The beginner's guide to getting massages

So you think you want a massage, but maybe you're not sure which type to choose? It's true: not all types of massage are created alike. And, depending on the reason you want a massage, there are some therapies that are better for you than others.

But don't get overwhelmed! Read on to jumpstart your career as a Connoisseur of Relaxation.

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Which type of massage should I choose?

Choosing the right type of massage can be easily done by answering one simple question – why do I need a massage? If you want a massage so you can feel more relaxed, then you should try one of the more relaxing massages, such as the Swedish massage or the hot stone massage. If you want pain relief, you should choose a deep tissue massage, or a therapeutic massage. And if you have some special circumstances – if you’re an athlete or if you’re pregnant – you should find a massage specifically designed for your situation.

What are the most popular types of massage?

The three most popular types of massage are, arguably, the Swedish massage, the deep tissue massage, and the hot stone massage.

The Swedish massage could also be called the “entry level massage”, as it’s probably the most gentle and relaxing type of massage and it’s thus often recommended for people who haven’t had a massage before. The Swedish massage targets the top layers of muscle, and it’s performed using long strokes, kneading, tapping, vibrating and rapid strokes. Massage oils or lotions are also used to reduce friction, and make the experience even more pleasant.

The deep tissue massage uses techniques similar to the Swedish massage, but it is aimed at the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It has a great therapeutic effect, and is often used for recovery after an injury, or when dealing with chronic pain. It’s possible that a deep tissue massage will leave you sore for a day or two after.

The hot stone massage is another popular relaxing massage. The stones are heated in water and placed or your body – the back, the belly or the hands. The massage therapist will also use the stones to massage you, and the heat of the stones will remove all of the tension from you muscles. It’s a very relaxing, and possibly a bit more pricy, massage.

What else can I try?

You can also try some Eastern massage types, like shiatsu, reiki, Thai or acupressure massage, that use the principles of Eastern medicine and philosophies to relax and remove pain, or you can try the Ayuverdic massage, which uses ancient Indian medical principles to rid your body of toxins.

Types of Massage

Lymphatic Massage

Clean out that plumbing. Lymphatic massage stimulate the body's lymphatic system, aka the body's plumbing system. Read More >

Medical Massage

Doctor's orders. A medical massage is used for chronic pain relief or injury recovery, and is often prescribed by a physician. Read More >

Myofascial Release Massage

Relax your fascia. This massage stretches and elongates deep muscle tissue, increasing range of motion and circulation. Read More >

Prenatal Massage

Moms-to-be: a prenatal massage is custom-tailored to fit the needs of expecting mothers. Read More >


Reflexology is an ancient Chinese healing technique, using foot massage to relieve a variety of ailments. Read More >

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu is a whole-body massage where pressure is placed along your meridians to release tension. Read More >

Sports Massage

Whether you're training for your first 5K or 3rd Ironman, a sports massage can increase flexibility & help you avoid injury. Read More >

Swedish Massage

Looking for the massage with the music in the background and the nice-smelling oils? This ultra-relaxing massage is for you. Read More >

Thai Massage

Described as a mix between yoga and massage, therapists use many parts of their body to stretch and relax the body. Read More >

Therapeutic Massage

Borrowing from many other massage types, a therapeutic massage is good for reducing minor discomfort and pain. Read More >

Trigger Point Massage

A more targeted approach of massage, focusing directly on releasing tight knots and alleviating pain caused by them. Read More >

Acupressure Massage

Sometimes referred to as acupuncture without needles, acupressure is an ancient remedy of Chinese traditional medicine. Read More >

Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic massage is an ancient Indian remedy used to break down and remove toxins from the body. Read More >

Chair Massage

Ever see someone getting a massage in the middle of the mall, airport, or even at work? You're likely seeing a chair massage. Read More >

Combination Massage

A Combination Massage uses various techniques across acupressure, reflexology, Swedish, etc to relieve tension and stress. Read More >

Couples Massage

Two people + Two massage therapists = A perfect way to relax with a friend or partner. Read More >

Deep Tissue Massage

Painful knots in your back? A deep tissue massage will break them down, give you relief. Read More >

Foot Massage

Been on your feet all week? A foot massage helps alleviate sore soles and arches. Read More >

Hot Stone Massage

Some like it hot. Hot stones, that is. This massages uses heated stones to warm up your muscles and relax you. Read More >

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