My Mantra
To educate, inspire and encourage woman to be the best version of themselves possible and support them on their own personal journey to wellness…

Massage 101

“Massage is not a luxury, it’s a way to a happier and healthier life”

Hey Gorgeous Goddess,

In today’s article I’m uncovering what massage therapy is and the top 10 benefits you can receive from getting a massage. Plus I’m giving you an overview of 20+ massage styles, so that you can decide what is right for you. If you’re someone that doesn’t like the idea of being touched I’ve even got a few options in here for you too. This article is PACKED with juicy info that I just know is going to be so beneficial for you on your wellness journey.

Let’s dive in!

There is nothing I love more than getting a delicious, full-body relaxation massage! I’m talking the kind where you end up covered head-to-toe in luxurious massage oil and are sent off to bliss-land while listening to relaxation music and nature sounds. You soak up every tranquil minute and walk out glowing… partly because of all the oil (let’s be real), but mostly because you’ve been in a deeply relaxed state for anywhere between 60-90 minutes and you feel like you’re floating on air. Yep, I could go for one of those right about now to be honest with you. However massage is not only used to promote relaxation, it is greatly beneficial for many different health concerns, which is why I love having this tool in my wellness kit!

What Is Massage Therapy & Is It Different To Body Work?

Massage therapy involves a massage therapist pressing, rubbing and manipulating your muscles and soft tissue to improve both physical and emotional wellbeing. Massage therapy is often referred to as “bodywork” when used in alternative health practices.

Fun Fact!

Did you know that the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians were the first to discover the healing power of massage?

Top 10 Benefits of Massage:

  1. Reduces muscle tension, pain & headaches
  2. Improves circulation
  3. Stimulates the lymphatic system
  4. Improves mental state
  5. Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
  6. Promotes relaxation
  7. Increases flexibility and mobility
  8. Improves skin tone
  9. Aids injury recovery
  10. Improves digestive function

Hot Stone Massage at Soul & Skin Spa

21 Different Types of Massage Styles & Where They Originated:

When I discovered the wonderful world of massage I had no idea just how many different types of massage techniques there are available. It truly blew my mind! I’ve listed the most well known styles here. See which one appeals to you most, book in for a treatment and see if it’s the right fit for you.

  • Acupressure/Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a key component in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves the insertion of hair-thin needles through your skin at strategic points, known as acupoints on your body. It is used to correct imbalances in the flow of energy, treat pain and dis-ease in the body while improving overall health and wellbeing. (Read more in my article: Acupuncture 101)

This is a “Light Touch” therapy, with needles only occasionally causing temporary soreness.

I’ve tried it and love it!

  • Amatsu

Amatsu therapy combines modern research on anatomy, physiology, and movement with ancient Japanese movement practices (known as taijutsu). This therapeutic bodywork focuses on the soft tissue and fascia. Practitioners attempt to harness natural movement to create small but significant changes in the body that encourage freedom of movement.

This is a “Light Touch” therapy.

  • Aquatic Bodywork/Hydrotherapy

Aquatic bodywork is a type of water therapy that takes place in a therapeutic pool. It combines exercises or movements through the water along with the use of jets and flowing water to encourage rehabilitation, pain relief and relaxation. (I Love going to Noosa Springs Spa and relaxing in their hydropool)

This is a “Light-Medium Touch” therapy as some jets can be quite direct and forceful.

I’ve tried it and love it!

  • Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage is essentially a Swedish massage but uses lotions or oils that are infused with essential oils. During the massage you receive therapeutic benefits from inhaling and absorbing the essential oils through your skin. (I do this for myself at home with my “Full Body Self-Love Massage”)

This is a “Light Touch” therapy.

I’ve tried it and love it!

  • Ashiatsu Massage “Barefoot Massage”

Ashiatsu is a massage technique that requires the therapist to use their feet instead of their hands. The therapist will quite literally walk along your back while using a bar or rope, to balance above you. Although the name comes from a Japanese word, translating to foot and pressure, this technique is said to have started in India.

This is a “Medium Touch” therapy.

  • Biodynamic Massage

Biodynamic massage is a holistic form of massage that was developed in Norway and works on a physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual level. It encourages the body’s ability to heal itself and aims to free emotions and energy, which have been trapped in the body and return the body to equilibrium and harmony.

This is a “­­Light-Strong Touch” therapy. Some therapists may use a non-physical touch form when performing auric work.

  • Burmese Massage Therapy

A Burmese massage has elements of Thai, Chinese and Indian massage techniques, infused into one. Burmese thanaka oil is commonly used and has a sent similar to that of sandalwood.

This is a “­­Light-Medium Touch” therapy.

  • Chair Massage

If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands but still want to schedule in a bit of self-care, this is a great option. A chair massage usually lasts around 15-20 minutes and focuses on the back, shoulders, neck, arms, and head. It is designed to relax the muscles and improve flexibility and movement. Unlike most massage styles, you can remain fully clothed during this massage, which some may prefer.

This is a “­­Light Touch” therapy.

I’ve tried it but personally find it more relaxing to lay down during a massage.

  • Champissage “Indian Head Massage”

An Indian head massage can take anywhere between 25-45minutes and focuses on massaging acupressure points on the upper back, shoulders, neck, head and face. This massage technique originates from Ayurveda and takes a holistic approach, by aiming to improve physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This massage is usually done while you are seated.

This is a “­­Light Touch” therapy.

