10 Unique and Trending Massage Techniques

Here are a few popular massage therapy methods more spas are beginning to try. // Photo credit: MilanMarkovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

While common types of massage like Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, and Shiatsu remain popular, spa-goers are beginning to branch out with lesser-known modalities that offer great results. Here’s a list of some that are getting attention both here and abroad: 

ABHYANGA: The therapist applies light touches using aromatic herbal oils to help balance and relax the body and stimulate circulation by softening tissue.

 ASHIATSU: During this barefoot massage, the therapist walks on the client’s back to help relieve pain from chronic soft-tissue damage and provide deep relaxation. 

CHI NEI TSANG: This internal organ massage works directly over the torso and abdominal areas where stress, tension, and negative emotions accumulate and helps to treat digestive problems as well as sleep issues, moodiness, pain, trauma, and stress. 

CRANIALSACRAL THERAPY: Light touches to a client’s skull, face, spine, and sacrum help to relieve stress and tension by releasing restrictions and compression in the craniosacral system. 

JAVANESE MASSAGE: The therapist uses all parts of the hand when giving this massage, including the knuckles, to help relieve muscle and joint pain. 

LOMI LOMI: This traditional Hawaiian massage technique helps release tension, assist blood and lymph flow, and remove toxins with broad pressure from the therapist’s two hands, forearm, and elbow. 

MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE: Gentle, rhythmic strokes stimulate the lymphatic fluids in the body to remove waste fluids and strengthen the immune system. 

MYOFASCIAL RELEASE THERAPY: This approach helps to release muscle tightness and eliminate pain by applying gentle, sustained pressure to myofascial connective tissue restrictions. 

PINDA SWEDA MASSAGE: This Ayurvedic massage requires the use of warm medicated herbal oils and herb bags to help reduce swelling, relax muscles, improve skin texture, and stimulate blood circulation. 

WATSU: Performed in warm water, this technique consists of a combination of massage, muscle stretching, and dance. It helps to relieve pain, relax muscles, and reduce stress. 

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