What are the different types of massages?

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | 4 September, 2022

“I really regret getting that deep tissue massage” – said no one, ever. Massage can help to reduce pain, muscle soreness, tension, improve blood circulation, increase relaxation, and most importantly, they just feel really good.

When life gets busy, self-care is often the first thing to take a hit – with a common belief being that getting a massage is a luxury. However, the physical and mental health benefits held by this powerful practice make it deserving of a place in your routine.

Georgina Turelli is an exercise scientist, remedial massage lecturer at Endeavour College of Natural Health and remedial massage therapist at G-Vitalize, with more than 12 years’ experience in professional practice and lecturing – today she shares with us a few different types of massage and their benefit.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage is a combination of long flowing strokes and petrissage, which is a massage technique that focuses on kneading tissue and stimulating and manipulating a certain spot. Swedish massage aims to relax the body and increase circulation using flowing strokes and soft tissue kneading techniques.

Best suited for: someone looking to relax or enjoy a nice massage.

Sports massage

Sports massages can be broken down into three areas: pre, inter, and post massages.

A pre-sports massage works on stimulating the nervous system, relaxing muscles, increasing circulation and improving joint range of motion to warm up the body. It also aims to get the receiver into the ultimate prepared state for an activity or event.

Inter-massages are for during an event or timeout so it’s usually short, intense and focused on a specific area. This is the massage you might see during a tennis match or on the sidelines at the footy when a therapist works on a trigger point like rubbing a calf muscle or another acute issue.

Post-massages are geared at increasing recovery to help repair soft tissue damage, ease sore and stiff muscles, increase circulation which helps the body process metabolic waste from exercise, calm the nervous system, and generally stimulate the healing process so the athlete can get back into training or prepare for their next event.

Best suited for: Athletes or weekend warriors who participate in gruelling sports such as triathlons, cross fit or team sports.

Remedial massage

Remedial comes from the Latin word ‘remedium’ meaning "a cure, or remedy" – therefore a remedial massage is to remedy an issue or complaint with hands-on massage techniques. This involves the therapist undertaking an assessment procedure to understand why the client is suffering an ache or pain. Remedial massage has many benefits including decreasing muscular tension, improving joint range of motion, increasing white blood cells which support the immune system, and improving quality of sleep (quite a few studies have shown regular massage helps those with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression). Remedial massage also helps identify and address an individual's niggles and imbalances before they cause major injuries.

Best suited for: Office workers or anyone who sits or stands for a long period of time, has an imbalanced musculoskeletal system or works with heavy loads like a builder or tradesman.

Thai massage

Thai massage is not for the faint-hearted. Due to the positions a therapist pulls your body into on a mat on the ground, it’s often referred to as yoga massage. It involves acupuncture points, applying pressure to Meridian lines, passive stretches, and mobilising the body into unique positions, using the therapist’s whole body to knead, push, pull and stretch, including walking on the back with bare feet.

Best suited for: Anyone who likes to be twisted and pulled.

Reflexology

Reflexology is the process of using pressure points on the base of the feet to stimulate reflexes or other organs or systems in the body. It dates back to ancient times and was also used in war times as a way of providing pain relief and balancing the body.

Best suited for: Anyone with intestinal issues or hormonal imbalances as it can hone in on the digestive and reproductive organs.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage is a slower, firmer technique, which can penetrate into muscles in order to get to an underlying issue or go deeper within the body to aid overused muscles or muscular hypertonicity. This type of massage uses a more vigorous and firm technique.

Best suited for: People who have high muscle mass and can benefit people who lift large physical loads such as gym junkies or tradies.

Myofascial massage

Myofascial massage works with the fascial systems in our body so can help to soothe or rebalance organs, muscles, bones, tendons and nerves. This gentle, slow technique is usually combined with craniosacral therapy to stretch any areas of fascial tension.

Best suited for: It’s beneficial for everyone but can be good for anyone seeking a gentler form of massage, who has had an adverse reaction to another type of massage, as well as anyone with a condition such as fibromyalgia.

Which is the best 'general' massage to get if people aren't sure where to start?

Swedish or relaxation is an easy introduction to massage, especially if someone hasn’t had one before. But if the person is feeling tension, aches or pains or wants a massage to help with a specific issue, remedial is your best bet.

Endeavour Wellness Clinic offers affordable massage treatments ($20-$35/session) – check to see if your local clinic offers massage.

Interested in Remedial Massage?

Enrich your life and share it with those around you. Find out more about our Diploma of Health Science (Chinese Remedial Massage) and HLT52015 Diploma of Remedial Massage.


Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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