Massage Therapy – Healing Hands

Massage Therapy

Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen. ~Shakti Gawain

What are the different types of massage therapy? How is it beneficial? Massage therapy is a very popular and effective therapeutic treatment. There are probably more than 100 types of massage therapy. Swedish massage is one of the most commonly practiced types of massage in the United States.

Massage therapists use several different techniques including long, smooth strokes, kneading and other movements to stimulate. increase circulation, soothe, or relax superficial layers of muscle. Sometimes massage oil or lotion is used.

Locations for MassageHOW POPULAR IS MASSAGE THERAPY? According to the most recent American Massage Therapy Association survey, roughly 38 million adult Americans (18 percent) had a therapeutic massage at least once a year. More than half of adult Americans (59 percent) would like to see their insurance cover massage therapy.

The average income for a massage therapist living in the United States is about $21,000 per year.  More than 50% of all massage therapists, earn a living doing another job, as well.  An average of 31 percent of adult Americans received a massage in the previous five years.

So why do people use massage therapy and what are the benefits?  Massage therapy can be beneficial in a number of different ways:

  • soothe achy joints
  • relieve depression
  • remove stress
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce level of stress hormone cortisol
  • boost neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine
  • reduce inflammation
  • improve sleep
  • increase disease-fighting white blood cells
  • reduce PMS symptoms, like bloating and mood swings
  • increase mental alertness
  • increase blood flow to improve complexion and skin
  • encourage lymphatic drainage
  • bring relief to chronic illness sufferers

and more.


Massage and Medications

Massage therapy is not for everyone. Particular medications can affect the impact of massage therapy manipulations, as outlined above. Massage therapy is not recommended in the following situations

  • If you have an infectious skin disease or rash, massage therapy should not be allowed.
  • If you have an open wound, do not allow massage therapy near the wound.
  • If you have a torn muscle, with swelling and bruising, you should check with your doctor and wait for the area to heal.
  • If you are prone to blood clots, check with your doctor.
  • If you have heart disease you should check with your doctor before having a massage.
  • If you have recently had chemotherapy or radiation, check with your doctor before having a massage.
  • If the area is inflamed, do not allow massage to be done directly on top of the area of inflammation.
  • If you have tumors, you should not have massage done directly on top of the tumors.
  • If you have abdominal hernia, do not massage the hernia.
  • If you have fractures or broken bones, do not masssage directly over the area.
  • If you are pregnant, massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage should be used, after checking with your doctor.
  • It’s best not to eat a full meal just prior to massage therapy.

There are probably more than one hundred different types of massage therapy available.  Here are a few of the more popular types of massage.

  1. Swedish Massage Therapy
    a. Effleurage
    b. Petrissage
    c. Friction
    d. Vibration
    e. Percussion
    f. Passive and active
  2. Thai Massage
  3. Aromatherapy Massage
  4. Deep Tissue Massage
  5. Shiatsu
  6. Pregnancy or Prenatal Massage
  7. Hot Stone Massage
  8. Reflexology
  9. Sports Massage
  10. Back Massage
  11. Trigger Point Therapy
  12. Cranial Sacral Therapy
  13. Geriatric Massage
  14. Chair Massage
  15. Neuromuscular Therapy Massage
  16. Active Release Technique Massage
  17. Bowen Technique
  18. Acupressure
  19. Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage
  20. Lymphatic Massage
  21. Ayurvedic Massage
  22. Raindrop Therapy Massage
  23. Polarity Therapy Massage
  24. Breast Massage
  25. Rolfing Massage
  26. Feldenkrais Massage
  27. Aquatic Massage

For more information about massage therapy, visit the following websites.

The American Massage Therapy Association 
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)
The National Association of Massage Therapists
The Massage Therapy Foundation


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at

 Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.


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