35 Massage Types Around The WorldRoboTouch Authors Team
Massage is considered as a therapy from ancient and medieval times. Different parts of the world has distinctive types of massage therapies. As we see today massage is a relieving therapy that originated from many countries from ancient civilisations including china,japan,India,Egypt and Greece. It induces the body response through which every type of massage have a distinctive historical and cultural experience from the geographic land that are derived from ancient times.
Depending on the place and their ancient culture the practitioner use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows and sometimes even feet and knees. They have some tools like wooden sticks, chairs, massage tables, warm pools, lotions and also stones that gives a hot massage therapy.
With all the different types of massage techniques, here are 35 different massages around the world.
1. Amma/Anma – Japan
Amma or Anma is one of the traditional japanese massage that originated from china. It balances the energy in the entire body , it is also an energy- balancing/therapeutic deep tissue massage that is over 5,000 years old. It is based on the principles of chinese traditional medicine.
Amma restores your body to its optimal function by loosening the tension in your muscles, joints, and connective tissues, while also strengthening your nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. Anma massage primarily focuses over the balance of the body, thus providing relaxation to both your body and mind to create balanced wellness.
It is a combination of pressing, stretching, stroking, and percussion manipulations are involved, along with smooth, fluid-like movements to stimulate circulatory systems. Various body parts like fingers, thumbs, arms, elbows, knees and feet are used to apply alongside accupressure on the focal points sitting on the body’s 14 meridians or energy focal pathways. Client can be lying down or seated on a chair, No oils are generally used for this massage, although a lying down position creates a stronger flow of energy in the body.
2. Acupressure – China
Acupressure originated from China, it is one of the healing methods that are a thousand years old. It is derived from the practice of acupuncture. It is very effective in treating tension related to muscles and ailments specifically headaches, backaches, muscle aches, eye strain, neck pain, sinus issues, arthritis and tension at muscles due to physical strain and mental stress. Acupuncture helps in eliminating toxic wastes and increases your energy levels and overall feeling of well being.
Acupuncture procedures follows by applying firm pressure on focal points on the body that activates the nervous system through the body. Pressure is applied on the acupuncture points on the body by using hands,fingers and elbow that stimulates the body’s natural self healing abilities.Pressing on these acupressure points releases muscle tension, helps with blood circulation, and heals the body. You’ll feel completely relaxed and relieved afterwards.
3. Aromatherapy – Egypt/Greece/Italy
Aromatherapy is originated from ancient massage therapy that takes us back to Egypt, Greece and Italy. Essential Oils are used, that promotes greater healing and relaxation.
The gap is filled with a scent of particular essential oil, helping the body to relax, be uplifted or to revitalize the body’s energy centres. Essential oils have their own unique qualities which defines that they can fuse with different essential oils upon the person interests. It’s important that the client is comfortable with using aromatherapy, and that the aromatherapist doesn’t use too much oil.
4. Acu-Yoga – China/India
Acu-Yoga is a combination of two methods of natural healing, Acu is referred from China and Yoga is from India. It is an active movement massage therapy that activates the body and balances the energy. It improves residual tension in muscles and increase blood flow, which stimulates healing.
Stretching of muscles and body parts while focusing on breathing resembles yoga, it reduces muscle tension. The yoga postures stimulate the acupressure points in the body, helping to open and balance the body energy centres and provides relaxation in problem areas.
5. Ayurvedic Massage – India
Ayurveda is a 5000 year old, indian ancient healing system. It is a natural healing system that treats whole body healing and also examines a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually, including a combination of massage, meditation, yoga, diet, and herbal remedies. Ayurvedic Massage offers relaxation, improves blood flow, eliminates toxins, and rejuvenates the body.
