There are many types of hands on therapies: some that are specifically massage therapy, others just classified as massage because it is hands on therapy. The current definitions of massage, massage therapy, massage therapy practice are:
Massage is a patterned and purposeful soft-tissue manipulation accomplished by use of digits, hands, forearms, elbows, knees and/or feet, with or without the use of emollients, liniments, heat and cold, hand-held tools or other external apparatus, for the intent of therapeutic change.
Massage therapy consists of the application of massage and non-hands-on components, including health promotion and education messages, for self-care and health maintenance; therapy, as well as outcomes, can be influenced by: therapeutic relationships and communication; the therapist’s education, skill level, and experience; and the therapeutic setting.
Outcome Based Massage (aka Benefits of Massage)
The many different types of massage do not matter as much as the outcome that is achieved with massage. You can achieve the same outcomes with most any type of massage. The main outcomes of massage are:
- Stress Management
- Pain Management
- Functional Mobility
Types of Massage
There are many types of massage. The type of massage doesn’t matter as much as the outcome of the session, but the various types provide structure for giving the massage. All of the various types of massage can be applied in ways to create well-being/relaxation, reduce stress, reduce pain and increase mobility. The type of massage does not matter as much as the person applying the type of massage. The most common type of of massage that you see in lists of services on many massage therapist’s websites include (but are not limited to):
- Acupressure: A traditional Chinese medicine technique.
- Amma Therapy: Integrates traditional Chinese medicine principles with Western anatomy.
- Anma: Traditional Japanese massage without oils.
- Aromatherapy Massage: Uses essential oils to address specific needs.
- Asian Massage – many types of massage are included in this category. Many illicit businesses hide behind the front of Asian massage.
- Ashiatsu: “Barefoot massage” where the therapist uses their feet.
- Ayurvedic Massage: Based on ancient Indian principles.
- Balinese Massage: A combination of acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy.
- Bamboo Massage: Uses hollow bamboo canes.
- Bioenergetic Analysis: Understands personality in terms of the body’s energetic processes.
- Bowen Technique: Gentle touch therapy.
- Chair Massage: Short massage in a seated position.
- Craniosacral Therapy: Aims to improve fluid movement and cranial bone motion.
- Cupping Therapy: Uses suction cups.
- Deep Connective Tissue Massage: Focuses on deeper layers of muscles.
- Deep Tissue Massage: Targets deeper muscles and fascia.
- Esalen Massage: Uses long strokes, gentle rocking, and stretching.
- Feldenkrais Method: A form of somatic education.
- Four-Handed Massage: Two therapists work simultaneously.
- Geriatric Massage: Tailored for the elderly.
- Hellerwork: Integrates body alignment with verbal dialogue.
- Hot Stone Massage: Uses heated stones.
- Hydrotherapy: Uses water in various forms.
- Indian Head Massage: Focuses on the head, neck, and shoulders.
- Infant Massage: For bonding and relief of infant ailments.
- LaStone Therapy: Combines hot and cold stones.
- Lomi Lomi: Traditional Hawaiian massage.
- Lymphatic Drainage: Stimulates the body’s lymphatic system.
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage: Drains excess lymph fluid.
- Medical Massage: Any type of massage that is works to create outcomes of reducing pain, rehabilitating injuries and conditions,
- Myofascial Release: Focuses on releasing fascial restrictions.
- Neuromuscular Therapy: Pressure on specific trigger points.
- Orthopedic Massage: Addresses specific pain and injury.
- Polarity Therapy: Balances energy fields.
- Pregnancy or Prenatal Massage: For expectant mothers.
- Reflexology: Pressure points on feet, hands, or ears.
- Reiki: A form of energy healing.
- Rolfing & Structural Integration: For body realignment and posture.
- Russian Massage: Therapeutic and sports massage techniques.
- Shiatsu: Japanese bodywork with finger pressure.
- Somatic Therapy: Promotes awareness of body sensations.
- Sports Massage: For athletes and injury prevention/recovery.
- Swedish Massage: Known for relaxation.
- Thai Herbal Ball Massage: Uses a heated herb package.
- Thai Massage: Combines stretching and deep massage.
- Trigger Point Therapy: Focuses on muscle trigger points.
- Tui Na: Chinese therapeutic massage.
- Vibration Therapy: Uses vibrating equipment.
- Vinotherapy: Uses grapevine products, like grape seeds and wine.
- Watsu: Aquatic bodywork in warm water.
- Zero Balancing: Integrates Western science with Eastern energy concepts.