With over 300 types of massage, which one is best?

You’ve looked online and have some ideas. When your therapist starts talking about Swedish, hot stone and cranial sacral, it seems they’re speaking a different language.

You might think deep tissue means “heavier pressure.” Instead, therapists know this to be very slow, specific work on one area to separate muscle layers and remove trigger points. This method is great for breaking down scar tissue after an injury has healed. It also helps athletes who punish their bodies more than most.

Here are eight more popular types of massage and a few thoughts to help you choose.

Swedish massage is often a combination of long, sweeping strokes, muscle kneading and rolling, friction, and even deep pressure applied to certain spots with thumbs, knuckles or fingertips. It’s great if you’re new to massage or getting a treatment along with your significant other. It also works wonders for relieving stress and muscle tension.

In hot stone treatment, the masseuse lays hot, smooth stones on your body and also massages you with the stones. The almost-too-hot stones are more invigorating than some treatments and work to relax super-tense muscles. 

Chair massages are popular in malls and nail parlors. Sure, they can be good for quick relief after a day of walking through crowded stores. Yet your shirt stays on and there’s no oil treatment. They can’t be as thorough as a full body massage, nor as relaxing with all the people walking by.

Trigger point, like deep tissue massage, focuses on a specific area. In contrast, though, this treatment involves deep pressure to coax the muscle into releasing. It’s often used for chronic muscle pain or tension.

Neuromuscular therapy is a specific kind of trigger point massage that helps muscles already painful to the touch. It improves poor circulation, posture problems and injuries.

Shiatsu, meaning “finger pressure” is a Japanese method for restoring overall health. It combines gentle stretches with working various pressure points.

Thai massage works the entire body and is highly invigorating. Therapists manipulate the body into various stretches and you might even get walked on!

Sports massage combines Swedish, Shiatsu and other techniques, concentrating on the body parts used in your particular sport.

We’ve only looked at just a few treatments here. Be sure to tell your therapist your health issues and concerns. This information can only help to choose what’s best for you.