Parker University’s Greg May on Seven Popular Massage Therapy Styles

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These seven methods of massage provide an array of therapeutic benefits to recipients. They include hands-on techniques, and sometimes even feet-on techniques, applied with the goal to improve health and human performance.

Swedish Massage: Full-body general massage applied with relaxation in mind. Slow, long, repetitive gliding strokes applied to major muscles with light to deep pressure provided upon request. Kneading and friction of muscles may be followed by some gentle range of motion and stimulating tapping or hacking of the muscles. Great for stress/anxiety relief.

Prenatal Massage: Typically a Swedish application that considers the comfort, stresses, and safety of the mom-to-be.

Neuromuscular Therapy: NMT, or trigger point therapy, involves the specific treatment and deactivation of “trigger points” in muscles; hypersensitive areas that may develop and lead to symptoms such as local and referred pain, numbness, tingling, weakness and lack of normal range of movement. Direct pressure and stretching are used to deactivate these painful triggers to restore proper function and eliminate pain.

Myofascial Therapy: Sustained, extremely slow, static and dynamic pressure is applied to the body to access superficial and deep restrictions in the connective tissue system known as fascia. Myofascial work improves posture and range of movement. Can feel intense, but should always be tolerable, relaxing and feel positive to the client.

Thai Massage: Traditional massage from Thailand consisting of a fully clothed session provided on a floor mat instead of a massage table. Moderate to deep pressure is provided by hands, elbows and even feet to improve energy flow through the body. Thai massage comprises many stretching movements that resemble yoga poses being applied while the subject relaxes and becomes a pretzel. Energizes and relieves tension.

Medical Massage: Application of massage protocols to benefit specific health conditions. From musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica, medical massage therapy must always be approved and controlled by the primary care physician.

Sports Massage: Massage and stretching sessions specifically tailored for the muscles used in a specific sport. May be performed to increase performance prior to sporting events or training sessions (pre-event), enhance recovery following competition or training sessions (post-event), or for ongoing maintenance of optimal functioning and prevention of or rehabilitation from sports injuries.

There is a style of massage therapy to help everyone function at their best.


as seen in Natural Awakenings Magazine