores Krieger.

Polarity Therapy: Created by Dr. Randolph Stone, he used his knowledge of the Ayurveda system of India, Osteopathy, Chinese medicine, yoga, and Chiropractic training. The practitioner places their hands on two points of the body at the same time. Connecting the opposite electrical poles of the body to improve the flow of energy.

You can find a practitioner through the American Polarity Therapy Association.

Reiki: Japanese for universal life energy. This technique is done by gently placing the hands in specific positions on or above the clients body. Developed by a Christian monk in Japan, Dr. Mikao Usui and it was introduced to the U.S. by Hawayo Takata.

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Advanced Styles of Massage

These styles of massage therapy require that an already Licensed Massage Therapist receive a substantial amount of advanced training.

Rolfing: Also, known as structural integration it was created by biochemist Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1930’s. It is a series of ten specific sessions including deep tissue work and myofascial manipulation. This creates alignment, lengthening, and integration of the postures of the body.

Neuromuscular Therapy: This approach uses the balance of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Helping people recovery from acute and chronic pain issues. It is a precise system helps eliminate painful patterns.

Alexander Technique: An awareness method for identifying negative physical habits of incorrect movements and posture. Developed by Dr. F. Matthias Alexander who figured out how to treat his chronic ailments. It teaches the appropriate ways to use the correct amount of effort along with particular activities. It is popular with actors, musicians, and dancers.

Breathe slowly Breathe Deeply text and a woman with her hand over her heart
The breath is always with us and a way to instantly calm ourselves.

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If you find it hard to get to a professional, you always have the option of self-massage. There are many tools that make it easier for you to perform massage therapy techniques on yourself or for those hard to reach areas.

In conclusion:

There are many modalities of massage therapy and they undoubtedly all have benefits. Whether the treatment is based on energy healing, physical movement, or ancient tradition, massage treatments are one of the most affordable and least invasive ways to treat many different issues of the body.

Seek a professional therapist by searching for the association related to the specific style, massage association, or with your local search engine.

Gina holding the yoga prayer hands posture namaste hands
Gina Scianimanico, LMT, photo credit Lairet-Sorensen Photography

For over a decade, Gina has been a practicing Licensed Massage Therapist in Florida. Over the years she has added personal trainer, yoga teacher, and certified continuing education to her resume. She specializes in senior care, mobility, post injury care. Above all, sharing knowledge is her passion.

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