Types of massage modalities

  • All types of definitions of
  • massage works and different types of massage modalities



All types of definitions of

massage works and different types of massage modalities

AOS Degree


A massage therapist that has obtained their AOS Degree has attended an accredited school. These schools are not a quick way to get certified and start working. Therapists that have worked hard to obtain an AOS Degree, attended school for twice as long as other certifying schools programs.

Certificate of Education


Advanced Certificate Programs
BCMT created five, leading-edge, premier Advanced Certificate Programs for massage therapists, body workers, and other health-care practitioners.


Canine Massage: 100 hours


Orthopedic and Sports Massage: 150 hours


Prenatal, Labor, Postpartum Massage: 125 hours


The Art of Zen: 100 hours


Spa Elements: 100 hours



Nationally Certified



Certified excellence
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) was founded in 1992 to establish a certification program and uphold a national standard of excellence. Today, the organization continues its work, serving all those who are touched by the field of therapeutic massage and bodywork – consumers, practitioners, volunteers, educators, CE providers and legislators



This type treatment comes from the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture.  It is based on ancient Oriental medical principles for assessing and treating the physical and energetic body.  It employs various methods of stimulating acupuncture points in order to regulate chi (the life force energy) flow. The aim of this method is to achieve therapeutic changes in the body as well as relieve pain, fix impeded Chi flow, and other physiological imbalances.

Alexander Technique


A form of educational bodywork that teaches individuals to overcome bad habits in their posture.  This modality can be done one-on-one or in a group setting.

Amma Therapy


This massage is designed to balance and cause the movement of Chi (life energy).



Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being.

Essential oils, the pure essence of a plant, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely. The Essential Oil Profiles area details over 90 essential oils. Absolutes, CO2s and Hydrosols are also commonly utilized in aromatherapy. Although essential oils, CO2 extracts and absolutes are distilled in different manners, the term essential oil is sometimes used in writing as a blanket term to include CO2s and absolutes.


Aston Patterning


This is an integrated system of bodywork and movement education.  It is a good therapy for individuals with pain issues, as it teaches improved movement and posture.



Bioenergetics is a complementary therapy that involves psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, and gentle touch to relieve muscle tension. The term "bioenergetic" is sometimes used in describing other types of complementary therapies that do not use the techniques described here. It is also used by scientists to talk about cellular energy.

Bowen Technique


This Australian technique teaches holistic healing.  It involves very light touch and gentle rolling motions.

Canadian Deep Muscle Massage


This technique is used to release chronic muscular tension by using deep pressure.

Chair Massage


Chair massage counters the circulatory problems inherent with office work—and provides an appreciated break for employees. Sitting in a massage chair opens up the back muscles, relieves strain on the neck and provides a gentle respite for eyes usually glued to a computer monitor. Even 15 minutes of massage to the neck, back, arms and hands can increase circulation, returning energy levels and helping keep the body injury free.

Chi Nei Tsang


This is an ancient Chinese modality that is primarily concerned with improving Chi (life energy) flow.  It is also thought to revitalize the internal organs.

Core Energetics


This technique involves psychotherapy with massage.  The goal is to improve a persons state of consciousness.  It works the body, mind and spirit.

Craniosacral Therapy


CranioSacral therapy is a manual therapeutic procedure for fixing changes in the structure and function of the brain, spinal cord, the bones of the skull, the sacrum, and the interconnected membranes. It is commonly used to treat chronic pain conditions,  migraine headaches, temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) problems, ear infections, aids in stroke recovery,  spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and a range of other conditions.

Cross Fiber Massage


cross fiber massage training is as unique as its name implies. Often referred to as "Canadian Deep Muscle Massage," cross fiber massage training teaches students a specific technique that provides fast pain and stress relief.

Deep Muscle Massage


Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. Deep tissue massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish massage,but the pressure will generally be more intense. It is also a more focused type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots (also known as "adhesions.")


Deep Tissue Massage


 This term refers to various massage styles that are directed toward the deeper areas of the muscles and connecting tissue.  In most deep tissue massage techniques,  the aim is to effect the various layers of fascia that support muscle tissues.  This helps to and loosen bonds between the layers of connective tissues. Some of these techniques include Rolfing, Trager and Heller work.

Equine Massage


Massage for horses.  It is supposed to improve the connection between the rider and the animal.


