Our bodies are pretty good informing us when we need a massage – if only they were also as good in letting us know the type of massage that would benefit them the most. There are various kinds of massage, even though the majority of people are only conversant with the Swedish massage, since it’s the most common.

If you’re just starting to explore or are interested in knowing more about other kinds of massage, all you have to do is read on. With information about the various kinds of massage, it will be easier for you to determine the type of massage that will benefit you the most. Let’s get started!


Hot stone massage

A hot stone massage uses heated stones to ease tension, relieve pain, and improve blood flow. The massage therapist will normally place the stones in hot water before using them on your body. Basalt, a type of volcanic rock is widely used for hot stone massage session, since it has high iron content that allows it to retain heat effectively.

This kind of massage is more similar to a Swedish massage, only that the therapist will used heated stones in combination with their hands. During a hot stone massage, the therapist can hold a stone as they massage your body using different Swedish massage techniques. They may also use cold stones, depending on the situation and the result they intend to achieve.

A hot stone massage has the following benefits:

  • Improves blood flow
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Relieves stress
  • Eases muscle tension
  • Alleviates pain

Sports Massage

This kind of massage has been specially formulated with athletes in mind. It’s more of a variation to the Swedish massage and aims to eliminate aches associated with repetitive motion. It’s mainly used to help active people recover from stress and injury quickly and easily.

A sports massage is not only used to relieve anxiety, pain, and muscle tension; it can also be applied where one wants to achieve better flexibility and performance. This kind of massage can either be done as a full-body massage or the therapist may choose to focus on the body parts that require the most attention.

For sports massage, deep pressure can be combined with soothing strokes depending on the results you want to achieve. There has been enough evidence to show that sports massage can help patients to recover from repetitive muscly injury. There has also been some evidence linked with suggesting that sports massage can help to improve muscle performance, even though the results are not conclusive.

Swedish massage

This is a kind of gentle, full-body massage that is perfect for people who:

  • Have a lot of tension
  • Are new to massage
  • Are sensitive to touch

This type of massage is highly effective in releasing muscle knots and is perfect for when someone wants to relax fully during their massage. A Swedish massage typically lasts 60-90 minutes, with the massage therapist using a combination of the following techniques:

  • Deep circular motions
  • Vibration and tapping
  • Kneading
  • Passive joint movement techniques
  • Long, flowing strokes in the heart’s direction

Swedish massage can be useful to people who have stress, pain, and muscle problems. However, this kind of massage is not for everyone, taking into consideration that one study proved that Swedish massage did not help people with fibromyalgia compared to other kinds of massage.


Deep tissue massage

This kind of massage makes use of greater pressure compared to a Swedish massage. It’s the go-to massage when you have chronic muscle issues such as imbalance, injury, and soreness. Deep tissue massage is also effective in relieving anxiety, tight muscles, and chronic muscle pain. This type of massage aims to reach the deeper layers of muscles as well as connective tissue.

During your massage session, the therapist slowly presses their fingers into your skin, gradually increasing the pressure. They will then use slow, firm strokes with the aim of reaching the deep tissues. The massage session typically lasts for 60-90 minutes, and is, in the majority of cases, used to target muscle knots. Even though deep tissue massage is usually intense, you should not feel any soreness or pain during your session.


Shiatsu massage

This Japanese style of massage is mainly used to eliminate blockages that prevent the body’s Qi or energy force from flowing freely. The therapist uses various kinds of techniques and may use their feet, elbows, and even knees as they work to ease out tension from the joints, back, and limbs.

This kind of massage is typically meant to work for the whole body, even though your massage therapist may focus more on the parts of your body that require extra attention. This type of massage can be used to:

  • Relieve headache
  • Eliminate stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Enhance physical and emotional calm, as well as relaxation
  • Relieve muscle tension



Reflexology, also referred to as relaxation massage in some cases, is a type of massage that is best for persons who want to restore their natural energy levels, or simply relax. It’s one of the best options if you’re not comfortable with being touched on the entire body.

Reflexology mainly uses varying pressure on specific pressure points of the ears, feet, and hands, with the aim of benefiting other parts of your body. This kind of massage lasts 30-60 minutes, and is effective in ensuring complete relaxation and alleviating pain.


The takeaway

Getting a massage is, utterly beneficial to your body, mind, and emotions. However, you should not always concentrate on one type of massage. Experimenting with the various types of massage discussed in this book is a good idea. In addition, you should also consider having your massage done by different therapists to determine the type of massage as well as the provider that is most ideal for your body.

Be as open as possible, and never fail to discuss your intentions and expectations with your massage therapist. You should also speak up if you feel that there’s something that you aren’t comfortable with. It’s also advisable to consult your doctor before getting any kind of massage if you have any health conditions or concerns.