With several hundred types of massage therapy and bodywork to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? It’s easy! Use this index to browse through different massage types whose names begin with A-L. Select the modality that best fits your current goals. Then try others!
Some of the most popular, easy to find types of massage are highlighted in Top 10 Most Popular Types of Massage Therapy.
Also see Massage Guide: Massage Types From M-Z.
Acu-Yoga combines acupressure with yoga in a series of moves that stimulate and balance the flow of “qi” or vital life force. Acu-Yoga can be used by anyone at home as part of a personal wellness program.
Acupressure is an ancient form of Chinese massage that uses the fingers to apply pressure to points along the acupuncture meridians of the body. The purpose is to enhance the flow of “qi” or life force energy. Acupressure can effectively reduce pain and provides numerous health benefits.
Ai Chi is derived from the slow, fluid movements of tai chi combined with principles of Watsu and Shiatsu. A series of movements is performed while standing in shoulder-deep water. Ai Chi can help improve your strength, balance, flexibility, mental clarity and sense of well-being.
Alexander Technique What do Paul Newman, James Earl Jones and Paul McCartney all have in common? They all endorsed the Alexander Technique, a therapy to free tension and pain caused by incorrect body mechanics while sitting, standing and moving about. The Alexander Technique helps you become more comfortable, relaxed and efficient in your own body by re-educating you in how to move freely.
Aromatherapy Massage is a synergistic combination of massage therapy and aromatherapy. Essential oils are added to the massage oil used on your body. These oils are used to influence mood, promote relaxation, reduce inflammation and muscle soreness, decrease pain and much more. Best of all, they smell wonderful!
Ashiatsu is an ancient Oriental massage technique performed using the bare feet. Ashiatsu practitioners use overhead bars for balance as they apply luxurious, deep, penetrating pressure to the muscles of the back. This work is especially appreciated by thick muscled men and anyone who craves deeper pressure in their back massage.
Aston-Patterning is a comprehensive system of specialized bodywork, movement education, fitness training and environmental ergonomic modification. Benefits include greater ease in everyday activities, improved athletic performance and enhanced recovery from injury and trauma.
Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy is a technique to relieve muscle pain caused by painful trigger points that form in the muscles. Finger pressure is applied to the trigger points, followed by passive stretches. After a session, you are sent home with self care techniques for use between sessions.
Bowen Technique uses gentle techniques applied over the muscles, nerves and tendons to cause the autonomic nervous system to shift from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest) response. This holistic bodywork enhances your body’s inherent ability to heal itself of pain and inflammation and a number of other medical conditions.
Canine Massage Therapy Your furry best friend can enjoy the same benefits from massage that you do. Canine Massage Therapy, or Dog Massage Therapy, can aid recovery from surgery such as spaying. It can also help with pain relief for conditions such as arthritis.
Chair Massage, also called seated massage, is performed fully clothed in a special massage chair. Chair massage is often performed on-site at events, malls, airports, business locations or just about anywhere. Any of the massage types that can be applied over clothing can be used in a chair massage session, which usually lasts from 5-30 minutes.
Chinese Massage There are a number of different types of Chinese Massage, which is also known as Chinese Qigong Massage. Chinese Massage is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is over 4000 years old! The goal of Chinese Massage is to balance and enhance the flow of “Qi” (also known as “Chi”) to promote health, treat illness and heal injuries. Qi is your vital life force energy that is accessed through the acupuncture meridians. Categories of Chinese Massage include Pu Tong, Tui Na, Dian Xue and Qi Anmo with Tui Na being the best known in the United States.
Craniosacral Therapy uses an ultra light touch to influence the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord from skull to sacrum. Craniosacral therapy can be used on infants and very young children as well as seniors due to its gentle touch. Migraine headaches, autism, and learning disabilities are a few conditions that can benefit from this therapy.
Deep Tissue Massage accesses the deeper, underlying layers of muscle and fascia to help relieve pain and inflammation. Deep Tissue Massage uses a variety of different massage techniques to accomplish this goal. A Deep Tissue practitioner needs to have a thorough understanding of anatomy and often has received additional training.
Dog Massage Therapy uses massage techniques designed to meet the needs of dogs. See Canine Massage Therapy.
