Comprehensive List of Massage Modalities

List of Massage Modalities

Based on the employed techniques and the desired effects on the body, we can distinguish a multitude of massage modalities or massage types.

  • Abhyanga: is a highly relaxing, Ayurvedic practice, comprised of a gentle whole body massage, using warm massage oils.
  • Amma Therapy: is an ancient Chinese massage form that works on the balance and movement of life energy (Qi). The modern modality includes Western massage therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques for an exclusive experience.
  • Aromatherapy massage: is a relaxing massage therapy type and involves the use of essential oils. The essential oils are plant extracts with therapeutic qualities. When combined with bodywork, the use of essential oils will greatly enhance the massage experience.
  • Balinese Massage is a relaxing type of massage very popular in spas. This modality is deep yet relaxing. Its techniques are gentle and make use of aromatherapy oils, aiming to relax and calm the client.
  • Barefoot Massage is a large class of massage types using the feet to apply the bodywork. Some barefoot massage modalities include: Barefoot deep tissue massage, Barefoot Lomi Lomi, Fijian Barefoot, Yumeiho, Keralite.
  • The Bowen technique, developed around thirty years ago by Thomas Bowen, uses light touch and strokes using the thumbs and fingers. The techniques manipulate the soft tissues to improve poor flexibility which is frequently associated with development of neuro-musculoskeletal symptoms.
  • Chair Massage: also known as seated massage, has become one of the most popular massage types. Chair massage refers to a setting rather than a modality, and can be used to administrate many of the popular modalities. Its main advantage is mobility and convenience.
  • Geriatric massage is a massage modality intended for the elderly, focusing on the aging related issues. It uses gentle techniques to facilitate pain relief, to encourage relaxation, and wellness.
  • Head massage: Also known as Indian Head Massage or Champissage is what the name suggests a massage of the head, neck and shoulders. Read more about head massage.
  • Hot stone massage is a trendy massage modality that combines the basic strokes of Swedish massage with the use of hot flat smooth stones to provide a deep and relaxing massage.
  • Myofascial release: This type of massage is a combination of techniques with the purpose to increase range of motion, release chronic tensions in deep tissues and rebalance the body.
  • Manual lymphatic drainage: This type of massage helps your body flush toxins, by stimulating the circulation of lymph in your body.
  • Esalen massage: Developed at the famous Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, this massage features many long, flowing, gentle strokes.
  • Healing Touch: Energy healing is an alternative medicine based on the principle that a subtle energy flows through our body (bio-field).
  • Myotherapy (trigger point): is the massage therapy that treats the dysfunctions caused by trigger points.
  • Neuromuscular therapy: This type of massage works on tight muscles that create the deep patterns of tension that can keep you in pain.
  • Swedish massage: is the traditional western style massage therapy, is the reference point for all other western massage therapies.
  • Shiatsu: This massage involves pressure point therapy – to balance the entire body and restore health – on specific points along invisible energy lines in the body called meridians.
  • Reiki: is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.
  • Rolfing: The most well-known form or structural bodywork, this type of massage was invented by Ida Rolf. This technique uses deep manipulation of the fascia (connective tissue) to restore the body’s natural alignment.
  • Relaxation massage – (Californian massage): A lighter form of Swedish for relaxing only purposes.
  • Thai Massage – “Nuat phaen boran”: is a technique which combines massage with yoga-like positions during the course of the massage.