As a massage therapist, one way to expand your clientele is to offer a variety of massage techniques. The American Massage Therapy Association lists definitions for over 65 different massage and bodywork modalities, demonstrating the significant number of options you can offer your current and potential clients. You do not have to become an expert in every type of therapy to capitalize on a broader clientele; instead, you can choose to specialize in two or more of the following ten most popular massage modalities.
Swedish massage has become the traditional form of massage therapy found in most salons around the country.
Dr. Per Henrik Ling developed the method in the early 1800s by combining several different traditional practices, including those from China, Greece, and Rome. This type of massage targets muscles, glands, circulation, and nerves to relax and produce various health benefits.
Aromatherapy massage employs specific scents from essential oils in order to enhance the massage session. The therapist chooses essential oils based upon the needs of the client to relieve stress or treat other conditions. Some oils may be applied to the skin to further enhance healing. This type of massage is typically used in conjunction with other modalities, including Swedish, acupressure, and reflexology.
Deep tissue massage is used for more significant problems, such as chronically tight muscles, strains, and injury. This modality of massage is not just a deeper version of a Swedish massage; instead, it utilizes its own special techniques and strokes to generate the client’s goals from the session. The therapist targets the deeper levels of the muscles and the connective tissue to promote healing.
As its name suggests, hot stone massage incorporates the use of hot stones as a way to warm and loosen the tight muscles to facilitate the massage.
The stones may also be used during the massage to apply pressure to the tight areas of the body.
Acupressure is an ancient form of massage therapy often used in Traditional Chinese medicine. It is often likened to acupuncture without the needles. Instead of using needles, the therapist uses deep finger pressure to stimulate the energy. Like acupuncture, it applies pressure to specific points in the body to remove any blockages in the body’s life energy that could be causing diseases and other problems.
Shiatsu is a form of acupressure massage whose name is literally finger pressure in Japanese. It is a traditional form of massage in Japan that employs rhythmic pressure at specific meridian points in the body for a few seconds to unblock the body’s energy.
Thai massage does much more than just reduce stress or reduce tension in the body. It utilizes techniques that combine shiatsu, acupressure, and yoga for an interactive manipulation that can also improve flexibility.
Pregnancy massage is specifically tailored to the needs of a pregnant woman. It reduces the tensions and aches that arise from the additional weight during pregnancy while also reducing any swelling and fatigue.
Sports massage is a targeted form of massage for athletes, typically given before, during and after events. It helps to relieve swelling, reduce tension, improve flexibility, prevent injuries, and reduce fatigue with the goal to improve the athlete’s performance.
Reflexology is another massage based on acupressure concepts, but it focuses solely on the hands and feet.
Its basis is the belief that the life’s energy and meridians correspond to points on the hands and feet, so by massaging these areas, you can increase the flow around the body and reduce complaints.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists make a median of $35,970 a year, but the top 10 percent of therapists earned more than $70,000. By incorporating multiple massage modalities into your practice, you can increase your income by attracting a wider range of clients. With continuing education, you can continually learn new techniques and offer them to your clients. Check out our massage therapy courses that help you keep up with the latest developments in massage therapy and bodywork.