20 Most Common Types of Massages and their Benefits Explained

Massages have been used as a healing and relaxation technique for thousands of years. By manipulating the tissues and muscles of a recipient using a combination of pressure, rubbing, stroking, and even heat, various health benefits have been observed.

Main Benefits of Massages

According to the American Massage Association, recent research shows the benefits of massaging for a variety of issues:

  • Fatigue or pain caused by cancer
  • Back pain and stiffness
  • Osteoarthritis in the knee
  • Post-operative recovery and pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome relief
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Boosting immune system function
  • Decreasing frequency of headaches
  • Blood pressure
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Based on data collected between July 2016 to July 2017, here are the primary reasons people in the US get a massage:

Primary Reasons People in the US get a Massage

Other interesting data points:

  • 89% of respondents agree massage is effective for pain relief
  • 61% of physicians have recommended massaging to their patients

Major Types of Massages

There are over 80 known massage types out there, each with its own unique characteristics. In this post I’ll go over the 20 most common ones readily available and their benefits, from helping with stress relief, injury recovery, to pain management. Being aware of what different types of massages can do for you is an first important step in maximizing the benefits you derive from it. So without further ado…

1. Active Release Therapy

Active Release Therapy/ TechniqueActive Release Therapy/Technique (ART) was developed nearly thirty years ago by Dr. P. Michael Leahy. The idea of Active Release Therapy originated for elite athletes to return to peak performance as quickly as possible, without the long-windedness of a full massage. ART treats minor soft tissue disorders within the:

  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Fascia
  • Nerves

Active Release Technique, though originally developed for athletes, can be beneficial for anyone. It directly aims to release built-up scar tissue within the deep muscle, which occurs when the muscles are overused for an extended period of time.

In fact, ART is the only soft tissue manipulation therapy that directly repairs the muscle’s full range of motion because it directly targets the underlying issues within the muscle.

Muscle overuse happens from long bouts of exercise, as well as normal daily activities like walking, grocery shopping, a more active job (such as a teacher or construction worker, etc.), taking your dog around the neighborhood, and cooking.

ART Specialists are trained in over 500 specific stretching techniques. These techniques cover all major muscle groups, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings; upper back; shoulders; and chest. Each individual is unique, therefore there are no basic steps for a completion of an Active Release Therapy session. However, the overall protocol remains the same:

  1. The ART specialist uses his hands to identify scar tissue within the muscle.
  2. The specialist will then implement several trigger point methods using either his hands or small instruments to release the tension built within the scar tissue.
  3. The patient is asked to move that muscle through a specific range of motion.

ART sessions can last anywhere from 30-60 minutes and should never occur more than once a week, unless specifically addressed by the specialist.

Summary:

  • ART is a good option for high-training athletes with point-specific pain.
  • ART is the only type of massage therapy that directly deals with the underlying muscle and not the connective tissue, or fascia, above the muscle.

2. Swedish Massage Therapy

Swedish MassageThe Swedish Massage is the most widely known and used style of massage therapy. The name “Swedish Massage” is only used in English and Dutch speaking nations — all other countries refer to it as a “classic massage.” Either way, this method was developed, though inaccurately, by Per Henrik Ling. However, it was a Dutchman named Johann Georg Mezger that developed the French terms for the basic strokes of the massage style.

There are five basic strokes and/or styles in a Swedish massage:

  1. Effleurage (sliding and gliding)
  2. Petrissage (kneading)
  3. Tapotement (rhythmic tapping)
  4. Friction (with fibers or cross-fibers)
  5. Vibration / Shaking

These five stroke methods are used to relieve anywhere from mild to intense muscle pain, and the severity of each stroke reflects the amount of tightness held within the muscle. More specifically, Swedish massage has been shown to help alleviate:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain reduction
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Low back pain
  • Stress management / reduction

Swedish massages can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, unless a special case, and can be performed on any individual. However, if the person has past aches, pains, or injuries, it is best to let your masseuse know before continuing with any massage therapy.

Summary:

  • Swedish massage is preferred for those with stiff joints or more full-body pain.
  • The Swedish massage utilizes five different stroke methods to treat mild to intense pains across the whole body.

3. Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial Release TherapyMyofascial release is the most rudimentary type of massage therapy — so much so, in fact, that the individual does not need outside assistance to complete it! Myofascial release describes the breaking down of tight fascia, which is the fibrous layer of connective tissue above the muscle and under the skin. Fascia is what allows our body to move and hold different bodily positions, and when we feel surface-level muscle tightness, it is generally the fascia that is bunched and not the muscle underneath.

Myofascial release can be executed with several different instruments:

  • Foam roller
  • Lacrosse ball / tennis ball / softball / golf ball
  • Rumbler roller
  • HyperVice
  • Body Bar
  • Trigger Point balls and rollers

There are also two different styles of myofascial release techniques: active and passive. Active release therapy is when the client is tensing the affected areas, and is normally used with any of the above instruments. Passive release jtherapy is when the muscle is completely relaxed, and is normally used during soft tissue mobilization and trigger point massage.

Any individual can choose to either have a massage therapist inact myofascial release techniques upon tight muscles, or you can choose to do it yourself. It is more beneficial, however, to receive trigger point massage therapy to relieve fascia strain. Generally, this is the process:

  1. The practitioner will apply either gentle, sustained force on an area or gentle and light stretching, depending on the severity of the strain.
  2. They will use their fingers, knuckles, elbows, and any of the above tools to slowly break down the manipulated fascia.
  3. For direct myofascial release therapy, the practitioner will work slowly through each fascial layer until the strain is apprehended.
  4. For indirect myofascial release therapy, the practitioner will use both passive and active muscle tensing to gently rid the fascia of any strain.

Generally, myofascial release sessions can last up to a half hour, and can be utilized by anyone with tight muscles. In fact, myofascial release — while somewhat painful if using a direct method with a massage therapist — should be sought out first when dealing with tight muscles, as it serves many more direct benefits than a classic massage.

Summary:

  • Myofascial release therapy can be done either independently or with the help of a licensed massage therapist.
  • Myofascial release therapy specializes in releasing acute fascial pain.

4. Medical Massage

Medical MassageA medical massage is normally met with heaps of controversy, as it typically adopts many different styles of already present massage therapies. These include: deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, osteopathic techniques, and cranial-sacral techniques. However, a medical massage is still heavily utilized for decongestive therapy, which helps with breast cancer; pain alleviation; and palliative care, or dealing with the issue by focusing on surrounding pain and not the issue itself.

Overall, medical therapy can be used to treat a wide assortment of physical and mental ailments, such as:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced heat rate
  • Delayed onset of pain

Most anyone can benefit from medical massage therapies, though the degree of how much it helps varies from case to case. There is still some scrutiny about how much medical massage aids in mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, though classic massage has been shown to alleviate some mood swings and increase relaxation.

Methods and time durations for medical massages will also vary on a case by case basis.

Summary:

  • Medical massages are a good option for those suffering from medical pains.
  • A medical massage is used to help treat physical (stiff joints, etc.) and mental (anxiety, depression) pains.

5. Acupressure / Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupressure, or acupuncture, is a form of trigger point massage therapy that utilizes needles. It was originally developed as a facet of ancient Chinese medicine, and is used most commonly for pain relief. However, many consider acupuncture a pseudoscience because its methods are not based in scientific fact.

Acupuncture is also not considered to have long term benefits. However, many still utilize this practice for pain relief in the low back, shoulder stiffness, and knee pain, among other muscle stiffness and joint pains. Acupuncture can be performed in most clinical settings and massage parlors, though a skilled practitioner and clean needles are a must.

Generally anyone without an aversion to needles, and some who do, can participate in acupuncture therapy. Acupuncture is much more direct than other forms of massage therapy, and is brilliant for delving into the deep fascial layers. Typically, an acupuncture session is carried out by the practitioner pinpointing the affected areas and gently sliding the needle in to increase, and then alleviate, the pressure. There are also four different diagnostic methods:

  1. Inspection → focuses on the face and tongue, in particular. Specifically, the therapist looks for the size, shape, color, tension, and coating of the tongue, and whether or not it has teeth marks around the edge.
  2. Auscultation → focuses on wheezing sounds and bad body odor
  3. Olfaction → includes the same principles as Auscultation
  4. Inquiring → focuses on the “seven inquires” of the body: perspiration, chills/fever, thirst/taste, pain, sleep, defecation/urination, appetite, and blood and/or vaginal discharge.