A warm luke blend of herbal oils are used, they are mixed according to the person’s body,ailments and diet.Ayurvedic Massage can be performed either lying down or sitting on a massage mat or chair. For head massage, the therapists use oil to kenad and stroke all over the head and gently tap over the head by folding their fingers and knuckles. It goes through the hair focusing on pressure points on the temples and shoulders, hands and so on. A small dough ball dipped in vegetable oil is used to massage babies as well.
6. Balinese Massage – Bali
Balinese Massage is one of the traditional indonesian massages that combines influences from different cultures of China and India. It has a significant interlink to Ayurveda. Balinese massage is frequently used for relaxation, but it can also loosen tight muscles, help relieve pain,soreness and aches, ease migraines, breathing problems and sleep disorders, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost overall wellbeing.
The therapies that are included in Balinese massage are deep tissue massage, Acupressure, Reflexology and aromatherapy. The massage therapist will fold, knead, stroke, stretch, and press the skin, while also placing Balinese hot stones on problem areas. Aromatic oil is applied on the body to enhance the effect of massage that will stimulate the flow of blood , oxygen and energy will increase dramatically. Balinese Massage will be more gentle and focused on relaxation.
7. Blind Massage – China
Blind Massage is one of the familiar messages that originated from china. It began in the 18th century, when buddhist monk Jianzhen practised the treatment for the first time after losing his eyesight during old age. A blind practitioner’s increased sensitivity to touch may just be the key to a better massage.
Blind massage includes foot and whole body massage, and it is usually the same as other body massages and nothing more different.The practitioner has a thorough knowledge of the human body, including its channels and pressure points, and knows exactly how and where to knead, push, and pull the body to manipulate these points. Blind massage can help ease muscle, tendon, and ligament problems while also treating more complicated disease.
8. Cross Fibre Release/Contractual Tendon Release -Australia
Cross Fibre Release is also known as Contractual Tendon Release technique is a remedial hands-on massage therapy. It is originated from Australia. It gives the body to relax and release the tendon’s including the muscles. It relieves tightness and pain in the muscle improving function and flexibility.
Massage therapist rolls his thumbs and fingers gently and slightly applying firm pressure over your tendons and muscles. There will be no deep pressure applied on your tendons however your muscles will be applied deep pressure with a thorough massage. This type of massage can be integrated with most styles of massage.Where you can feel quick relief and long lasting relaxation through Cross Fibre Release.
9. Breema – Breemava
Breema massage originated from Kurdish mountain village of Breemava, It is situated between Afghanistan and Iran. This kind of massage therapy gives u mental clarity, relaxed body and mind, and balanced emotions and energy. Breema massage significantly brings the balance in mental emotional and physical for optimal health. Breema massage give you more balance and harmony in your life while nurturing your body at the same time.
Breema relieves the tension from the body by stretching the body and also firmly stretch the skin and pull the lean muscles, holding the parts of the body in different postures, and so on. Breema is performed on the floor on a padded mat or massage cushion, usually people will be fully clothed while having Breema massage.
10. Hakali – Mexico
Cactus or ‘Hakali’ massage utilises a combination of indigenous flora, sage, tequila body lotion, and local massage techniques. Hakali or cactus is the key ingredient used in the massage, and has many antioxidant healing properties.
The thorns are pulled out from the cactus paddles before being heated in warm water, so there’s no need to worry about being pricked during a cactus massage! The paddles are then used to knead your tired muscles. They can also be cut in half, exposing a gooey interior that can also be used to massage your body. It removes toxins and re-hydrates your skin, leaving you to feel completely rejuvenated and calm.
11.Champissage – India
Champissage was originated in India and was created by Massage therapist Narendra Mehta, he is blind and found the extreme level of providing stress relaxation through head massage with a touch, Champissage is based on the traditional massage Champi or Head Massage which is practised in India for 1,000 years. Champissage relieves aches, pains, stress, and insomnia, promotes hair growth, and rebalances the flow of energy in the body, providing a deep sense of peace, calm, and tranquility.