Esalen Massage


Esalen is known for its interesting blend of East/West philosophies.  It mixes long, lengthening strokes with gentle rocking and stretching.  It also includes passive joint movement, sculpting of deep musculature,  delicate cranial rebalancing, subtle neural re-education and the precision of Chinese point work. 

Haelan Massage


This modality is intended for people with significant pain issues.  It involves psychotherapy with gentle touch massage.

Hakomi Therapy


Hakomi therapy is a system of body-centered psychotherapy that is based on the principles of mindfulness, nonviolence, and the unity of mind and body. Developed by therapist Ron Kurtz in the mid-1970s, Hakomi uses the tools of touch, massage, energy work, movement education, and body-mind awareness. By helping the client follow bodily tensions, feelings, and sensations, it leads to an awareness of the unconscious beliefs and attitudes that drive behavior and limit responses.

Hellerwork Massage


This is very deep tissue work combined with client/practitioner conversations.  

Hemme Approach


HEMME Approach is an acronym that stands for History, Evaluation, Modalities, Manipulation and Exercise.  This technique comes from medicine, physical therapy and chiropractic work.

Holographic Technique

This six step program woks to release the cycles of stress and muscle tension.  It involves extensive work with our energy fields (Aura work).

Horse Massage


Horses get aches and pains, just as humans do, but they can't use words to make their complaintsknown. Instead, they choose non-verbal ways to let us know they aren't feeling in top shape, and some of those ways can be most unpleasant for their human companions -- and misinterpreted as bad behavior, obstinacies, or rudeness.


Hoshino Therapy


A doctor in Argentina developed this official medical therapy.  It is a specialized form of acupuncture involving 250 pressure points.

Hot Stone Massage


 A variety of smooth-surfaced stones of various shapes and sizes are heated with hot water to approximately 130 degrees. Selected stones are sprinkled with various oils before being slowly rolled on the skin. The stones seem to dissolve tension. Pointed stones are ideal for pressing and is a great way to incorporate acupressure and reflexology. A pointed stone also works wonders around the jaw for TMJ discomfort. For lower back stress, a large warm stone placed on the sacrum assists the spine in relaxing.

Infant Massage


Infant Massage is a holistic and natural way for a parent to bond with their child. It incorporates nurturing touch, massage, and reflexology in away

Integrative Massage


Integrative Massage Therapyserves its clients by preserving and improving their health. Through the integration of a variety of massage techniques, many of which have been practiced for thousands of years, our therapists tailor each session around our individual clients

Jin Shin Jitsu


This is a Japanese form of gentle touch Shiatsu.  It releases blockages in Chi (life energy) flow.

Lomilomi Massage


Lomilomi, the Hawaiian form of bodywork, is a truly profound massage technique that washes over the body like waves. This technique is done by the therapist using his/her forearms and elbows for most of the strokes, which are used to connect the whole body from toes to fingers. This is fairly deep work that results in a vigorous flush of the lymphatic system.Great for athletes and full figured people. 

Looyen Work Massage


This system of work involves resolving deep emotional issues.  This is a deep but gentle touch technique.

Lymph System Massage


Manual lymph drainage uses very  light, rhythmical, spiral-like movements to proliferate the movement of lymph fluids in the body. 

Myofascial Massage


This is a deep-tissue massage that seeks to rebalance the body.  It accomplishes this by releasing tension in the fascia and restoring normal structural alignment in the body.  It also promotes a balanced relationship between all parts of the body. The therapist applies mild, sustained pressure to gently stretch and soften the fascia. This is used to treat back and neck pain, headaches, recurring sports injuries, and scoliosis, and other conditions.

Myotherapy Massage


Myotherapy is intended to relax muscles spasms and alleviate pain.  It works by putting pressure on areas of increased muscle tension.

Naprapathy Massage


Naprapathy is also called tuina massage. Naprapathy is the way in which a doctor treats patients on the surface of the body by applying techniques of massage according to the particular state of illness.

Neuromuscular Therapy


NMT identifies soft tissue abnormalities and manipulates the soft tissue to normalize its function. In so doing the perpetuating pain cycle is broken, and much of the referred pathologic activity is reversed, and function is restored and improved.

On-Site Massage


also known as chair massage or corporate massage) – is administered while the client is clothed and seated in a specially designed chair

Ortho-Bionomy Loosely Massage


Translated from Greek as "correct application of the laws of life", this gentle massage technique is often called the most homeopathic of bodywork. Developed in the 1970's by Arthur Pauls, a British osteopath, ortho-bionomy uses movements and gentle manipulations to find the position of most comfort in response to a pain. The practitioner then works from there to release the core problem.


