Swedish or Shiatsu?? Read Our Guide to Massage Types

Not sure which type of massage is right for you? Read on to find out more in this no-nonsense guide…

1. Swedish massage

Swedish massage is a gentle type of full-body massage that’s ideal for people who

·         are new to massage

·         have a lot of tension

·         are sensitive to touch

It can help release muscle knots, and it’s also a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage.

For this massage, you’ll remove your clothes, though you may choose to keep your underwear on. You’ll be covered with towels or a sheet while lying on the massage table. The massage therapist will move the sheet to uncover areas that they are actively working on.

The massage therapist will use a combination of:

·         kneading

·         long, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart

·         deep circular motions

·         vibration and tapping

·         passive joint movement techniques


Choose a Swedish massage for relaxation or managing minor pain.

This type of massage is also good for people new to massage.

Book a Swedish massage at Rehab for Mums - click here.


2. Hot stone massage

Hot stone massage is best for people who have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax. This type of therapeutic massage is similar to a Swedish massage, only the massage therapist uses heated stones in lieu of or in addition to their hands. It eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and relieves pain by using heated stones. Hot stone massage may help:

·         ease muscle tension

·         improve blood flow

·         alleviate pain

·         promote relaxation

·         relieve stress

During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone as they massage different parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques using gentle pressure. Sometimes cold stones are also used.



Hot stone massage may relieve more muscle tension than a Swedish massage because of the added heat.

This type of massage is more expensive than a Swedish massage.

Book a Hot Stones massage at Rehab for Mums - click here.


3. Aromatherapy massage

Aromatherapy massages are best for people who want to have an emotional healing component to their massage. This type of massage can help:

·         boost your mood

·         reduce stress and anxiety

·         reduce symptoms of depression

·         relieve muscle tension

·         relieve pain

Aromatherapy massages combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. Your massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference. Essential oils are diluted before being applied to the skin.


During the massage, you’ll be given a full-body massage while inhaling essential oils through a diffuser and absorbing them through your skin.


Aromatherapy combines the gentle touches of Swedish massage with the addition of essential oils.

Do not use this type of massage if you’re sensitive to smell or essential oils.


Book an Aromatherapy massage at Rehab for Mums - click here.


4. Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It’s a good option if you have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.


During a deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will use slow strokes and deep finger pressure to relieve tension from the deepest layers of your muscles and connective tissues. While deep tissue may be more intense, you shouldn’t feel any pain or soreness.



Deep tissue massage is a good option if you have a lot of muscle tension or chronic pain.

Avoid this type of massage if you’re overly sensitive to pressure.


5. Sports massage

Sports massage is a good option if you have a repetitive use injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing a sport. It’s also a good option if you’re prone to injuries because it can be used to help prevent sports injuries. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Additionally, sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.

A sports massage can be done as a full-body massage or the massage therapist may focus on the parts of the body that need the most attention. Deep pressure may be alternated with soothing strokes depending on your needs.


Sports massage is a good option if you have an injury from repetitive muscle use.

This type of massage may also help improve flexibility and sports performance, and reduce your risk for injury.


6. Trigger point massage

Trigger point massages are best suited for people who have injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points, this type of massage can reduce pain.


Trigger point massage uses broad, flowing strokes that are gentle and relaxing combined with stronger, deeper pressure. The massage will include work on your entire body, though your therapist will focus on specific areas of your body that need to be released.



Trigger point massage can help you manage chronic pain.

Wear lightweight clothing for this type of massage.


7. Reflexology

Reflexology is best for people who are looking to relax or restore their natural energy levels. It’s also a good option if you aren’t comfortable being touched on your entire body. Reflexology uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points of the feet, hands, and ears. You can wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows access to your legs.


Reflexology focuses on pressure points in your feet, hands, and ears.

This is a good option if you’re uncomfortable being touched over your entire body. You can also be fully clothed during this type of massage.

Book a Reflexology session at Rehab for Mums - click here.


8. Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu massage is best for people who want to feel relaxed and relieve stress, pain, and tension. It’s a Japanese type of massage that:

·         promotes emotional and physical calm and relaxation

·         helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression

·         may relieve headache

·         reduces muscle tension

Shiatsu massage works the whole body, but your therapist may focus on areas of your body that need extra attention. During the massage, your therapist will use their hands, palms, and thumbs to massage certain points of your body. Pulsing or rhythmic pressure is used. You can be fully clothed during this massage.


Shiatsu is a good option if you’re looking for a relaxing massage. It may also help release minor tension.

You can be fully clothed during this type of massage.


9. Thai massage

Thai massage is best for people who want a more active form of massage and want to reduce and relieve pain and stress. It can also help improve:

·         flexibility

·         circulation

·         energy levels

Thai massage works the entire body using a sequence of movements that are similar to yogic stretching. Your therapist will use their palms and fingers to apply firm pressure to your body. You’ll also be stretched and twisted into various positions. You can wear loose, comfortable clothing during the massage.



Thai massage is more active than other forms of massage, and the therapist will stretch your body in addition to providing a massage.

This is another type of massage where you remain fully clothed.


10. Pregnancy massage

Pregnancy massage can be a safe way for women to get a massage during pregnancy. It can help reduce pregnancy body aches, reduce stress, and ease muscle tension. You can get a massage at any time during your pregnancy, although many women choose to wait until after 12 weeks.  


Pregnancy massage uses mild pressure similar to Swedish massage. The therapist will focus on areas such as your lower back, hips, and legs. You can be fully or partially undressed depending on your comfort level. During the massage, you’ll need to lie on your side while the therapist treats your back. If you’ve had pain in your calves or other parts of your leg, see a doctor before you have a massage.



Prenatal massage is a good option for pregnant women.

This type of massage focuses on gentle pressure and is good for relaxation and mild tension relief.


Book a Pregnancy massage at Rehab for Mums here: https://calendly.com/rehabformums/treatment


The Takeaway

Massage may be a way for you to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Experiment with different types of massage and with different massage therapists to find the type and provider that is most ideal for you.

Always communicate your expectations and intentions with your massage therapist and speak up if there is something with which you aren’t comfortable!

Remember to talk to your doctor before getting any type of massage if you have any health concerns or conditions.


Dawn xx

Rehab for Mums is based in Thelwall. Warrington

Email me at hello@rehabformums.com


Source Article: www.healthline.com


Dawn Jackson

Dawn Jackson is Editor of Rehab for Mums Magazine and Holistic Therapist based in Thelwall, South Warrington. My mission is to bring together women to support other women to feel their best in body AND mind.