The masseuse will massage your head, face, ears, neck, shoulders, and upper arms in order to balance your energy chakras. Oils aren’t used and there’s no need for the client to undress.
12. Creole –Bamboo Mascarene Archipelago Islands
Creole Bamboo Massage is originated from the Mascarene archipelago Islands in the southern Indian Ocean. It is significantly for the people who are willing to lose their weight and eliminate their mental fatigue.
Two hollow bamboo sticks are used with one hollow and the other half filled with grains. The Creole Bamboo massage uses the sticks for rapid and repeated striking on your body at the rhythm of 120-140 beats per minute, while rhythmic Creole music plays in the background.
13. Elephant Massage – Thailand
Elephant Massage is part of an elephant show that’s held in Chiang Mai, It originated in Thailand, It is one of the parts of the Mae Ping Elephant Camp. The elephants show off their amazing talents to the audience, and one of those talents is massage.
The patient lays face down on a mat while the trained elephant gives them a massage by gently stepping over their back using one foot.
14. Esalen – California
Esalen massage is an effective healing art from Esalen Institute in California from 1960’s. It is a combined form of swedish traditional massage with sensory awareness practice and slow flowing Ta Chi with long, integrating strokes. This massage includes deep tissue massaging, mobilising joints, stretching and working with body’s energy. Your tension will melt away and yield to a harmonious state.
This massage therapy is a form of self healing and body balance stimulating. The massage therapist will gently make your body to do exercise with your joints and stretching passively. Massage therapist makes you work with your body instead of working on your body. It is a deep structural body massage that works on your muscles and joints, thus balance your body’s energy.
15. Fire Massage – China
Fire massage is originated from China, it has a different sequence of treating bodyache and muscle soreness with flame. It is a chinese medical treatment which treats your skin that reduces wrinkles and gives younger look and also slim the thighs.
A towel is soaked in alcohol and a kind of ‘elixir’ before being placed over problem areas on your face, legs, or other body parts before being lit on fire for a few seconds. This helps to stimulate the skin, reducing wrinkles, sagging, and dullness.
16. Gua Sha – China
Gua sha is one of the chinese massage techniques which is used to treat neck and back of the head, as well as the foot problems and ligament & muscle issues in the leg. It is not only to relieve pain and soreness in muscles, but also ease other ailments such as respiratory problems.
A Gua Sha practitioner will examine you to find the area where tightness is facing on your body, then they rub them with a spoon or coin, that has been lubricated with a bit of gin or white flower oil until the skin turns red. This will sweep the limitation in your skin, instantly boosting your wellbeing to make you feel better inside and out. The scraping can be described as an instrument-assisted unidirectional press stroking that stimulates an anti-inflammatory and immune response.
17. Hammam – Turkey
A hammam or Turkish bath originated in Turkey, They are built by ottomans, Ottomans first built the baths in the then capital city of Constantinople (now Turkey). Mimar Sinan, an Ottoman architect, designed several key bath structures around the city in the late fifteenth century, some of which are still in operation today. The Cemberlitas Hamami is one such example, giving spa-goers an opportunity to take part in an old world activity.
Traditional cotton body wrap is given to the person to get Hammam therapy, They heat your body in a sauna that has a heated marble platform at the centre, and have your body scrubbed down and washed by an attendant. Then you will be sent for the massage,It is in different forms depending on the hammam centres you visit and who the massage therapist is. Just as an example, they could walk on your back or twist and pull at your body, so prepare yourself and ask beforehand to avoid any surprises.
18. Hilot – Philippines
Hilot is a traditional healing practice originated from Philippines. It has different forms of massage techniques that includes acupressure, deep tissue massage, chiropractic methods and also light exorcisms as part of therapy. It relieves most problematic pains, stiffness, aches, cramps and anxiety and is extremely effective at resetting sprained or stressed joints. Hilot has a speciality in aiding child birth process. A hilot practitioner is often also an herbalist, and can treat both common pains and ailments as well as more complex illnesses.
