Six Types of Massage Therapy You Should Try

There are more than 200 types of massage practiced across the world today. Some modalities are more widely known than others. Swedish and sports massage are available at most any spa. Clinics that offer more exotic styles like Thai massage and shiatsu are popping up in even the smallest towns. As the number of massage establishments increases so will the types of massage you can receive.

These lesser known therapies are equally as beneficial as their more popular counterparts and can be quite interesting to try. Here are some examples of less common types of massage therapy that you may want to try if you get the chance.

Arvigo Technique Mayan Abdominal Massage

In the early 1980s, Dr. Rosita Arvigo moved to Belize to study the country’s medicinal plants. There she started working with a traditional healer named Don Elijio Panti. Arvigo noticed that Panti was able to treat many conditions using a type of abdominal massage. Curious about this method of treatment, she studied the techniques he used and started passing the knowledge on to others.

Mayan abdominal massage is a non-invasive technique that gently helps reposition the organs in the abdomen. It is usually used to help treat menstrual problems, fibroids, misaligned uteruses and infertility. This therapy can also be useful for men who are suffering from problems with their prostate.

Besides the work that the therapist does with you during a session, they teach you self-care techniques that you can do at home. Mayan abdominal massage therapists are also trained herbalists.

Bamboo Massage

Bamboo massage is a deep form of bodywork that originates in Malaysia. It combines aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Tibetan and Polynesian massage styles. The therapist uses bamboo sticks of varying sizes to give the massage. The sticks are well sanded so that they are smooth to the touch and plenty of oil is used during the massage to allow the sticks to glide easily across the skin.

The sticks allow the therapist to apply deep pressure to areas that really need it with little physical effort. This massage can be used to treat a wide range of conditions from muscle pain to headaches.

Barefoot deep tissue massage

Barefoot deep tissue massage is another form of deep tissue massage that can be used to treat muscular pain. This therapy combines aspects of Eastern and Western bodywork. The therapist uses the heels, balls and sides of their foot to apply a variety of techniques including compression, trigger point therapy and myofascial releases.

For this therapy you remain fully clothed and lay on a mat on the floor. The therapist uses his feet to loosen tight muscles. The therapist’s bodyweight is used to apply the pressure allowing him to work deep layers of muscle tissue. The board surface of the foot gives the therapist the ability to apply deep pressure without causing pain.


Breema bodywork started in a small Kurdish town called Breemava. This therapy uses a combination of rocking movements, passive stretching and supported postures to bring balance to the body and emotions. Breema was brought to the United States in the 1980s where it slowly started to gain popularity.

During a Breema session, you lay on a mat on the floor in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing while the therapist gently brings you through a series of passive movements. Breema promotes harmony between the mind and body. This harmony promotes physical and mental well-being.

Hilot Massage

Hilot massage is a traditional Filipino type of massage that combines energy work with deep tissue therapy. This therapy is used by traditional healers in the Philippines and is largely based on the therapist’s intuition. Before starting therapy they will scan your body to determine through both sight and touch which areas are most in need of work.

Before the massage starts you are covered in warm banana leaves to heat up your muscle tissue making it easier to work underlying layers. Coconut oil is used to perform this massage.


Watsu is a form of shiatsu done in a heated pool. It is based in the theories of Zen shiatsu which combine the use of finger pressure with stretching to unblock your meridians allowing your qi or life energy to flow freely through your body.

During the therapy you float in water supported by the therapist as they stretch and manipulates your body. The warm water deepens your relaxed state giving you the filling of floating in a weightless environment.

Heather Bettison

Heather Bettison worked as a professional massage therapist for a number of years. She currently works to educate the public about the benefits of massage and natural health.

One thought on “Six Types of Massage Therapy You Should Try

  • December 22, 2011 at 1:11 am

    add : Ayurveda


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