Head Massage at Soul & Skin Spa

  • Cupping Therapy

Cupping originated in China and involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The suction helps to promote blood flow and Qi (energy) in the body. After a treatment you may notice unsightly red marks where the cups were placed on your body, like a bruise. This is a result of the blood being pulled into that area. The darker the mark, the more toxins and stagnant blood was pulled up during treatment. The marks can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The more frequently you receive cupping for the same issue, the lighter the marks will become.

This is a “­­Medium-Hard Touch” therapy.

  • Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage originated in Ancient Greece and is predominantly used to treat issues, such as strains and sports injuries. It involves applying steady pressure using slow, deep strokes to target the inner layers of the muscles and connective tissues. This style of massage can be quite uncomfortable, but it works wonders!

This is a “Hard Touch” therapy.

During my years as a professional Ballerina, I had a deep tissue massage once when I had a dance injury and holy guacamole it was INTENSE!

  • Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage originated in India and was then adopted by China. It involves the use of smooth, flat, heated stones that are placed on specific points on the body to relax tensed muscles and relieve pain. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat and are heated anywhere between 130-145 degrees. Some therapists may also hold the stones while giving a Swedish style massage.

This is a “­­Light Touch” therapy.

Hot Stone Massage at Soul & Skin Spa

  • Lymphatic Drainage Therapy “Lymphatic Massage”

Lymphatic drainage therapy originates in Denmark and is a gentle, rhythmical massage treatment performed by a specially trained lymphatic massage therapist. The aim is to stimulate the circulation of lymph fluid around the body which helps to speed up the removal of toxins and waste from the lymphatic system. It treatment can also help to boost the immune system.

This is a “Light Touch” therapy.

  • Lomilomi Massage/Kahuna Massage “Hawaiian Massage”

Lomilomi massage comes from the Polynesian Islands. This massage style focuses on long, smooth, rhythmic strokes that glide from one part of the body to another. The therapist will work intuitively, so no two massages will ever be the same. It is common for the therapist to use their palms, forearms, fingers, knuckles, elbows, knees, feet, even sticks and stones. You may even notice your therapist softly chanting or saying prayers while giving the treatment.

This is a “Light Touch” therapy.

  • Prenatal Massage

This one is for the Mama’s-To-Be! This therapeutic bodywork focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the incredible changes of pregnancy. Prenatal massage helps to enhance the function of muscles and joints, relieve back pain, improve circulation and general body tone. It can also help to relieve mental and physical fatigue.

This is a “­­Light Touch” therapy.

  • Reflexology “Zone Therapy”

Reflexology is a massage therapy that dates back thousands of years to ancient civilisations of Egypt, India, Native America and China. Reflexology involves the application of pressure to specific points on the feet and hands. This is done using thumb, finger, and hand massage techniques without the use of massage oil or body lotion.

This is a “­­Medium Touch” therapy.

  • Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage therapy is a form of Japanese bodywork that is based on concepts in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) such as the use of Qi meridians. When a therapist is performing shiatsu, they will apply deep pressure using their fingers, thumbs, and/or palms in a continuous sequence. Each acupressure point is held for two to eight seconds to help release tension and bring balance to the body. It can help to lift your mood and make you feel relaxed.

This is a “­­Medium-Hard Touch” therapy.

  • Sports Massage

Similar to deep tissue massage, sports massage originated in Ancient Greece and Rome and was prescribed to gladiators, before and after exercising. Sports massage therapy is specifically targeted to treat and prevent sport induced injuries. It incorporates many different styles of massage therapy to manipulate and treat the injuries and muscle strains. During a treatment, your muscles will be stretched and stimulated to reduce muscle tightness and improve the condition of the soft tissue.

This is a “Medium Touch” therapy.

  • Swedish Massage

A Swedish massage is the most common type of massage therapy. If you have ever booked in for a relaxation massage when visiting a day spa, you have most likely had a Swedish massage. It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on the top layers of muscles. The therapist may also combine this with gentle movement and manipulations of the joints. Swedish therapy helps to relieve muscle tension and promotes deep relaxation. After a Swedish massage you can feel relaxed and energised.

This is a “­­Light Touch” therapy.

I’ve enjoyed a Swedish massage on many occasions and especially love a full-body Swedish massage!

  • Thai Massage/Thai Yoga Massage

As I’m sure you can guess, Thai massage originates in Thailand. It is said that a friend of the Buddha, developed this ancient therapy over 2500 years ago. Thai massage combines acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles and assisted yoga postures. The therapist works the entire body using a sequence of movements that are like yogic stretching. They will stretch and twist your body in various positions while they use their palms and fingers to apply firm pressure to different parts of your body.

This is a “­­Light-Medium Touch” therapy.

I’ve had many Thai massages and LOVE them!

  • Trigger Point Massage

Trigger point massage is a form of remedial massage therapy that is often used in physiotherapy practice. The therapist applies direct pressure to specified points on the tender muscle tissue to reduce muscle tension and provide pain relief. It is particularly beneficial for knotted muscles.

This is a “­­Medium-Hard Touch” therapy.

Top Tip: Drink plenty of clean, filtered water after a massage to ensure that the lactic acid that is accumulated and released from your muscles can be flushed from your system.

So gorgeous girl, if you have never had a massage before I highly encourage you to gift this experience to yourself! Just remember that massage should only be administered by a licenced or certified therapist to avoid injury.

If you found this article to be beneficial on your wellness journey, then please share this with your besties right now. I want to spread the message of true health and happiness to as many people as possible and I would LOVE your help so get sharing!

Love Kat Xx

Ps – I would love to see a pic of you during your treatment! Please feel free to DM me and if you share on Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @kathryn.chandler so I can see your post and cheer you on!