Common Types of Massage Therapy, Benefits and Contraindications


Most massage therapists use a variety of techniques in a massage therapy session to best address your health and wellness needs. Here are some of the treatments I offer. Please feel free to talk with me about your health goals to customize your treatment.

Swedish: The most well-known type of massage to relax, energize and stimulate circulation. Massage therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury. Swedish massage therapy can be very gentle and relaxing. If you’ve never had massage before this is a good option for your first visit.

Deep Tissue: Deep tissue does not necessarily refer to the amount of pressure used, rather the layers of muscle tissue affected. This type of massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. The massage therapist uses slower strokes or friction techniques across the grain of the muscle. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques. Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems or recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage.

Hot Stone Massage:  A massage technique that uses heated stones to relax and massage sore muscles. The stones can be used for their heat alone, or as massage tools used in combination with essential oils used in aromatherapy. Basalt rocks are generally used because of their heat retention properties, and are usually heated to around 120-135 degrees using hot water. The smooth, rounded stones can also be placed along various points on the body to promote circulation.

Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy massage is the addition of one or more scented plant oils called essential oils to address specific needs. If you have any allergies, especially to nuts, you will want to discuss this with your therapist before having aromatherapy. The massage therapist can select oils that are relaxing, energizing, stress-reducing, balancing, etc. One of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy massage is lavender. I feature two blends primarily – one for stress reduction and one for muscles soreness.

Chair Massage: Massage of the upper body, while fully clothed and seated in a specially designed massage chair in which the client sits comfortably. Seated massages typically last from 10 to 30 minutes.

  • Massage exerts a relaxing effect on the nervous system (psychosomatic)
  • Eases tight, tense, sore and overworked muscles
  • Assists with optimal flexibility of skeletal structure
  • Assists in the movement of venous and lymphatic circulation
  • Assists in the healing of bone due to improved circulation (nutrition)in the local area
  • Assists in the breakdown of fibrous thickenings/adhesions
  • Assists in balancing blood pressure
  • Assists in improving the function of the digestive system

(The following conditions may need doctor’s clearance before proceeding with any massage therapy)

  • Fever
  • Blood clots, thrombosis
  • After recent surgery
  • Acute inflammation (chronic OK with care)
  • Directly after trauma – whiplash, fractures, sprains etc.
  • Cancers – still undergoing treatment
  • Directly over varicose veins
  • Skin conditions – sores, psoriasis, eczema, burns (risk of infections)

Care should be taken with the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy during the first 3 months – afterwards it’s recommended
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke or heart conditions
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Hyper mobile joints and joint replacements

Contraindications particular to Hot Stone Massage

  • Any condition where the client has a loss of sensation, including Neuropathy, Diabetes, Peripheral Vascular Disorder
  • Injury or trauma where nerves have been affected
  • Throughout Pregnancy (due to the rise in body temperature)
  • Psychotic conditions, epilepsy
  • Any dysfunction of the nervous system
  • Anyone with depressed immune system, including Lupus, Epstein Barr, Mononucleosis, HIV/AIDS, Cancer; anyone on Chemotherapy or Radiation treatments
  • Sunburn, Psoriasis, Skin cancer, Burns, Dermatitis, Eczema, Acne, Shingles, Herpes, or any acute inflamed skin condition.