The needle is generally inserted very quickly to minimize pain, and can be spun, flicked, or moved up and down to manipulate the fascial tissue. The needles are then stimulated by the therapist to increase the tension around them, called “needle grasp”, which helps to alleviate the pressure around the area once the needle is removed. Generally, this “needle grasp” is met with tingling, numbness, or tingling at the site.

Acupressure follows similar protocols, but without the invasiveness of needles.

Sessions vary in length, depending on the number of needles inserted and to how many areas, and how much the patient can withstand pain.

Summary:

  • Acupuncture is good for alleviating severe muscle tightness or pain in any aged person.
  • Acupuncture is preferred by those treating very site-specific injuries and tightness.

6. Cupping Therapy

Cupping TherapyCupping therapy is another massage technique that is ridiculed because its basis is not backed by hard scientific fact. Cupping therapies can actually be dated back to 3000BC, and since then has been used as an official method for short-term pain relief and for increased movement and blood flow.

Generally, cupping therapy is carried out by:

  1. The massage therapist will find a tight and/or sore area of the body
  2. Pressure is applied to the area by suctioning a cup onto the skin
  3. Pressure builds in the area as blood runs to the surface
  4. The cup remains on the body for a few minutes, depending on both the size of the cup and the amount of pain the muscle has been causing
  5. Sometimes, the practitioner will encourage the patient through a series of movements to further increase blood flow to the affected area
  6. The cup is removed

There are also three different cupping styles, which include:

  1. Dry Cupping → Dry cupping is most common, and generally focuses on creating a small area of pressure underneath the skin. Normally, the cup is latched onto softer skin because it can create a better seal around the cup, which increases the overall pressure. Cups ranging from one to three inches in diameter are used.
  2. Fire Cupping → Fire cupping includes glass cups, instead of plastic ones, and is carried out by soaking a cotton ball in near-pure alcohol, lighting it on fire, and quickly inserting it into the cup and onto the body. The cup stays in place because of the rapid heating and cooling of the glass cup. Cups can also glide across the skin in a practice called “moving cupping,” but only if massage oil is applied.
  3. Wet Cupping → Wet cupping draws blood out by creating a small incision, and all is held in place with a suction cup. It is very popular among Islamic culture.

Though cupping is seen as a pseudoscience and is claimed to have no health benefits, others swear by it for short-term health benefits. Studies are still inconclusive about the good or bad traits of this massage practice.

Cupping sessions generally take up to an hour and can be performed on nearly anyone.

Summary:

  • Cupping therapy is a good option for short term pain management or muscle tightness.
  • Cupping is preferred by those with more generalized pain over softer tissue.

7. Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral TherapyCraniosacral therapy is a gentle and non-invasive form of massage therapy that was developed in 1945. During a session, the client lays fully clothed upon the massage table while the therapist makes light contact with trigger point areas all along the body, though normally focusing on the head, torso, knees, and feet. This contact includes a combination of practices adopted from osteotherapy, bone-setting, and chiropractic work.

Craniosacral therapy has many benefits, including:

  • Alleviate chronic pain
  • Decrease headache and/or migraine severity
  • Decrease chronic fatigue
  • Decrease post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Decrease repercussions of trauma (any kind)
  • Post-surgical recovery

A session is meant to relax the patient into a state of sacral harmony. Nerve endings along the spinal cord are meant to work more harmoniously at the end of a session. In fact, some patients are so relaxed at the end of a craniosacral therapy session that they fall asleep or enter a dreamlike state.

Craniosacral therapy sessions also involve a lot of in-depth talking with your practitioner so that they can find the true source of your pain or discomfort. Sessions can last anywhere from one to two hours, and can be performed on any aged patient.

Summary:

  • Craniosacral therapy is a good option for those suffering from injury recovery and/or trauma.
  • Craniosacral therapy utilizes the nerves within the spinal cord to release tension from the rest of the body via nerve signals.

8. Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger Point TherapyTrigger point therapy, which is often mistaken for pressure point therapy, deactivates trigger points anywhere along the body that may cause mild or severe pain. Painful trigger points can result in muscle strain, pain, or even headaches. Trigger point therapy was first mapped by Janet G. Travell, who worked with President Kennedy, and David Simmons. However, it was not until 2007 that trigger points were mapped with MRI scans.

Generally, trigger point follows very similar protocols as other massage practices. A tender and painful spot is found, and pressure is applied to relieve this pain. However, unlike classic massage, trigger point delves deep into the fascial layer to release tension at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), which differentiates it from other massage therapies.

Trigger point sessions can last anywhere from ten minutes up to an hour, though it is normally intense and somewhat painful, so some caution for longer sessions apply. It can also be utilized by any aged patient, and is generally reserved for intense, painful muscle strain.

Summary:

  • Trigger point therapy is preferred by those with very intense and site-specific pain.
  • Trigger point therapy focuses on instant relief of intense joint or muscle pain by applying direct pressure with a thumb, elbow, or other extremity.

9. Thai Massage Therapy

Thai Massage

The Thai massage has been utilized since BE 2556, and for good reason. A classic Thai massage is an ancient practice that combines Indian Ayurvedic principles, acupressure, and some assisted yoga poses to alleviate painful muscles tensions.

A participant is clothed during the session in loose-fitting clothes. While muscle relaxation is the goal, the practitioner utilizes pulling, stretching, compression, and rocking with the patient instead of hands-on body work through kneading and pressure.

A Thai massage generally follows specific body lines, called “sen,” and can last up to two hours. As each practitioner and participant have their own styles, each session is different. However, some basic guidelines still apply:

  • The practitioner may use their hands and feet to position the recipient
  • Pulling forces are utilized, such as: knuckle cracking; pulling fingers, toes, and ears; walking upon someone’s back; and moving the participant’s body through a multitude of basic yoga poses

All of these criteria must be met, though each therapist has their own personal style. Anyone can benefit from a Thai massage, however, if looking for more invasive techniques, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Summary:

  • A Thai massage is a method of non-invasive therapy used by those who require ample stretching.
  • A Thai massage is preferred for those who do not have any site-specific pains or strains.

10. Reflexology

Reflexology, or “zone therapy,” is another nontraditional method of massage therapy. Reflexology utilizes the body’s natural reflexes in the hands and feet of the participant through a series of specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or other balms.

During a session, which varies from practitioner to practitioner, the body is broken up into ten varies zones: five on the left and five on the right. It is believed that the pressure applied to the feet travels through these “zones” through nerve signals, which helps to alleviate muscle tension and pain throughout the body. It is also thought to release some hormones, such as dopamine or endorphins, to help alleviate pain.

However, this evidence is not entirely backed by research. Therefore, reflexology can be utilized for short term and mild pain relief, but should not be sought out for severe medical problems. Even still, any aged person with mild pain can utilize reflexology, and sessions can last up to an hour for more extreme cases.

Summary:

  • Reflexology is a good option for those looking for a short-term solution for mild pain.
  • Reflexology breaks the body down into ten “zones” and utilizes nerves signals to release muscle tension.

11. Biodynamic Massage Therapy

Biodynamic Massage TherapyBiodynamic is another form of pseudoscience therapy. It was developed by Gerda Boyesen in Norway in the 1950s. However, it did not become a rock-solid, teachable therapy until approximately 1969, when Boyesen established the Gerda Boyesen Training School.

Unlike most massage therapies, biodynamic focuses on re-regulating the digestive system. Boyesen believed that the digestive tract included two main functions: primarily, to digest physical foodstuffs, and secondarily to digest emotionally stressful situations. Only once the body is void of stress can the emotional system finally digest, Boyesen had argued. Therefore, massage therapists wear a stethoscope during sessions to keep a better gauge on the GI Tract itself.

Sessions can last anywhere up to an hour, and any and all ages can participate. Generally, massage therapists will manipulate skin, bone, muscle, fascia, and auras through a series of touching techniques.

Summary:

  • Biodynamic massages are good for those with digestive issues or undergoing incredible stress.
  • A biodynamic massage focuses on re-regulating the digestive system in order to increase emotional digestion.

