Types of Massage Therapy

Learn the different types of massage therapy treatments.

What are the different types of massage therapy?

With massage, you get more than just a single option as the practice includes multiple varieties. Each of these types of massages includes multiple varieties and various. Here are the main types of massage. 

Swedish massage offers a gentle full-body massage to remove tension and muscle knots. The massage includes kneading, long strokes toward the heart, deep, circular movements, and tapping. It’s best for those using massage to relax and have tight spots that need a little extra work. The massage takes between 35 to 90 minutes, and it’s one of the most popular massages. 

Hot stone massage uses warmed flat stones to induce relaxation. This form of massage can ease muscle tension, improve blood flow, reduce pain, and relieve stress. The stones are placed on different areas of your body, and the therapist may hold them in place. Hot stones may relieve muscle tension more than Swedish massage because of the added heat. 

Aromatherapy massages use essential oils to boost your mood. With the right mix of oils along with a carrier oil, the massage can decrease stress and anxiety, relieve depression symptoms, and reduce muscle tension or pain. Besides the oil, the massage includes full bodywork focusing on the back, shoulders, and head. 

Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage for those with chronic muscle pain. Exercise enthusiasts can use this to reduce soreness, muscle tension, and anxiety. The massage includes slow long strokes with deep pressure using the fingers to get to the deepest layers of tissue. Avoid massage therapy if you are sensitive to pressure. 

Sports massage works well for athletes, especially those prone to injuries. The massage helps to relieve repetitive injury along with pain, anxiety, and muscle tension. Your masseuse will focus on problem areas and mix techniques to suit each body part’s needs. The intent is to improve flexibility and athletic performance while also reducing injury risk. 

Trigger point massage helps people with injury, chronic pain, and issues or conditions. Areas of tightness often trigger pain, and this form of massage reduces those problems while also relaxing the body with deep pressure. This massage works the entire body with a focus on the trigger points. 

Medical or therapeutic massage adopts various styles to suit the patient best. It’s ready to reduce anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, and pain. If you suffer from medical problems along with stiff joints, anxiety, or depression, then this massage will help you. 

Myofascial release massage works on the connective tissue covering the muscles. Specifically, it covers the fascia that should be flexible by removing tension. Use this massage to reduce anxiety, improve quality of sleep, relieve pain, and improve quality of life. 

Shiatsu massage uses a pulsing firm pressure over the entire body to promote relaxation. With this type of massage, the therapist will look for pressure points to increase relaxation. The style can relieve stress, anxiety, depression, headache, and muscle tension. 

Thai massage reduces pain and stress while improving flexibility, circulation, and energy level. This style uses firm pressure over the body, along with active stretching and twisting. You will need to be active for this style of massage instead of laying flat on a bed. 

Chair massage works with a special chair designed for the purpose. The massage focuses on the neck, back, and shoulders to relieve stress and improve relaxation with light to medium pressure. Choose this type of massage if you are new to massage as it’s more comfortable. 

Reflexology helps to restore natural energy levels and improve relaxation and restoration. It focuses on pressure points on the feet, hands, and ears instead of the whole body, making this type of massage more comfortable for some. 

What makes various types of massage therapies different?

The type of massage varies by the focus. Some massages focus on removing tension or knots, while others relieve stress and help with relaxation. Others focus on chronic injuries, and yet others improve headaches, circulation, and healing. Talk to your doctor about what time of massage will work best for your needs. Another option is to try several types of massage and see which works best for you. 

How do you know which type of therapeutic massage is best for you?

What type works best for you depends on your physical ailments. Honestly, you can never know which style will work best for you until you try the different types. First, though, decide which type of massage appeals to your needs. You can always talk to the masseuse and tell them you want to try out different styles of massage to figure out what works for you. 

However, the two most popular types of massage are hot stone and Swedish. Both of these will help with pain and tension. In addition, deep pressure massage works well with deep-set pain. Other types of massage are more targeted to a specific problematic area. 

