A Guide To Popular Massage Techniques


A Guide To Popular Massage Techniques

Swedish, hot stone, deep tissue, or DIY... let's work out those kinks.

Lauren McCurry


0 minute read

Published: March 2023

Origin: Australia

The keystone of any White Lotus-style holiday; massage is universally revered as a moment of luxury and a healer of problems.

As the world's population ages and scepticism about conventional medicine grows, more and more people are turning to massage therapy to alleviate their symptoms.

Massage therapy's rising reputation can be attributed to its efficacy in easing stress, calming anxious minds, and promoting overall health and well-being. Plus, our ability to sleep, the vitality of our immune system and circulation have all been shown to improve with regular (literal) application.

By relaxing tense muscles and boosting blood flow, massage therapy can also aid in enhancing mobility and adaptability. 

Often used as part of physical therapy to treat injuries and to help with rehabilitation, it can help reduce pain and inflammation, muscle spasms, and joint mobility. Massage therapy can also help improve posture by helping to realign the body and release muscle tension.

No matter what type of massage you choose, it's important to remember that massage is not a one-size-fits-all solution — just like shoes and breakfast buffet servings. In fact, it should be very specifically tailored to your individual needs and preferences (and bonus points of the massage therapist about to perform it is experienced and knowledgeable!)

Step foot in any local massage-offering parlour or wellness space, and you’ll find a near-bottomless menu of techniques targeting varying physical experiences, often connected to a cultural practice or tradition from every corner of the globe.

Read on to discover more about these different massage techniques, each with unique benefits tailored to individual needs.

Swedish Massage 

Best For: Desk workers and blissfully naive first-timers

One of the massage types most frequently provided is Swedish massage. (Some even refer to it as a “traditional” massage.) Swedish massage involves lengthy, kneading strokes paired with rhythmic tapping and joint movement.

The upper-body massage focuses on the muscle fibres closest to the skin to alleviate physical tension. For those looking for a blissful, refreshing experience, this one’s for you.

Deep Tissue Massage

Best For: Professional triathletes and Dancing with the Stars contestants.

Where Swedish massages involve light, gentle, calming strokes, deep tissue massages use more pressure and can be more intense. As a massage therapy that focuses on releasing tension in the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, this technique can help relieve chronic pain and break down scar tissue.

Often it involves applying deep, direct pressure or friction to the affected area and can be used to target specific areas of tension or pain.

Hot Stone Massage

Best For: Those needing a healing detox

A hot stone massage uses the same techniques as a regular massage, but heat-retentive hot stones (typically made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock) are placed on specific body parts instead of hands.

A profoundly detoxifying experience, enhanced lymphatic flow will help your body to remove waste more efficiently. Hot stone therapy is thought to have originated in China nearly 2,000 years ago. Since, several cultures have used stones for healing, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt, and India.

Aromatherapy Massage

Best For: Total wellness transcendence

Fancy sailing off to another dimension? The therapeutic benefits of traditional massage are combined with the all-encompassing benefits of scented essential oils in aromatherapy massage.

A deeper step towards paradise—the aroma of the essential oil may reach your limbic system, which blissfully benefits your body and mind by promoting relaxation and emotional modulation.

Also, inhaling relaxing odours releases our besties' dopamine and serotonin for an added benefit.

DIY Massage Therapy

Best For: Wednesday nights after hot yoga.

Found yourself with a weeknight itch to create a little staycation in your apartment? The Therabody Theragun, a percussive therapy tool, offers a targeted deep-tissue massage designed to enhance your range of motion and lessen muscular fatigue after a workout. Add your favourite body oil, light a candle and treat yourself to some youtime.

Lauren McCurry



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