12. Lomilomi Massage Therapy

Lomilomi massage therapy was brought by original Polynesian settlers to Hawaii. Everyone from clan chiefs to children practiced lomilomi, or “lomi” on the islands, which translates to “to knead, to rub, or soothe; to work in and out, as the paws of a contented cat,” or “to take and turn, to shift… the sacred shift within you that is inspired by the healing kahuna.” It’s said twice within the name to bring emphasis to its gifts.

Lomilomi massage uses a combination of palms, knuckles, forearms, fingers, elbows, knees, feet, and even sticks and stones found on the islands. Traditionally, Lomilomi was used by natives to:

  • As a healing practice for the native healers
  • As restorative massage within the family
  • As a luxury and digestion aid
  • As practice for the masters of the Hawaiian martial arts (ʻōlohe lua)

However, not everyone could be a massage therapist. Therapists — called ka poʻe lomilomi (the massage people) or kanaka lomi (massage person) — were chosen due to a series of events occurring at or around their birth, up until the age of five, such as: weather events, birthmarks, and kind behavior.

Today, traditional lomilomi is hardly seen within a clinical or spa setting, as natives believe that it tarnishes the practice. Instead, practices are normally very private, and usually include the massage therapist encouraging their patient to adopt new mood and diet behaviors.

Even still, lomilomi practices mirror a traditional Swedish massage. Its foundation is based in martial art, and includes long and sweeping arm movements. Other methods include:

  • Range of motion work, specifically at tight joints
  • Deep-tissue techniques
  • Loving touch

Sessions can last anywhere up to ninety minutes, and can — and should! — be utilized by any aged individuals.

Summary:

  • LomiLomi is an ancient Hawaiian massage that is preferred by those who suffer from general aches and pains.
  • LomiLomi massage adopts techniques from a Swedish massage and focuses on touch.

13. Ashiatsu Therapy

Ashiatsu massage therapy is derived from Chavutti Thirumal, a deep-tissue massage practice that utilizes the feet and legs. It was first developed in the Kerala region of India, and has since made its way overseas.

Ashiatsu is a barefoot style of massage, where the masseuse holds onto either a rope or parallel bars above the client and presses into their back with their feet. It requires a lot of oil and a lot of patience. It also utilizes the sesamoid, heel, arch, and/or whole plantar surface of the foot to deliver treatment.

The feet are chosen in this ancient practice because the foot offers wide compression, shear forces, and tension without the pain normally associated with the elbow. It is most ideal for large muscles in the legs and back, and also for long-duration compression upon the trapezius muscle in the upper back.

Because of its strange nature, Ashiatsu is hard to come by in a typical spa or clinical setting. However, if found, it can be proved beneficial for someone with tight muscles and sensitive skin, as it’s less invasive than other deep tissue offerings.

Summary:

  • Ashiatsu is a very invasive massage style that is good for those who suffer from back injuries.
  • Ashiatsu focuses on using the feet to release muscle tension.

14. Aquatic Bodywork Therapy

What makes aquatic bodywork so unique is that it is performed either while floating, partially submerged, or entirely submerged in water. It follows a wide range of therapeutic exercises and stretches, specifically for relaxation, fitness, and rehabilitation. More specifically, applications can be used to fix:

  • Spinal pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Neurological disorders
  • Postoperative orthopedic rehabilitation
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Pediatric diabetes treatment

There are also several different types of aquatic bodywork techniques. Generally, the practice is utilized by those who have difficulty walking and/or moving above ground. Some techniques used include:

  • Aqua Running → Cardiovascular conditioning that usually involves running or jogging in the water. It’s used for either injured athletes or someone looking for low-impact aerobic work.
  • Halliwick Concept → Focuses on the development of balance and core stability. It’s most commonly used with physically disabled patients to teach motor control.
  • Watsu → Induces deep relaxation and provide therapeutic benefit through a series of deep stretches and flowing movements. It’s mostly used by those with injured and disabled people, most notably with neurological disabilities.
  • Ai Chi → Diaphragmatic breathing techniques and basic resistance training. This is widely used by those who require basic strengthening in an injured body.
  • Bad Ragaz Ring Method → Rehabilitation of neuromuscular functions. Typically, the patient is taken through a series of patterned exercises while lying face-up in the water. Their neck, pelvis, knees, and arms are supported by rings or floats.
  • Burdenko Method → Develops balance, coordination, flexibility, strength, endurance, and speed using similar methods as professional athletes, just in water. It also uses floating equipment to challenge the client to stand in vertical positions, moving at varying speeds, and move in multiple directions.

