What Massage Style Do I Need?

Unless you are working in the field or get weekly massages, it is hard to gauge which style of massage you really need. Our needs are in constant flux, they can change from one appointment to the next.

Sometimes you just need a moment of relaxation while another day you may just need your massage therapist to dig their fingers in a stubborn knot.

There are several different styles of massages that could benefit you in different ways. You can have a focused massage to relieve your muscle tension or an overall full-body healing massage.

There are several types of massage styles, but to keep it simple, we’ll review the most classic styles.


1. Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the most practiced style of massage. It is a full body massage that is using long and short strokes to promote total relaxation, increase circulation, eliminate toxins, and improve bodily functions.

Suited for people who:

→ sensitive to touch

→ first time getting a massage

→ want to primarily relax while easing tension

2. Deep Tissue

This massage uses techniques to target the sublayers of the musculature and fascia. Deep tissue uses more pressure than Swedish massages and helps relieve chronic muscle pain, soreness, and anxiety.

Suggested for those needing:

→ to break up scar tissue from an injury

→ relief from chronic muscle tension

→ relief from serious back pain

→ breaking down scar tissue

3. Sports Massage

This type of massage works at pumping and stimulating the body. It helps with flexibility and can improve an athletes performance. It is commonly used for athletes, treating anxiety, reducing muscle tension and recovery from an injury. Medium to deep pressure is usually applied throughout the massage, alternating for the different areas of the body.

Ideal for those who:

→ have a repetitive use injury of a muscle

→ are in competitive sports

→ wish to prevent sports injuries

→ experience anxiety and muscle tension

4. Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massages are a safe way for a mother to compliment her prenatal care and to improve her overall pregnancy experience. It helps to reduce pregnancy body aches, swelling, tension, and sciatic pain. Prenatal massages involve mild to medium pressure, similar to a swedish massage. The massage therapist will usually focus this massage on the lower back, hips and legs.

This massage is designed for:

→ those who are in their 2+ trimester

→ experiencing an uncomfortable pregnancy

→ lower back pain and hip pain

5. Therapeutic Massage

A therapeutic massage can either be smooth or stimulating, it works at bringing your body back in balance and harmony. It helps to reduce pain, relieve tension and can target a specific area that has been bothering you. This style uses light to firm touch and will improve blood and lymph circulation, while inducing a state of calmness.

Helps with/for:

→ treating a frozen shoulder

→ migraines

→ reduce stress and tension

6. Couples Massage

A couples massage is one that you do with a friend, a partner, or a family member. Usually you will be placed in the same room (on two different massage tables). You can choose the massage style that best fits your needs for that day. For mobile massages, you can either have two therapists come to your home or have a massage one after the other.

Perfect for:

→ someone who wants to have a new experience with a friend, family member or loved one.

→ a gift idea; enjoy a special occasion together

7. Reflexology

Reflexology is an alternative therapy where pressure is applied to specific points on the feet, ears and hands. Reflexology works with the central nervous system of the body. Applying pressure to specific areas sends “calming messages to the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which in turn signals the body to adjust the tension level” (Source: University of Minnesota). A reflexologists helps the body repair itself, bringing the body back in balance so that it can heal its systems.

Summary of Reflexology:

→ people looking to restore their energy levels

→ reduce pain

→ treat psychological symptoms: insomnia, anxiety, stress

→ bring internal organs in a state of optimal function

→ improve circulation and the immune system

To Conclude

Massages benefit your overall wellbeing. There is a massage style that will surely meet your needs. Take the time to expriment with different styles to discover which one works best for you.

To sum up, be sure to communicate your goals and expectations for the massage prior to your session. Your massage therapist is there to help guide your body back into balance on an emotional, physical, and mental level.


  1. Editorial, CureJoy. “8 Proven Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage.” CureJoy, 28 Feb. 2018, www.curejoy.com/content/benefits-of-deep-tissue-massage/.
  2. Griss, Julie. “What Is Therapeutic Massage Therapy?” Health24, 7 Mar. 2012, www.health24.com/Natural/Therapies/What-is-Therapeutic-Massage-Therapy-20120721.
  3. “How Does Reflexology Work?” Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing, www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/reflexology/how-does-reflexology-work.
  4. “The Difference Between Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage.” Hammam Spa, 19 May 2016, hammamspa.ca/hammam-life/the-difference-between-swedish-and-deep-tissue-massage/.

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