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Types of massage therapy

7 Types of Massage Therapy You Never Knew About

Massage therapy isn’t just as simple as a good rubdown! Every press, stroke, and stretch has a high level of precision. We’ve found seven types of massage therapy that you may have never heard of.

Types of massage therapy

Since records began, massage has been a highly valued therapy for treating the mind and body. We have compiled a list of the seven most popular massage therapies offered today and a brief explanation of the methodology behind each one.

What are the seven types of massage therapy?

Swedish massage

This is one of the most popular massage types. It consists of five basic strokes: sliding, kneading, rhythmic tapping), cross-fiber, and shaking.

A fellow named Johan Georg Mezger is credited with founding Swedish massage. Funnily enough, Swedish massage is only called that in English-speaking countries, Holland and Hungary, and it’s called “classic massage” everywhere else.

Lymphatic massage

This one stimulates the body’s lymphatic system with gentle, repetitive strokes. With this kind of massage therapy, the muscle cells can contract smoothly within the lymph vessels so muscles can safely transport the lymphatic fluid through the body.

2 Danish doctors discovered it; Emi & Estrid Vodder. Lymphatic massage is unsuitable for those looking for a strong, pressured massage. It is of most benefit to people that wish to detox their body or reduce swelling after an injury or surgery.

Thai massage

This system of massage and stretching originates in the obvious place and dates back over 2,500 years. It is said that Shivago Komarpaj was the founder of this very complex form of therapy. Still, it isn’t easy to credit just one person as the techniques are intricate and vary from therapist to therapist.

With Thai massage, there are no oils used. It’s usually performed with the recipient in loose-fitting clothes lying on a mat or sometimes on the ground. Then the masseuse positions the lucky massage in different yoga-esque poses and then applies rhythmic pressure on the body (while in that position.)

Thai massage is not confused with a Bangkok Soapy Massage or a Thai Body Slide! These are a whole different thing and will only take care of one body part!

Deep Tissue / Trigger Point massage

This one uses friction and intense finger pressure on the parts of the body that feel tension, aches, or pain.

It is highly recommended for dudes with hypertension and is particularly useful on the neck and shoulders. Sometimes, it is used with other kinds of massage therapy to create a fantastic treatment.

Myofascial Release

This alternative medicine therapy treats skeletal muscle immobility and associated pain by relaxing the contracted muscles, increasing blood / lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the muscles’ stretch reflex.

Myofascial release as a massage treatment is not supported by much medical evidence and is not recommended without thorough research first.


Reiki is a different “kettle of fish.” It’s a spiritual practice of energy work that has its devotees and skeptics.

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Reiki applies several hands-on holding positions corresponding to vital organs and nerve plexes. The main idea is that the treatment helps the body to heal itself and t create an overall equilibrium in the mind and body.

It is often favored by folks that suffer from stress. It was developed by a Japanese Buddhist named Mikao Usui in 1922. The most traditional form of Japanese Reiki uses intuitive hand movements, whereas the Western variation uses a series of systematized hand placements.


The last one on our list of massage therapies is reflexology, and it’s huge right now. This foot-based therapy works on the idea that all body organs are mapped to the feet. Applying finger pressure to the feet, hands, or ears, links pressure points to the various internal body systems.

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Reflexology was first used in 1913 by an American doctor named Dr. William H. Fitzgerald.

If you liked this article about the different types of massage therapy, you might also like our article about the health benefits of a weekly massage.