Summary:

  • Aquatic bodywork is a good option for those suffering from instability and imbalance.
  • Aquatic bodywork combines core stability work, stretching, and movement to regain one’s balance and coordination.

15. Burmese Massage Therapy

Burmese massage is a strange combination of Thai, Chinese, and Indian styles of active medicine. It is a full-body massage that utilizes kneading, acupuncture, and kneading to release stress from the body. It aims to increase blood flow around tight muscles and joints, promote better skin quality, and improve sleep.

There are a few key movements that define the Burmese method from other massage therapies, including:

  • Using the elbow to apply accupressure
  • Gentle knocking of accupressure points, also using the elbows
  • Using the hands to knead tight muscles

Essentially, Burmese is a more ancient form of pressure point therapy, and therefore should only be used by those who are in pain due to tight muscles. Sessions can vary in length depending on the severity of tightness.

Summary:

  • Burmese massage is a combination of Thai, Chinese, and Indian methodologies.
  • Burmese massage is a good option for those suffering from blood flow restriction and tight joints.

16. Structural Integration Therapy / Rolfing

Structural Integration therapy, or Rolfing, is another form of alternative medicine. It was developed by Ida Rolf in the late 1800s, and its goal is to combine superficial and deep tissue therapy work with movement prompts. Rolf believed that the body contained a special “energy field” that benefited when aligned with the Earth’s gravitational field, and works to realign the body’s fascia with the Earth’s gravitational field.

However, it is not entirely proved whether or not Rolfing is effective for long-term health benefits.

Like deep tissue work, Structural Integration therapy works on manipulating the fascial layers of the body. It’s known to be quite painful. Rolfing is normally done in a ten-step series called “The Recipe.”

  • The first three sessions focus on the superficial fascial layers
  • The next four work on the deeper tissues, especially in the pelvis
  • The final sessions encompass the entire body

Typically, sessions last anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Though it can be painful either during or after the sessions, Rolfing has been used on all age groups — from children to the elderly — and normally involves sitting, lying, and standing.

Summary:

  • Structural Integration therapy is broken up into ten sessions that each focus on a specific fascial layer.
  • Rolfing is a good option for those who suffer from mild to severe fascial strain.

17. BioMechanical Stimulation (BMS) Therapy

BioMechanical Stimulation is unlike any other type of massage therapy, specifically because the practitioner does not use their hands for the procedure. Rather, the client lays flat upon a table, either face up or face down, and is attached to a stimulation machine. The stimulation machine utilizes biomechanical oscillation to stimulate the tightened fascia.

Biomechanical stimulation therapy is normally used for athletes and fitness professionals. More specifically, it is widely utilized by those participating in:

  • Competitive sports
  • Sports rehabilitation
  • Fitness
  • Medicine

BioMechanical stimulation is used to improve performance, balance, and coordination by releasing tension among the fascial layers. Often times, it’s also used alongside trigger point therapies for maximal results.

Though utilized most by fitness professionals, BioMechanical Stimulation is also widely used by chiropractors to release tension in strained joints. Therefore, any man, woman, or child facing an injury can benefit from BMS therapy. Sessions never last long — up to fifteen minutes — and the severity of the stimulation is based upon the person’s own pain tolerance and muscle tension.

Summary:

  • BioMechanical stimulation is a good option for those suffering from poor performance due to tight fascial layers.
  • BioMechanical stimulation can be used in both a home and clinical setting.

18. Amatsu

Amatsu Massage TherapyAmatsu is a form of therapeutic bodywork that aims to release tension by working with both the soft tissue and fascia. It is derived from some ancient Japanese practices and a blending of current anatomy, physiology, and movement practices. During a session, practitioners attempt to utilize natural movement to create tiny changes in the body and realign the joints using light movements; no harsh strength is involved. This can be used in the: tendons, ligaments, muscles, soft tissue, and fascia.

