There are many types of massage therapy, from classics like Swedish and deep tissue to more exotic styles like shiatsu. Whether you'd like to branch out a bit or have a health condition or injury, choosing a style of massage can be confusing if you're not quite sure what it involves. Here is a list of the most popular types of massage (including some that may be new to you).

Before you go, check with the spa about what you should wear: the spa may provide disposable underwear. If the thought of removing all your clothes makes you blush, don't worry: your therapist will be an artist of professional draping techniques. The oils and lotions used in massage can stain fabrics, so it's a good idea to opt for something old if you're wearing your own clothes.

Combine these with the 4,146 active players in the NFL (National Football League) MLB (Major League Baseball), NBA (National Basketball Association), NHL (National Hockey League) and MLS (Major League Soccer); the 244 Olympic athletes on Team USA who competed in the 2018 Winter Games; and all of the “weekend warriors” who play sports on a more sporadic basis and this represents a huge number of individuals who rely on their bodies to consistently perform at higher levels. 

Clarkdale 30020 Georgia GA 33.8307 -84.6496


When practicing deep tissue massage, massage therapists use systematic deep tissue strokes that work below the surface level to dissolve built-up scar tissue, stiffness and adhesions (knots). This is why deep tissue massage is a good option for people with chronic pain or tension in their muscles. These kinks in your fascia can actually lead to a lower quality of life overall because of the constant discomfort they cause. Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, fists and knuckles as tools to knead and stroke your muscles and loosen those rock-hard adhesions. Massage therapists generally give either 60- or 90-minute deep tissue massage sessions, although if you have a specific health condition they may recommend alternative time lengths or types of massage such as hot stone massage, sports massage or prenatal massage. Deep tissue massage can take place at a spa or massage studio, or in the comfort of your home or office if the massage therapist provides mobile massage. If you are ready to start healing, here are the cost factors for deep tissue massage.
Scarring is a natural part of your body’s healing process. While most people know that scars are formed on the skin when a wound heals, scar formation can also occur internally after a muscle or ligament injury. Deep tissue massage can help break down internal and external scar tissue and help in muscle recovery. Some of the studies conducted to find out the effect of massage on scar tissue have reported good results.10 A study on patients with burn scars found that massage treatment resulted in less pain and itching, and a significant decrease in scar thickness.11
Swedish massage therapy can be helpful with a number of other physical challenges, such as reduction in scar tissue by physically manipulating the fibers of the tissue, allowing the scar tissue to be successfully reabsorbed into the skin. Additionally, it can aid with lymphatic drainage, where the long strokes of the therapist help move fluids successfully out of clogged areas.
Swedish massages remain the most common practice in therapeutic and spa environments. It is the relaxing manipulation of the superficial soft tissues supporting the experience of relaxation. Applied to the muscle surface, it serves the primary purpose of facilitating circulation, improves immunity, and manages stress and pain. Learn of the exceptional qualities that Swedish massages provide.

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The first thing to bear in mind is that deep tissue massage is used for therapy and rehabilitation, not relaxation. So you need to be prepared to feel some discomfort during a deep tissue massage and even after. You will most probably lie on your stomach or back while the massage therapist applies various degrees of pressure on tight muscles that have issues and are lying dormant in your body.
Effleurage is the most common stroke in Swedish massage. It is a free-flowing and gliding movement towards the heart, tracing the contours of the body using the palm of one or both hands. Oil is applied with this stroke to begin the first stage of massage. The therapist applies a light or medium constant pressure. This stroke is used to warm up the muscles, relax the body, calm the nerves, improve blood circulation and heart function, and improve lymphatic drainage.

The whole Swedish experience is also a potential stress reliever, which is a benefit unto itself. Plus, it can improve blood flow, delivering more oxygen to cells. A lesser-known benefit—moisturized, glowing skin—results from the application of massage oils. Many therapists prefer to use sweet almond oil because it absorbs slowly into the skin, yet doesn’t leave clients feeling like they’re covered in grease. Other favorite oils include grapeseed (non-greasy, no smell) and jojoba oil (easily absorbed, mixes well with aromatherapy oils).

Marietta Cobb 30090 Georgia GA 33.9525 -84.5471


The most widely recognized and commonly used category of massage is the Swedish massage. The Swedish massage techniques vary from light to vigorous.[63] Swedish massage uses five styles of strokes. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber or with the fibers) and vibration/shaking.[64] Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of eight weeks.[65] The development of Swedish massage is often inaccurately credited to Per Henrik Ling, though the Dutch practitioner Johann Georg Mezger applied the French terms to name the basic strokes.[66] The term "Swedish" massage is actually only recognized in English and Dutch speaking countries, and in Hungary. Elsewhere the style is referred to as "classic massage".