Elder Care Massage, also called Geriatric or Senior Massage focuses on the special needs of the elderly. Practitioners need to have additional training in the physical, mental and psychological effects of aging as well as an understanding of medications as they relate to types of massage therapy.
Equine Massage Therapy brings the therapeutic benefits of soft tissue manipulation to horses and ponies. Equine Massage Therapy can reduce inflammation and pain, relieve colic and enhance performance of equine athletes.
Esalen Massage is a profoundly relaxing form of wellness massage. Esalen practitioners use long, flowing strokes and other techniques to create a soothing, almost spiritual experience. Esalen was developed in Big Sur, California.
Feldenkrais Method is a type of movement reeducation that teaches you to understand and optimize movement. Feldendrais reduces pain and stiffness caused by dysfunctional movement, and makes you feel more fluid and comfortable in your body. It can also be used to treat neurological disorders and enhance athletic performance.
Foot Zone Therapy is one of the ancient types of massage therapy that has been used for thousands of years in Egypt, China and India. Zones, also called reflex points, on the feet are believed to be associated with internal organs and other parts of the body. Precise pressure applied to these zones can be used to initiate healing in the corresponding part of the body.
Geriatric Massage specializes in the challenges faced by seniors. See Elder Care Massage.
Hellerwork Structural Integration combines Deep Tissue massage with movement education and guided dialogue that facilitates self-awareness of the mind/body connection. Hellerwork is an offshoot of Rolfing Structural Integration.
Hot Stone Massage Therapy Soothing and indulgent, Hot Stone Massage Therapy is the chocolate decadence on the spa menu. Don’t be deceived by its luxurious feel, though. It is also highly therapeutic! More about Hot Stone Massage Therapy. Also see LaStone Therapy.
Infant Massage Therapists who have received training in Infant Massage teach parents how to gently massage their infants. Benefits of Infant Massage include enhanced bonding between infants and their parents, better sleep and concentration, faster weight gain and quicker learning.
Integrative Massage combines different types of massage therapy and bodywork in each session. Other types of alternative healing and somatic therapies may also be included. Each Integrative Massage therapist will uniquely combine massage techniques based on their own training and assessment of the client’s needs.
Japanese Massage techniques are based on harmonizing the flow of vital life energy known as “ki” (This is the same as “qi” or “chi” in Chinese Massage). Japanese massage is rooted in ancient Chinese Massage and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These theories and techniques were refined into a number of different types of massage therapy such as Shiatsu, Amma, Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Jin Shin Do and Zen Shiatsu which are used to relax, reduce pain, enhance immunity and promote healing.
Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure was created by psychotherapist Iona Marsaa Teeguarden. It works to ease “rings of armoring” or chronic tension and their associated emotions and thoughts. Jin Shin Do uses finger pressure on multiple acupressure points along with verbal coaching to encourage you to become aware of how your body is manifesting emotions and trauma thus allowing you to clear the armoring.
Kinesiology and Applied Kinesiology Kinesiology is the study of how the human body moves. Kinesiologists study the anatomy of muscles and how each muscle influences movement. Applied Kinesiology uses muscle testing to determine where you may be weak or have a muscle imbalance. Kinesiology is a pretty standard part of the curriculum in massage school but Kinesiologists specialize in this field and receive in depth training.
LaStone Therapy, also referred to as Geothermal Therapy, is a type of Hot Stone massage therapy. In LaStone Therapy, both hot and cool stones are used for their healing effects.
Lomi Lomi is the traditional massage of Hawaii. It consists of long, fluid strokes reminiscent of ocean waves flowing rhythmically over the body. Lomi Lomi is performed in a very loving way and is designed to relax, heal and facilitate emotional release by releasing blocked energy.
Lymphatic Massage practitioners use light, rhythmic strokes to facilitate the flow of lymph through tiny lymph vessels to lymph nodes where the fluid is filtered of toxins and other waste materials. Lymphatic Massage detoxifies the body, increases your immune response, reduces swelling and inflammation and aids tissue regeneration.
I hope you’ve found this index helpful! I’d love it if you would leave me a comment below or come over to my Facebook page and share your ideas!