Prevention & Recovery

7 Types of Massages (And Which One Is Right For You)

7 Types of Massages (And Which One Is Right For You)

Photo by Shutterstock/e

Prevention & Recovery

7 Types of Massages (And Which One Is Right For You)

If you’re looking for a moment of relaxation, relief from aches and pains, or increased circulation, there’s a massage to meet your needs. Read on to find the very best treatment for you.

Dating back thousands of years, massage therapy is a tried-and-true technique to boost both physical and mental wellness. The popularity of this type of therapy throughout the world means that we’re spoiled for choice. From Swedish to Shiatsu and everything in between, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular massage techniques so you can book your next appointment with confidence. Plus, we've put together a few expert tips to make the most out of your massage experience.



One of the best-known forms of massage therapy in North America, Swedish massage combines stroking, kneading, tapping, vibration and percussion. Lighter, gentler movements are directed toward the heart and are used to relieve stress and promote relaxation. This type of massage can even improve circulation and the immune system.



Addressing psychological and emotional needs in addition to physical, Californian massage uses long and fluid movements to pro- mote rejuvenation and healing on all levels. Founded in the 1970s, the goal is for clients to experience mindfulness and reconnect with the body. Like Swedish massage, the Californian variety also relieves muscle tension, and is best known for its relaxation benefits.


Lomi Lomi

Steeped in history and culture, the Lomi Lomi massage originated in Hawaii, where it was practiced by healers to create harmony among the four elements—earth, water, air and fire. The technique includes stretching, kneading and acupressure and is performed predominately with the forearms to evoke the motion of waves, but fingertips, elbows and hands are also used. Also known as the “loving hands” massage, this technique aims to restore balance and energy while enhancing overall well-being.



A traditional Japanese technique, the Anma massage includes a broad range of movements, including press­ ing, kneading, rubbing, tapping and vibration, at specific energy points and meridians in the body. Motions are directed away from the heart, with a goal of promoting the healthy flow of energy and circulation while reducing muscle tension and stress. This practice is done without oil and while wearing light clothing.



Derived from the principles of Anma, Shiatsu, which means “finger pres­sure” in Japanese, is one of the most well-­known forms of acupressure. This massage involves applying pressure to the body’s acupressure points with not only fingers, but also palms, elbows and knees, to promote energy flow and address tension, pain, fatigue and stress. Performed through clothing and without oils, a session can also include stretching and body manipulation.



Incorporating whole­-body move­ments and yoga-­like stretches, Thai massage puts the client in a more active role as opposed to passively lying on a table or bed. Acupressure techniques are also included along­ side assisted yoga to relieve ten­ sion, increase flexibility, lower stress and boost energy. Thai massage is associated with principles of Buddhism, like mindfulness, and works with energy lines for total wellness.


Jin Shin Do

Introduced in the 1970s by an Ameri­can psychotherapist, Jin Shin Do combines the theory of acupressure with newer Western research that associates emotions with different points in the body. This combination of Eastern and Western learnings is used to release both emotional and physical tension.



Share X
Prevention & Recovery

7 Types of Massages (And Which One Is Right For You)