Fayetteville Fayette 30214 Georgia GA 33.4679 -84.4806


Pre-event. Pre-event sports massage is given within the four hours preceding an event to improve performance and help decrease injuries. It is used as a supplement to an athlete's warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition. It is normally shorter (10-15 minutes) than a regular conditioning massage, and focuses on warming-up the major muscles to be used, and getting the athlete in a good mental state for competition. It also improves tissue pliability, readying the athlete for top performance. Certain massage techniques can help calm a nervous athlete, and others can be stimulating. Pre-event. Pre-event sports massage is given within the four hours preceding an event to improve performance and help decrease injuries. It is used as a supplement to an athlete's warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition. It is normally shorter (10-15 minutes) than a regular conditioning massage, and focuses on warming-up the major muscles to be used, and getting the athlete in a good mental state for competition. It also improves tissue pliability, readying the athlete for top performance. Certain massage techniques can help calm a nervous athlete, and others can be stimulating.

Pregnancy massage is a therapeutic massage tailored specifically to the needs of a pregnant woman’s body. Before having a prenatal massage, always check in with your prenatal care provider and ask if massage therapy will be safe for you and your pregnancy. A pregnancy massage is much more than just an indulgence. The specialized strokes and techniques used to loosen tight muscles, reduce swelling, alleviate pressure, and ease tension provide positive health benefits for both you and your baby. Experts recommend finding a massage therapist who has received additional training on prenatal massage techniques. This is typically a certification above and beyond their standard massage therapy certification and training requirements. During the massage you will likely lie on your side or in a semi-reclined position; these supported poses keep you and the baby comfortable and free from strain or undue pressure. During the massage, the therapist will listen to what body challenges you are experiencing and work to release tension. The massage should be a relaxing and very soothing experience.


Pain: Pain may also occur during massage treatment: your muscles may not be used to deep manipulation. This should also subside as the massage continues: if it does not or is intense, let your chiropractor know and they can evaluate the treatment. If pain continues after the massage, it may be beneficial to put ice on the troubled areas to reduce inflammation and stay away from intense physical exertion.

Swedish massage techniques are different from other massage techniques in that they are quite specific in the order in which the massage is done. These techniques apply deeper pressure than other kind of massages and they are also known to increase oxygenation of blood and release metabolic waste such as lactic and uric acids from the tissues of the muscles.


Similar in style to Swedish massage—one of the most popular forms of relaxation massage—deep tissue massage targets the innermost layers of the body’s muscles, tendons, and fascia (the densely woven tissue that connects parts inside the body). Deep tissue massage can also provide relaxation, but massage therapists who specialize in deep tissue typically use much stronger pressure.

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In its Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals, The Official Handbook, updated in August 2000, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) suggests massage therapy can be used successfully in pain management. Some hospitals are including massage therapists in patient care teams to fight pain. Their teams may include a physician, nurses, a nutritionist, a yoga instructor, and a massage therapist.  Hospitals are now including massage due to public demand.  More research needs to be done to evaluate not only the effectiveness of such teams but to determine which combination of therapies works best for different types of patients and different types of pain.
Muscles have a natural reflex to resist pain. When a muscle thinks it's about to be injured, this reflex is triggered. When too much pressure is applied during a massage, the muscle or group of muscles will naturally resist force by tightening further. This is the opposite effect of what a massage is all about. Effective massages relax and release areas of tension.

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Deep tissue massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as a more classic superficial massage. The difference is that the pressure will generally be more intense, and concentrated on areas of tension and pain. The strokes are the same, but the movement is slower and deeper. At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain. It is important to tell the therapist when they hit a tender spot and if any discomfort you experience is outside your comfort range. Due to the focused nature of the session, the treatment can become intense at times.

Lithia Springs 30057 Georgia GA 33.7737 -84.6544


Deep tissue massage therapy can be very beneficial and even life changing.  We have had many clients come in with chronic problems they’ve had for years.  After a few deep tissue massage sessions their built up tension and muscular dysfunction begins to unravel and they can go back to living a normal life free of chronic pain.  While not all chronic pain is able to be completely resolved through massage, nearly every client experiences significant relief from pain symptoms with regular treatments.
^ Miller BF, Hamilton KL, Majeed ZR, Abshire SM, Confides AL, Hayek AM, Hunt ER, Shipman P, Peelor FF, Butterfield TA, Dupont-Versteegden EE (January 2018). "Enhanced skeletal muscle regrowth and remodelling in massaged and contralateral non-massaged hindlimb". The Journal of Physiology. 596 (1): 83–103. doi:10.1113/JP275089. PMC 5746529. PMID 29090454.

The Swedish massage technique involves soft and long kneading strokes along with light, rhythmic, tapping strokes on the top layers of the muscles, generally in the direction of the heart. It is typically used for relaxation, relief of muscular tension, and improvement of circulation and range of motion. Other techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending, and stretching.

Chiropractic care realigns the spine for optimum health and wellness. In the process of your treatment, especially if you seek care after an injury or if you experience chronic muscle tension, your body builds up bands of painful, rigid tissue in your muscles and ligaments. Deep tissue massage breaks down this rigidity to relieve your pain and allow an improved range of movement.