What types of massage therapy are best for pain relief?

Therapeutic massage works best for pain relief. While the most popular can reduce pain, their main purpose is to reduce tension and induce relaxation. With a therapeutic massage, you can relieve stress, anxiety, muscle pain, tendon, and joint problems and stimulate the body to help heal itself. Over time, many studies have shown the benefits of therapeutic massage as a treatment. 

Swedish massage can also help with pain too as can other types of massage. Deep tissue massage can help with deeper pain problems but only for those who can handle the deep pressure. At first, this form of massage can hurt, but as the body loosens up, it will remove tension and pain. 

What types of massage therapy are best for restoring mobility after an injury?

Deep tissue massage and sports massage will help with mobility after an injury. First, massage can benefit athletes by helping to relax muscles and tension. Second, deep tissue massage can help to release fluids and tension in the muscles. Third, the massage can improve muscle flexibility, shorten recovery time, and help to prevent over-training. 

Choose this massage if you want to prevent future injuries, as it can help to stretch connective tissues and improve circulation to reduce the chances of adhesion. Deep tissue massage can even release chemicals the body needs to repair itself for lasting effects. Those with sensitivity to deep touch will probably want to start out with a Swedish massage first before deep tissue. 

What types of massage therapy are best for reducing chronic pain?

Swedish and sports massage can help with chronic pain. For more targeted pain reduction, try trigger point therapy or deep tissue therapy. Muscle pain sufferers should try all three to find what works best for them. Keep in mind, all types of massage can help with chronic pain, although some are better suited for deeper pain. 

However, for those with constant pain, consider adding massage to your regular routine. One massage can help; however, adding a massage to your weekly schedule will improve the effectiveness for long-term benefits. Over time massage can help with chronic pain, focus, mental clarity, relaxation, muscle tension relief, and even detoxification. 

What types of massage therapy are best for sports and repeated use injuries?

For repeated sports issues, focus on sports massage as it’s tailored to the needs of each person. With this type of massage, you can decrease the risk of injury, increase awareness of your body, improve the recovery rate and muscle use. Furthermore, the massage helps to increase your range of motion for easier movement. 

Sports massage can even increase oxygen and nutrient supply while reducing wastes that harm your body. An additional benefit includes a relaxed, focused, and clear mind ready to help with a meditative state during exercise. Of course, this type of massage can reduce pain and increase blood flow to reduce fatigue during exercise. 

If you experience chronic injuries in the same area, then sports massage can help with targeted relief. Your massage therapist will focus specifically on the trouble areas and alternate between deep pressure and soothing strokes depending on your needs and issues. 

Additionally, you can try a Thai massage as it helps to increase flexibility and requires active participation. A lesser-known type of massage is active release therapy that helps athletes to recover quickly by manipulating muscles and soft tissues. It’s a type of trigger point massage focusing on areas of discomfort.

Why choose Portland Wellness Care for massage?

Portland Wellness Care helps customers with various techniques to ensure quality of life. We integrate multiple medical resources by combining both western and eastern medical healthcare, which allows us to serve you the way your body needs. From massage to sports medicine and more, we can help make your life more comfortable by encouraging your body to work correctly. 

At our clinic, you will get a dedicated treatment plan for physical therapy with a team of therapists ready to help you recover, including massage therapy. With a host of other pain management and therapies, we can help you find the right treatments to help you feel better and recover from injuries. Call Portland Wellness Care today and schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists and massage therapists to start your recovery journey. 


Massage offers improved connections between your mind and body through relaxation and reduced tension. With several types of massage available, you can find the right option to remove pain and stress. Portland Wellness Care offers massage therapists on staff ready to improve your life with therapeutic massage for a healthier, happier life.


Portland Wellness Care offers free consultations for patients who have questions, such as: What is the best treatment plan for me? What services will help me most? What the out-of-pocket costs might I incurred? How long will my treatment plan last?
or call us today at (971) 379-2455
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