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 outsomes 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):
- Swedish Massage
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Sports Massage
- Clinical or sometimes inaccurately referred to as Medical Massage. (Medical massage is not so much one techinque or type of massage, but more of a marketing term to describe massage applied to medical conditions.)
- Pregnancy Massage – not a specific type of massage but any type of massage applied to pregnant women.
- Foot massage or Reflexology
- Myofascial Release or Myofascial Therapy
- Structural Integration – Rolfing, Hellerwork, ZenTherapy, and other therapies based on the 10 session protocols of Ida Rolf.
- Triggerpoint Therapy – sometimes confused with myofascial therapy or thought to be the same as myofascial work as in myofascial triggerpoint therapy
- Thai Massage – a type of massage that has origins in Thailand but has been greaty Americanized.
- Lymphatic Drainage
- Hot Stone Massage
- Chair Massage
- Couples Massage