Most notably, Amatsu looks for the interaction of five factors in order to give more life back to the body. Its practices invite space within the body so that the joints can move freely, as they are supposed to. The five factors include:

  • Structure
  • Energy
  • Nutrition
  • Emotion
  • Environment

It is believed that aligning these five factors are interdependent and depend upon one another for a fully functioning body. Therefore, this work aims to realign both the fascia and all five factors to relieve tension from the body.

Because it is non-invasive, all age groups can participate in Amatsu. Sessions generally last up to an hour.

Summary:

  • Amatsu is a non-invasive massage therapy perfect for those suffering from acute muscle strains and tension.
  • Amatsu is derived from a Japanese style massage that works to “invite space” back into the body.

19. Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

Lymphatic drainage therapy is supposed to drain the lymphs, which carry waste products away from the tissues and back towards the heart. Lymphatic drainage uses both pressure and rhythmic movements to encourage lymph drainage. Since both the smooth and hard muscles are required to drain the lymphs in a normally functioning system, this practice soothes the muscles and allows the lymphs to drain.

Lymphatic drainage was developed by Emil and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s. It became widespread in France after World War II, when they noticed that several soldiers had swollen lymph nodes.

Today, however, there is no clear indication that lymphatic drainage therapy has any long-term health benefits. Men and women of all ages can have the therapy performed in a clinical setting only, and sessions vary in length depending on the severity of the lymphs nodes.

Summary:

  • Lymphatic drainage therapy is used primarily for short-term relaxation of the smooth muscles.
  • Lymphatic drainage is a good option for those with a clinical inability for lymph drainage.

20. Hot Stone Massage

Stone MassageA hot stone massage is a derivative of the Swedish massage that utilizes hot stones along the body. The stones are normally made from basalt, a style of volcanic rock, and are normally heated up to 145 degrees fahrenheit. These stones can be placed in many areas along the body, most notably:

  • The spine
  • The chest
  • The face
  • The stomach
  • The hands / palms
  • The feet / toes

Like a classic Swedish massage, the practitioner utilizes kneading, long strokes, circular movements, vibrations, and tapping during the massage to stimulate the muscle and release tension from the fascia. This method is used, most commonly, to relax damaged muscles and soft tissues.

There are many benefits to a hot stone massage, including:

  • Relief of muscle tension and pain
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Boost immunity
  • Decrease some cancerous symptoms
  • Improve sleep
  • Can help to ward off some attributes of autoimmune diseases

Even with the hot stones, there is no age restriction on a hot stone massage. However, young children should be wary of this massage without a parent or guardian present. It is also most beneficial for those who are dealing with overt muscle soreness or pain, or some emotional traumas, such as depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness.

Summary:

  • A hot stone massage is a derivative of the Swedish massage therapy style.
  • Hot stone massages are good for those suffering from more intense muscle pain, specifically along the spine, abdomen, chest, or face.

References

  • Active Release Technique, 2018. <http://www.activerelease.com/ART-for-Patients.asp>
  • Acupuncture, 2018. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture>
  • Amatsu, 2018. <https://www.amatsutherapyintl.com/what-is-amatsu.html>
  • Coppola, Gloria. Lomilomi Massage: The Art of Hawaiian Sacred Healing, 2017. <https://www.massagemag.com/lomilomi-hawaiian-massage-87100/>
  • Cupping Therapy, 2018. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupping_therapy>
  • HealthLine. What are the Benefits of a Hot Stone Massage?, 2018. <https://www.healthline.com/health/hot-stone-massage#who-should-get-one>
  • Hultquist, Ivy. What is Ashiatsu?, 2018. <https://www.ashiatsu.net/what-is-ashiatsu/>
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage, 2018. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manual_lymphatic_drainage>
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome, 2018. <https://www.myofascial-pain-syndrome.org/myofascial-release-technique/>
  • Performance Place Sports Care and Chiropractic, 2018. <https://www.p2sportscare.com/active-release/>
  • Rolfing, 2018. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolfing>
  • The Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America, 2018. <https://www.craniosacraltherapy.org/>