Hilot massage will relax all your muscle soreness while hilot will manipulate your joints in order to relax both stressed muscles and also your entire body. It also treats body cold while the practitioner massage your body and shoulders to warm you up. Ginger- infused coconut oil us used over all the painful areas that stimulate blood flow and then drag banana fronds lightly over the top. If the leaves stick to any part of your skin, it will be an indication of a problem area. The practitioner will then perform deep tissue massage, acupressure, and joint manipulations on the problem areas.
19. Kahuna – Hawaii, USA
Kahuna is a type of Hawaiian massage that stimulates the natural flow of energy within your body to improve emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Kahuna massage will remove all the stress and releases stress that in turn encourages vitality in the body.
Flowing strokes are applied to the body while the massage process follows on rubbing their hands and forearms in rhythmic wave-like motions both under and over the body. This helps to drain body lymph, massage soft and deep tissue, and balance the body’s energy.
20. Knife Massage – China
Knife Massage originated in China over 2,000 years ago and it is practiced in Taiwan and Japan as well as some Chinatowns in Western cities. It’s carried out according to the meridian theory of traditional Chinese medicine, with the knives stimulating energy along the body’s meridians by clearing up congestion.
The patient will either lie down or lean forward in a sitting position, with a thin cloth covering their back. The practitioner then uses the sharp edge of a knife’s blade to tap along the back’s energy pathways in a chopping motion, which helps to relieve back pain. In Taiwan, two cleavers are also used to gently pound on the patient’s back and shoulders, releasing the body’s energy and helping the blood to flow. Cleavers are also used in China, while samurai swords are used in Japan.
21. Laos Massage – Laos
Laos massage was created by Jivaka, It has an interference with the present technique of massage, that is known today as Thai Massage in India. It is from 2500 years ago, while it originated in Thai, But the technique and process are somewhat different. It relieves overall tension in the body by focusing on the pressure points and vitalizing the muscles. It brings energy balance in the body thus the harmony in the body. On the other hand, the northern tribes of Laos practice Laos Massage to prevent pain and provide a sense of calm.
It’s common to enter an herbal steam sauna before receiving a Laos Massage in a different room, where you will be laying down on a flatbed. The masseuse applies pressure to different parts of the body in a repetitive flow while stretching the entire body. Laos Massage also includes some foot reflexology, and is slightly softer than a Thai Massage. You will still feel your bones cracking in certain areas of your body, however it provides peaceful sense in your body.
22. Lomi Lomi – Hawaii
Lomi Lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage. It is somewhat of a ‘custom’ massage form as it varies by island and family in Hawaiian islands. The name Lomi Lomi can also be used to describe a massage from other island countries.
Deep pressure and stroking are the main techniques used to perform Lomi Lomi massage. The massage can be given anywhere from the beach or in a portable shelter while listening to the waves crashing on the shore. There are no other words to describe it but ‘relaxing’.
23. Maya Abdominal Massage – Central America
Maya Abdominal massage is originated from Central America, where it is a non-invasiva deep massage that is so effective in treating chronic congestion of the digestive and eliminative systems.
By relieving congestion and blockages from the abdomen, it improves the flow of energy and fluids from the body’s systems and prevents chronic disease. It’s also an excellent way to detox.
The Arvigo techniques of Maya abdominal therapies support and enhance health and wellness. The techniques were developed by Dr. Rosita Arvigo in Central America, It is based on the ancient Maya practice of abdominal massage that incorporates a holistic approach to health, emotional, and spiritual healing. These areas are addressed simultaneously to promote optimal health and wellbeing. The massage itself realigns your internal abdominal organs into their proper position, so that they can function properly.
24. Myofascial Release Therapy – USA
Myofascial Release Therapy was developed by John F. Barnes in the USA in the 1970s, and it is a
manually organised massage that stretches the fascia and releases bonds between fascia and muscles. It eliminates pain and balance the systems of the body. It is performed to improve skeletal and muscular alignment before a surgery. It is mostly suitable for sports people who got injured during their sports.