If you feel that you would benefit from experiencing a Deep Tissue massage, do some research into local spas around you that offer the treatment. Make sure that your therapist is certified and has been trained in this technique. As always, check with your doctor before giving this massage a try. Be sure to share your concerns with your therapist, go into detail as to what has brought you in to seek the treatment and do not be afraid to speak up if the pressure becomes too uncomfortable. Remember, more pain does not mean the massage is working.
The relaxation induced during the massage might feel like the endpoint, but massage care continues after leaving. First off, rest your body. Though you may feel relaxed and calm, it is important to remember the muscles have been intensely manipulated and worked on, thus needing time to recover. Try to schedule the massage appointment when other obligations and responsibilities will not follow. Continue care by drinking water and grabbing a bite to eat. Lightheadedness may occur and water and food can counteract dehydration and low blood sugars.

Coosa Floyd 30129 Georgia GA 34.3333 -85.2337


Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Zebulon Pike 30295 Georgia GA 33.1002 -84.3108


Sports massage was developed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training. However, contrary to what the name suggests, you don't have to be an athlete to benefit from sports massage. Sports massage emphasizes prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons and can be beneficial for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion.
Many people want to know what the side effects of deep tissue massage are. That’s a great question, and it varies from person to person—and it can even vary for you depending on what’s going on in your body the day you get a massage. Typically, people may feel more muscle soreness for a day or two after the massage, especially if the therapist gives you a strong massage. A deep tissue massage shouldn’t cause horrible pain—and if it does you need to tell your therapist you need less pressure. However, if they’ve been working your muscles, you will probably feel it as the toxins leave your body.
Research has shown just 45 to 60 minutes of deep tissue massage can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone levels, and decrease heart rate. A study from the University of Maryland found deep tissue massage was even more effective for treating chronic pain than some other medical treatment options. One of the most common culprits for chronic pain is inflammation in the body’s soft tissue, and by increasing blood flow throughout the body, this massage technique is often able to reduce that inflammation. Massage therapists may also work to loosen clusters of tight tissue resulting from physical stress, providing further relief for tense muscles.

Auburn 30203 Georgia GA 34.009 -83.825


Empathy: Most people opt for massage therapy because they are in pain or because they are stressed out and need to calm down. As a massage therapist, it is imperative that you are empathetic to the needs of your clients, regardless of your day is going. If you appear or feel anxious or stressed, you are not going to be able to make your client feel calm and relaxed. Create trust with your patients by being personable and communicating effectively. Be receptive to their needs.
Buying a bundle of massage sessions upfront can provide an opportunity to save. Clients receive the benefit of paying less per session than when buying each massage individually, and massage therapists benefit by ensuring future work and securing customer loyalty. Garry Commiato LMT offers 10 percent off of the total price when any number massages are pre-purchased as a package.
Sports massage is a good option if you have a repetitive use injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing a sport. It’s also a good option if you’re prone to injuries because it can be used to help prevent sports injuries. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Additionally, sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.

Find the right massage therapist. Look for a therapist who specifically identifies the massage type you’re interested in as part of their practice and background. If necessary, look for someone trained to treat a particular condition, such as sports injuries, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or pregnancy. Also check if the therapist is licensed or certified according to state requirements.


The healing practice of Thai herbal ball compress therapy dates back nearly 5,000 years to an era when the knowledge of plants, including their effects through ingestion or application on the body, were painstakingly researched and then passed down from one generation to the next. This form of therapy was designed to relieve pain and inflammation. A selection of therapeutic herbs — including prai, ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass — are wrapped in a muslin compress, steamed, and then applied to the body in gentle pressing, circular, and rolling movements. 

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I’ve worked in a variety of exciting environments, including the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the Greece Paralympic Summer Games and on the road with the U.S. National Powerlifting Team. Plus, I have worked with collegiate, ABL and WNBA athletes. Currently, I travel with the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) as part of the sports science and medicine team. In my private clinic, I specialize in orthopedic massage.
Due to the harsher pressure of this technique, there are certain individuals who should seek pain relief elsewhere. Deep Tissue massages can be dangerous for clients who have blood clots, as the pressure and movements might cause the clots to be dislodged. If you have had blood clots in the past, currently have blood clots or are at risk of forming blood clots, you should consult a doctor before pursuing a Deep Tissue massage. If you are currently recovering from recent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or are suffering from osteoporosis you too should speak with a doctor before experimenting with Deep Tissue massages. As this is particularly high-pressure massage, you should not allow rashes, wounds, tumors, hernias, etc. to be massaged directly. Expecting mothers should also avoid Deep Tissue massages; instead, ask your doctor about therapists that specialize in pregnancy massage techniques.

Jersey Walton 30018 Georgia GA 33.718 -83.8015

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