What Types of Massage Therapy Are There?

Massage therapy has many different types that can help treat various conditions such as chronic pain or stress relief. Learn about craniosacral therapy deep tissue myofascial release prenatal shiatsu sports Swedish medical & more.

What Types of Massage Therapy Are There?

The term masseuse is a French word that refers to a woman who practices massage. Men in the industry were known as massage therapists.

Craniosacral therapy

(also called CST, also referred to as “craniosacral body work” or “therapy”) is an alternative medicine therapy used by osteopaths, massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors and occupational therapists. A craniosacral therapy session involves the therapist placing their hands on the patient, which, according to them, allows them to tune in to what they call the craniosacral system.

The doctor works gently with the spine and skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. In this way, nerve pathway restrictions are said to be relieved, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is said to be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their correct position. Craniosacral therapists use therapy to treat mental stress, neck and back pain, migraines, TMJ syndrome, and for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Deep tissue massage

is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and connective tissue or the fascia.

This type of massage focuses on muscles located below the surface of the upper muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for people who experience constant pain, participate in intense physical activities, such as athletes and patients who have suffered physical injuries. It's also not uncommon for people who receive deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with new muscle pain for a day or two. What one calls deep tissue, another will call light.

When receiving deep tissue work, it's important to communicate what you're feeling.

Myofascial release

is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat somatic dysfunction and the associated pain and movement restriction. This is achieved by relaxing the contracted muscles, increasing circulation, increasing venous and lymphatic drainage, and stimulating the stretching reflex of the muscles and the overlying fascia.

Prenatal massage

is similar to non-pregnancy massage in terms of objectives (relaxation, pain relief, increased circulation, 26% mobility, etc.).

However, due to the changes experienced during pregnancy, modifications are made. To accommodate swollen and sensitive breasts and a growing belly, special pillows, positions and techniques are used to ensure the comfort of both the expectant mother and the baby. With the weight gain, the shift in the center of gravity, and the many other changes associated with pregnancy, prenatal massage can help provide relief and a well-deserved sense of well-being.


(Æœ‡ Åœ§) (shi means finger and atsu means pressure).

It also uses techniques such as rolling, brushing, vibrating, gripping and, in a particular technique developed by Suzuki Yamamoto, pressure is applied with the feet to the person's back, legs and feet (a special configuration is required for foot shiatsu).

Sports massage

is actually a form of Swedish massage provided to athletes. Sports massage generally focuses on increasing blood and lymph fluid flow, reducing and eliminating pain, as well as sensitive trigger points, and increasing the range of motion in the affected area. Sports massages can be divided into 4 different types: pre-event sports massage, post-event sports massage, restorative sports massage and rehabilitation sports massage.

As the names indicate, each type of sports massage has a different approach for the athlete since it is given at different times during their training and performance program.

Swedish massage

is the most well-known and used style of massage therapy. The name “Swedish massage” is only used in English and Dutch-speaking countries; all other countries refer to it as a “classic massage”. In any case this method was developed albeit inaccurately by Per Henrik Ling; however it was a Dutchman named Johann Georg Mezger who developed the French terms for the basic features of this massage style.

Masseuse used to be the standard term for female masseuses (and masseuse for male masseuses), just as flight attendants were called flight attendants. Most people can benefit from medical massage therapies, although the degree of help varies from case to case. This type of therapy combines classic massage techniques with different relaxation and meditation techniques; relaxing both the client's body and mind. The purpose of medical massage is not to provide muscle and tissue relaxation or relieve pain but to help cure a specific medical condition suffered by the patient.

Because touch is also a form of communication sensitive touch can transmit a sense of affection to the person receiving the massage; improving their sense of self-worth and well-being. In general masseuses manipulate skin bones muscles fascia and auras through a series of touch techniques. There have been several studies some stating that massage therapy does not improve pain caused by cancer while others show a positive impact. Premature babies treated with daily massage therapy gain weight faster than those who don't receive massages; they also have shorter hospital stays than babies who don't receive massages.

Becoming familiar with popular types of massage therapy specialties can be a valuable professional step but it requires research. There are a variety of different massage styles types and techniques used by masseuses; over past six years we've been fortunate enough to work with thousands of excellent professionals in this field. Sports massages use techniques similar to Swedish massages but they are specially adapted to address effects of sports performance on body; they also take into account needs of athletes with regard to training performance or recovery from injury. In fact myofascial release even if it is somewhat painful if direct method is used with masseuse should be sought first when it comes tense muscles since it has many more direct benefits than classic massages.

This type of full body massages generally aimed at people who are new massages or who are sensitive touch.

Meagan Furgerson
Meagan Furgerson

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