The massage will locate areas of the fascial system that appear to be restricted, and measure the level of loss of motion or symmetry in the body. They then apply gentle compression or tension on these areas in different directions, or roll the skin. This helps to unstick the muscles and increase the normal flow of blood, oxygen, and energy in the body.
25. Reflexology – China
Reflexology massage is based on a Chinese therapy that dates back thousands of years. It utilises the acupressure points in the hands, feet, and ears that connect to the organs, glands and systems in the body.
Different levels of pressure are applied to the acupressure points in the feet, hands, and ears to stimulate the organs of the body, open up energy channels, and relieve blocked areas. Working with the body’s natural energy system, reflexology helps to strengthen the immune system and promote self-healing. It also helps to reduce pain and stress, increase relaxation, and improve blood and lymphatic fluid circulation.
26. Rungu – East Africa
Rungu massage originated in East Africa and it is done with a Rungu stick, which is a wooden throwing club or baton that bears special symbolism and significance the tribal cultures of East Africa.
The Rungu stick is used to penetrate deep into the muscles for a more intense massage experience. The shaft is used in circular motions on larger areas of the body, while the big knob is used on larger muscles and the smaller knob used to get into smaller spaces such as the scapula. As a deep tissue massage, the Rungu is great for relieving tension. It also helps to improve blood flow and sensory nerve perception, increase lymphatic drainage, and create a deep sense of relaxation.
27. Shiatsu – Japan
Shiatsu is known as a Japanese massage therapy, however its origins are in China. Massage and acupuncture are an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, and a Buddhist monk introduced the concepts to Japan in the 6th century. The Japanese then developed their own style of massage based on these concepts. Massage therapist Tamai Tempaku organised the practice into a regiment technique in 1919, and the Japanese Government eventually recognised it in 1964.
Using the fingers, thumbs, and palms, pressure is applied to the body’s meridians, as in acupressure, and the body is also stretched. The masseuse can also roll, brush, vibrate, and grasp the skin. In another technique, the feet are used to apply pressure on your back, legs, and feet. Shiatsu can also include acupuncture and cupping to create balance in the body.
28. Snail Facial Massage – Russia/Japan/UK
Snail Facial Massage can be found in Russian, Japanese, and British spas. The key to the facial is secreted snail mucus, which has powerful anti-ageing properties and can recover damaged skin. It’s a 100% pure and natural process, so you no longer have to buy several snail-based facial creams to get the same benefits.
Three large snails are placed on the face and left to gently glide around, leaving their slime behind. Snail slime contains proteins, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid that helps to retain moisture in the skin, minimise wrinkles, remove dead skin, eliminate scars, and reduce skin inflammation.
29. Snake Massage – Israel/Indonesia
Snake Massage can be found in spas in Israel and Indonesia, offering a unique and relaxing experience for customers. Physical contact with the snakes can also relieve stress, refreshing the body and mind.
In Israel, six non-venomous snakes are used to massage aching muscles and joints, helping to reduce soreness and pain. The larger snakes alleviate deeper muscle tension, while smaller snakes create a fluttering effect. In Indonesia, several pythons are used to massage the body, which is thought to aid in metabolism due to the slithering movement of the snakes on the back as well as the rush of fear-induced adrenaline.
30. Stone Massage – Arizona, USA
Stone massage is developed by therapist Mary Nelson that originated in Arizona in the USA. She practised with hot and cold stone massage for her business Lastone Massage. The river stones are polished and smoothed to use as hot stones. Some massage therapists use a body rock that found in an auspicious place to treat them as a hot stone.
