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Types of Massage Therapy Specialties and Their Unique Benefits

Medically reviewed by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Mar 13, 2023

Types of Massage Therapy Specialties and Their Unique Benefits

When you encounter the word “massage,” the first thing that comes to mind might be spas or fancy hotel service. However, there are numerous types of massage therapy specialties that cater to addressing different unique conditions. Read up on these and find out how massage therapy can help you to improve your overall emotional and physical well-being. 

What Is Massage?

Simply put, a massage refers to the manual therapy of soft tissues by holding or applying pressure to particular areas. Massage can involve applying light or deep pressure on specific ligaments, tendons, or muscles depending on the type of massage being performed. 

Learning more about the different types and surprising benefits of massage offer insight into how it can be used for minor ailments and wellbeing. 

Why You Should Get A Massage?

Most people get massages to relax and get rid of any unnecessary tension in their bodies. However, massages also have numerous benefits for a person’s health and can also alleviate some symptoms associated with some medical conditions.

Arthritis pain. Massages can help any pain or discomfort in the joints brought about by the two main types of arthritis namely osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Back pain. Massages can also help with back pain caused by the bodily changes that come with a woman’s pregnancy.

Stress and anxiety. However, massages do not just affect a person’s physical health. Data has also shown that types of massage therapy specialties can help significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels

Massages are not supposed to replace the medication prescribed by a health professional. However, it can be used alongside traditional treatment methods to help in alleviating certain symptoms or perhaps make the treatment more effective. 

Types of Massage Therapy Specialties

If you are interested in getting a massage, it is best to learn more about the different types of massage therapy specialties available. This way, you will be able to determine, which type best suits your needs. Learning about the different kinds can also tell you about the long-term benefits of massage you will be able to reap from regular sessions. 

Uses and Benefits

Massages can differ in the technique, as well as the intent. Some types of massage therapy specialties are solely meant for rest and relaxation while other massages can aid the healing of muscles or injuries.

Below are the common types of massages:

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massages are characterized by the use of essential oils which can either be massaged into the skin or inhaled, by using a diffuser in the room where the massage will take place. Different essential oils serve different purposes. Here are a few examples of essential oils and their benefits:

  • Lemongrass/white fir. When applied to the skin, it may reduce aid inflammation.
  • Helichrysum. Using Helichrysum can help with the appearance of scars.
  • Lavender. When inhaled, Lavender can help alleviate anxiety and promote better sleep.
  • Lemon. Lemon essential oil when inhaled can have positive effects on a person’s overall mood.

Chair Massage 

A chair massage is done on a chair designed to help you lean forward and relax, while you receive a massage in a seated position. These massages only last for about 15 to 30 minutes and are perfect if you spend the majority of your time in a seated position.

During a chair massage, areas like the head, hands, shoulders, and back are given the most attention. If you are someone who constantly suffers from back pain from using a computer all day, then this type of massage may be the most beneficial for you.

types of massage therapy specialties

Hot Stone Massage

One of the most unique types of massage therapy specialties is hot stone massage. During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on strategic areas like arms, legs, or along the line of the spine. Typically, flat, basalt stones are used during this type of massage. Your massage therapist may also use heated stones to apply pressure to some areas of the body. In some hot stone massages, cold marble stones are used to finish the treatment.

Hot stone massages are believed to improve circulation. Using both heated and chilled stones in massages can also reduce inflammation and aid decongestion in some areas of the body.

Swedish Massage 

If it is your first time getting a massage then a Swedish massage may be the best option for you. A Swedish massage is more on the gentle side which mainly involves long kneading strokes. A Swedish massage is best for relieving muscle tension, and it is one of the most popular types of massage therapy specialties.

Here are the common strokes you can expect from a Swedish massage:

  • Tapotement. A stroke characterized by cupped hands.
  • Petrissage. A stroke that is mainly kneading and squeezing.
  • Effleurage. A stroke used at the beginning and end of the Swedish massage which involves soft, and smooth stroking.
  • Friction. Involves deeper pressure to stretch muscle fibers. It is used to aid blood circulation. 

How To Prepare for a Massage

Before getting a massage, there are a few things you can do to maximize your massage experience, regardless of the types of massage therapy specialties you will be undergoing.

Do your research. Before booking an appointment, try to find out types of massage therapy specialties and prices that work best for you. If there are particular areas that you want your massage therapist to work on more, make sure to tell them beforehand.

If you are pregnant, injured, or have existing pre-conditions, make sure to let your doctor know that you want to get a massage. This way, your physician can inform you about which massage will be safe for you.

Wear comfortable clothing. This will be especially helpful if you plan to get a massage that requires you to strip down. Wearing comfortable clothing will also prevent any discomfort after your massage.

Avoid caffeine. Skip the coffee or tea right before your appointment, to ensure that you will be totally at ease during your massage session.

Key Takeaways

A massage is a great way to unwind and relax your mind and body. Aside from that, getting a massage can also have numerous health benefits like reducing muscle pain and inflammation. To achieve results for your unique needs, choose types of massage therapy specialties that are effective for your condition.
If you would like to know more about massage safety, consult your physician beforehand.

Learn more about Herbals & Alternatives here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Mar 13, 2023

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