Although there are over 150 different types of massage techniques practiced throughout the world, less than 30 are used regularly in spas and clinics.
Just like a handyman must learn how to fix a variety of problems to repair our appliances, a massage therapist must learn different techniques of massage in order to address and maintain our bodies.
However, to help correct and ease the pain of specific issues, you must be familiar with several types of massage therapy in order to know how to fix the problem.
These popular types of massage (and other related therapies) are often found in spas, clinics and private practices.Massage Techniques
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a class which teaches how to actually stretch your client's muscles before therapy.
Acupressure often used as firm pressure on specific muscle issues by using thumbs, fingertips, knuckles or elbows.
Alexander Technique is not one of the techniques of massage, but rather a method of self-care that teaches how to function with more ease and less strain to change bad postural habits.
Animal Massage is given to horses, dogs, cats and other animals to release muscles and tightness in joints.
Aromatherapy Massage uses essential oils to create aromas that are relaxing and soothing to the recipient.
Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy (AOBT) is a modification of ancient styles of barefoot massage.
Asian techniques include Shiatsu, Ashiatsu (using feet), acupressure, Tui Na, Ayurvedic, Qigong or Chi Nei Tsang, which are all different forms of Asian massage and bodywork.
Ayurvedic Massage uses organic oils and massage strokes which have been used in India for centuries to treat various health issues.
Baby Massage (or infant massage) includes slow, gentle strokes with little pressure to help create a calm, relaxing state for babies with colic or sleeping problems.
Bamboo Massage uses bamboo stalks and Swedish strokes to release fascia and muscle tension.
Bowen Therapy a non-invasive hands-on therapy (not one of the techniques of massage) performed by a certified Bowen practitioner who makes a series of short, gentle rolling moves using thumbs or fingers, with light pressure, across certain precise points on the body.
Breast Massage can be very beneficial for women to treat scar tissue, edema in breasts or lymph nodes, or breast pain and inflammation.
Cellulite Massage is a gentle massage to improve circulation in cellulite-pron areas of the body by helping it to soften and release over time.
Chair Massage or seated chair massage can help reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace or any other place where people are working and/or doing repetitive motions.
Chi Nei Tsang is a massage that concentrates on our core, the center of gravity in our body located in our abdomen, the area from the navel to the pubic bone.
Chinese Foot Massage often includes rubbing, kneading, and vigorous massage, which may be slightly painful at times, focusing on pressure points in the foot.
Chinese Massage (or Tui Na) often incorporates many Asian techniques of massage including acupressure, shiatsu, ashiatsu, and reflexology to create a proper flow of Qi (energy).
Couple Massage is where two people are in the same room and being massaged at the same time by two different massage therapists.
Craniosacral Massage is a light-touch massage which is used to release barriers in the craniosacral rhythm.
Deep Tissue Massage uses slow strokes with deep pressure to release tension.
Elderly Massage focuses on massage techniques for older people, with tips on how to work with them in a therapeutic environment.
Energy Work looks at different types of energy healing that therapists may choose to study after massage school.
Esalen Massage is designed to allow the body to re-connect with the mind to begin to attain true peace and serenity. Not considered one of the techniques of massage, but many therapists study it.
Equine Massage uses massage therapy to increase circulation, relax muscles, and improve muscle tone in horses.
Facial Massage teaches about types of facial massage, how to massage and the benefits of massaging the face.
Fibromyalgia Massage concentrates massage in the 18 primary pain points of the Fibromyalgia patient's body.
Full Body Massage is a common massage that relaxes you from head to toe using various types of massage therapy techniques.
Hawaiian Massage uses strokes with both hands on different parts of the body, mimicking the freedom of hula dance and the spirit within each of us.
Hellerwork is a structural integration therapy (not really one of the types of massage therapy) that uses deep tissue and movement education to educate on the connection of the body, mind and spirit.
Hot Stone Massage is treatment that incorporates smooth, warmed basalt stones to create a deep relaxation and stillness for the recipient. It is one of the massage often found in a day spa.
Indian Head Massage is one of the massage techniques that is performed just on the head, neck, and shoulders using traditional Indian scalp massage routines.
Japanese Massage is usually performed with the client fully clothed and uses hands, palms, fingertips, thumbs, and sometimes elbows of the therapist.
Kansa Vatki Foot Massage is one of the Ayurvedic massage techniques of foot massage, using either coconut oil or body butter.
Kansa Wand Face Massage is a wonderful stress reducing, gentle face lifting technique that uses a bronze capped massage wand with organic oils.
Korean Massage uses massage techniques to create a positive energy flow throughout the body.
Lomilomi used by ancient Hawaiian culture for its support of physical, mental and emotional health.
Mana Lomi®is clinically focused lomilomi, it is one of the types of Hawaiian massage.
Manual Lymph Drainage massage is performed for clients who experience edema in legs, arms, abdomen and other areas of the body.
Massage Cupping creates suction and negative pressure which is used to release tight muscles, loosen scar tissue, relax connective tissue, and increase blood flow.
Medical Massage is an outcome-focused massage which deals with specific issues associated with conditions of the body.
Myofascial Massage releases knots and trigger points within the fascia to allow it to return to a normal, flexible state.
Oriental Massage includes many massage techniques: (TuiNa (push and pull), Amno (rub and press), Dian Xue (acupressure points), and Wai Qi Liao Fa (energy work).
Pregnancy Massage provides a natural way to reduce anxiety, pain, depression, and stress hormone levels in expectant mothers.
Raindrop Therapy uses essential oils to bring structural and electrical alignment to the body.
Reflexology is a treatment based on the idea that there are areas of the feet, hands, and ears that create responses in other parts of the body when pressure points are stimulated.
Relaxation Massage typically is a full body, head to toe massage using a minimal amount of pressure.
Rolfing is a structural integration of the soft connective tissue to align the major body segments.
Shiatsu Massage uses various styles of Japanese massage techniques to achieve results and focuses on pressure points with fingers, thumbs and palms of hands.
Sports Massage can help prevent injury in because it helps to condition the muscles and stimulates circulation of the blood and lymph.
Swedish Massage uses traditional massage techniques such as effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, and friction as well as flowing strokes with light pressure.
Thai Body Massage includes stretches and beep breathing and is often performed with the client clothed.
Therapeutic Massage is a manipulation of the muscles and tissues of the body to alleviate pain, discomfort, and stress.
Tibetan Blissful Sleep Massage starts with a unique form of foot massage, working on the reflexes and gentle stretches that ease tension in the head, neck, shoulder, spine and help revitalize the internal organs especially the adrenals
Trigger Point Therapy involves working on muscles that have referred pain.
Visceral Manipulation is a gentle therapy that focuses on the organ ligaments of the body and their ability to move freely.
Watsu is a technique that floats and stretches a client in warm water in order to release chronic pain conditions of the body.
Zero Balancing is a combination body energy and body structure work which help to connect with the deepest level of energy flow in the body-the skeletal system.
Learn many different techniques with this 7-volume DVD set Deep Tissue Massage and Myofascial Release: A Video Guide to Techniques by C.M.T. Art Riggs, Certified Advanced Rolfer. It is a loaded with instruction useful to massage therapists who want to expand their skills and learn not only massage techniques, but working with medical conditions and pain syndromes.