Cold and hot stones are used to apply pressure and different temperatures to your body to make the appropriate changes for a cleansing process. Hot stones are placed on the back along acupressure meridians that balances the overall body heat, which helps to retain heat that deeply penetrates into your muscles, releasing tension. Body rock is used to increase the therapist’s strength and focus pressure on specific areas of the body. It’s either practiced directly on the skin with a lubricant-like massage oil or over the top of clothes. A massage therapist who delivers various different massage strokes can also use the oil-coated stones.
31. Swedish Massage – Sweden
Swedish or ‘classic’ massage is the most well-known form of massage therapy, but it actually didn’t originate in Sweden. Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger adopted the French names for basic strokes that were systemised in the massage, and the practice was confused with Peter Ling’s Swedish Movement System in the 19th century. The massage helps to reduce pain, relieve joint stiffness, increase flexibility and joint function, and improve circulation.
Five styles of long flowing strokes are used to massage the client: effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (working across muscle fibres), and vibration/shaking. It’s great for athletes and those who exercise regularly as they tend to have a buildup of lactic acid, and the massage can help to loosen that and allow fresh blood to flow through.
32. Thai Massage – Thailand
Thai massage is referred to yoga massage as it is originated in India about 2500 years ago, Thai massage is based on yoga and ayurvedic healing massage therapy. Thai massage is created by Jivaka, a contemporary of the Buddha and personal physician to the King of North india, Bimbisara. This massage refers the connections to yoga with Thai massage.
Thai massage refers the yoga so it requires the coordination of the person and the massage therapist. The massage therapist will knead and rub deep tissue, by moving the parts of the body in different positions applying pressure to give a deep stretch. After the massage person can feel the cracking feel in the bones.Northern style of Thai massage only focus on stretching the body while the southern style puts emphasis on acupressure.
33. Trigger Point Therapy – USA
Trigger point is originated in the USA by Dr. Janet G Travell in the 40’s. It is mainly focused on treating sprains, aches, pains, and soreness in muscles. It deactivates the sensitive points on the muscles and also it triggers at the neck muscles that causes pain at the back of the head.
Trigger points relate to a myoneural junction dysfunction in muscles, that makes trigger point massage therapy different from acupressure, reflexology, and pressure point massage.
The massage therapist will identify trigger points in the body that are causing myofascial pain, and release them by applying manual pressure, vibration, injection, or other techniques. For referred pain, as in a headache, the trigger point in the neck muscles is released to stop the headache.
34. Venik – Russia
Venika massage is originated from Russia as it has a unique technique of massaging with a leafy, fragrant bundle of twigs made up of oak,birch or eucalyptus and soaked in hot water, along with an olive oil soap. Venik massage improves the metabolism and balance the blood circulation in the body, It also reduces the growth of pathogens on the skin,that provides relaxation in the mind, awakening the skin and relieving aches and pains.
The person will lay his face down while having the massage, venik will be flutters over the body by massage therapist. Venik will compress against the skin and brush with it sides on the skin and slapping, lashing on the skin. This type of massage therapy helps to open the pores on the skin and
exfoliate the skin while also having therapeutic benefits due to the aromatherapy qualities of the venik. Venik can be used to make essential oils from birch venik that helps in relieving muscle soreness and joint pain as well as respiratory congestion. These essential oils are very good for oily skin with anti-inflammatory facial skin.
35. Watsu – California
Watsu is originated from california in 1980 and was developed by Harold Dull at Harbin Hot Springs. It is an integrated form of hydrotherapy and shiatsu, which is performed in a private heated pool.
It requires a lot of movement in massage therapy, and the patient is more likely to feel relaxed in the lukewarm and base support of the water. Watsu can treat acute and chronic pain, stress-related disorders, and postural imbalances.
Watsu activates the energy lines that are derived from shiatsu, and combines its therapeutic benefits with warm water. Massage therapist and client will get into the pool that is 3-4 metres deep in a lukewarm water. The therapist then supports the body of the client and gently stretches, and massages it in gliding and flowing movements, providing a relaxing experience for the patient.