Understanding the Differences Between Various Types of Massage

A good massage can make you feel relaxed and energetic, and help increase blood flow for faster healing and better overall health. However, there are actually various types of massages that you might find available at a spa or even at a physiotherapist's office; note a few differences between these massage techniques so you can determine which might be best for you.

Deep tissue massage

A massage that is meant for relaxation may involve light touching over the skin, with just enough pressure to knead and relax the muscles. Deep tissue massage means reaching deeper layers of muscles and connecting tissue in order to address problem areas of the muscles. This can be good for those who feel "knots" or added discomfort from tense muscles, for those who have receptive injuries, and for those with poor posture.


Reflexology concentrates on your reflexes and pressure points on the body, which can help the body to relax and increase blood flow in certain areas. A reflexology massage may concentrate on areas of the feet, hands, and back. This massage is often used for more than muscle relaxation, as it may increase blood flow and healing of the digestive system, liver, and other organs in the body.

Hot stone massage

A hot stone massage involves the use of smooth stones that are heated and then used for massaging the body, or which are put in one place and allowed to sit on the skin for several minutes. They may even be placed between toes! The heat from the stones can help increase blood circulation, more so than a standard massage, and may work to ease muscle tension as well as making the body looser, more limber, and more flexible. Hot stone is also a very relaxing massage to get during winter weather, and for those with poor circulation and who may have a hard time getting and staying warm.

Shockwave therapy

Shockwave therapy involves using a small tool that administers strong energy pulses onto certain areas of the body. This can help penetrate deep tissue, more so than can be done manually by a massage therapist, and can increase blood flow and stimulate healing of muscles, tendons, and other tissue. Shockwave is a good choice when you need to treat an injury, as manual massage may be difficult and even make the injury worse. The shockwave is not warm and doesn't apply pressure on the treated area, so it may be more comfortable for those who are sensitive to other forms of massage.