What are Some Different Types of Massage Therapy?

June 13, 2024

5 massage modalities that can be incorporated into a massage session 

The term Massage Therapy encompasses a wide range of practices. We generally think of Swedish massage, but there are different massage modalities that use various techniques to offer your client unique benefits. As a Licensed Massage Therapist, offering versatile services will help you expand your client base and increase the scope of your practice. Consider adding these five modalities to your current (or future!) service menu: 

Deep Tissue Massage 

Deep Tissue Massage consists of slow, deep, and sustained pressureTherapists use their hands, arms, and elbows to apply significant pressure to muscle fibers.  This type of massage targets tension and pain beneath the superficial muscle layer, providing relief for those with chronic tension. Deep Tissue Massage is an excellent choice for healthy, active clients, but may not be appropriate for others. Client health concerns and desired outcomes should be discussed thoroughly before performing a deep tissue massage. 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (also known as Lymphatic Drainage Massage) promotes healthy functioning in the lymphatic system, which offers immune support by filtering toxins from the body. This technique helps lymph fluid move through the body to reduce swelling and congestion in lymphatic channels. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is highly recommended for clients with immune systems that are acutely or chronically compromised 

Craniosacral Therapy 

Craniosacral Therapy is an energy-based practice used to relieve physical and emotional pressure. Therapists apply gentle pressure to the head and spine, targeting connective tissue and fluids around the brain and spinal cord. This type of massage works well for clients with headaches, back pain, and certain neurological disorders.  


Reflexology involves applying gentle pressure to a system of points on the hands and feet. Each pressure point correlates to a different bodily location, allowing therapists to respond directly to client concerns. This type of massage provides pain relief, improves blood flow, and activates nerve function throughout the body. Reflexology is safe for most clients, but those with foot injuries or circulatory issues should opt for a different service 

Sports Massage

Sports Massage is used to prevent injury, relieve tension, and improve mobility in athletes. This type of massage focuses on specific areas of the body with strokes, kneading, and deep friction. Each athlete has specific recovery and performance goals, so each sports massage is different. During intake, therapists determine which muscle groups to focus on during the session.