Types Of Massage Therapy

Chair Massage is performed with the client fully-clothed and sitting in an ergonomic chair instead of on a massage table. Because these chairs are much more portable and the client is clothed, chair massage is popular in corporate offices, outdoor festivals, and other public locations. Chair massages also tend to be much shorter, lasting only 10-20 minutes, as compared to an hour (or more) of a typical massage session.

Deep Tissue Massage is similar to classic Swedish massage but focuses primarily on relieving tension in the deeper layers of muscles and fascia tissue. The applied pressure is deeper and the strokes are much slower. Special attention may be given to problem areas of chronic tension.

Hot Stone Massage is just what it sounds like. Smooth stones are heated in a hot water bath and then placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist may also use the rocks (instead of their hands) to work the muscles and tissue throughout the massage.

Medical Massage (or clinical massage) doesn’t consist of a particular technique but aims to treat specific medical conditions such as chronic back/neck pain, plantar fasciatis, TMJ disorders, frozen shoulder, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Medical massage therapists tend to work closely with chiropractors, physicians, and physical therapists and are more likely to accept insurance billing.

Sports Massage is a type of massage that is used to work on athletes from professionals to weekend warriors alike. Sports massage doesn’t focus on a specific technique but aims to prevent and treat muscular problems arising from sports and exercise. Sports massage may be applied before, during, or after a specific sporting event or activity.


Swedish Massage or “classic massage” is the primary type of massage offered in spas and is the modality that comes to mind when most people think of massage. The primary goal of Swedish massage is to relax the entire body and release general muscle tension.

Thai Massage is a form of bodywork originating in Thailand. Unlike other forms of massage, Thai massage is performed on a mat on the floor and the client is fully clothed. The practitioner assists the receiver into yoga-like postures, while adding acupressure and massage to provide a complete massage experience. Thai massage is also referred to as “lazy man’s yoga“.

Therapeutic Massage is a fairly broad term that includes many different modalities and techniques. The primary aspect of therapeutic massage is that it puts emphasis on specific health benefits, where and relaxation may be a secondary benefit. Increased range of motion, improved circulation, and pain relief are just a few of the many benefits associated with therapeutic massage.

Trigger Point Therapy addresses specific pain patterns in the body by working through “trigger points“. Trigger points are spots within muscles that produce referral pain patterns in other areas of the body. For instance, a trigger point in the leg may produce pain in the foot or ankle. A trigger point in the back may produce pain patterns in the neck. It is important for massage therapists to have an extensive knowledge of trigger points and pain patterns so they are actually treating the source of the pain, not just chasing the symptoms.

Therapeutic Massage for Pain Relief - Asheville, NC