Oshiatsu Massage


Developed by Oshi in New York. This unique work is the product of years of practice by Oshi who has produced his work in a book. He is a world renown speaker and teacher.


Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Massage


Relieves pain associated with tense or injured soft tissue, Effective for injury rehabilitation

Increases range and freedom of motion. Reduces stress and fatigue, both physical and mental

Minimizes the chance of soft tissue injury occurring. Expands body awareness Promotes relaxation and an overall sense of well-being!


Polarity Therapy


This type of massage work is derived from both Eastern and Western practices. Exercises and meditation practices are included to balance the body both physically and energetically.

Postural Integration


Postural Integration is offered as a complete sequence of individual sessions. Some aspects of the approach -- breath work, body awareness and deep work with the soft tissues of the body -- may be introduced in workshops. Also practitioners may offer demonstrations where a complete session can be observed by a group. Advanced sessions are also available for those who have completed the initial sequence of sessions. The following account is an account of the theory, as well as a description of how P.I. works and details about what to expect in a session.

Pregnancy Massage



Pregnancy massage focuses on the special needs of the mother-to be, as her body progresses through the dramatic changes, of the childbirth experience - pregnancy, birth, and post-partum. Some of the possible benefits of pregnancy massage include relaxation, a calm effect, even blood flow, reduced stress, relief of muscle spasms, cramps and myofacial pain.  Also relief of back, neck, hip and leg pain.  Improved blood and lymphatic circulation.  Easing of musculoskeletal pain caused by stress on weight weight-bearing joints.  Reduced constipation, gas, and heartburn.  Developed kinesthetic awareness.  Body sensory awareness which enhances a woman's ability to focus on the infant within, to count baby's kicks and monitor his or her movement and position.  Improved sleep.    Enhanced ability to relax deeply which is a technique that's useful  between contractions during labor.


Rebalancing Massage


Rebalancing was developed in the 1970's by a group of long-time bodywork practitioners working under the guidance of a spiritual teacher named Osho. The idea was to create a new form of bodywork that would take the best of the presently existing modalities and imbue them with a deeper perspective. Done in ten sessions, rebalancing utilizes a combination of deep tissue massage, joint tension release, verbal dialogue, and energy balancing to relieve physical pain, release emotional holding patterns, and enhance relaxation.



 This is a China originated modality based on the idea that stimulation of points on the surface of the body
 has an effect on other areas or organs of the body. This technique focuses mainly on the hands and feet.

Reiki Massage


Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) in Japanese means "universal life energy." It is a healing technique of transmitting life energy by placing the hands gently in specific positions either on or above the body. This laying-on of hands is designed to relieve pain, restore vitality, heal illnesses, and aid spiritual growth. It was developed by Dr. Mikao Usua, a Christian monk in Japan, who came upon ancient manuscripts revealing the healing system in the 19th century. It was introduced to the United States in the 1930's by Hawayo Takata.



Rolfing aligns the major body segments through very deep manipulation of the fascia of the body to restore the body's natural alignment and balance. Rolfing takes place over a series of ten 1-hour sessions with each session focusing on a different part of the body

Rosen Method


Developed by former physical therapist Marion Rosen, the Rosen method combines gentle touch and verbal communication to evoke relaxation and self-awareness. Because it can bring up buried feelings and memories, it is used as a tool for personal growth as well as pain relief.

Rubenfeld Synergy Method


The Rubenfeld Synergy Method uses gentle touch, movement, verbal exchange and imagination to help access memories and emotions locked in the body. Developed by Ilana Rubenfeld, it integrates elements of Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, Gestalt Therapy, and Hypnotherapy. Because it combines bodywork and psychotherapy, this technique may be used for specific physical or emotional problems or for personal growth.

Seated Massage


Refer to "Chair Massage". In a relaxed state

Shiatsu Massage


This acupressure technique manipulates muscle tissue by stretching it rhythmically and by tapping specific body points with varying degrees of firmness using the fingertips. Shiatsu is the most common form of acupressure therapy used in the US today.  The Shiatsu therapist will hold pressure for 3-5 seconds on specific body points stimulates chi. Shiatsu is highly effective in relieving muscle tension

Soma Neuromuscular Integration Massage


Developed in 1978 by Bill Williams, Ph.D, one of the first students of Ida Rolf, this therapy refined Rolf's work by creating easier, less intrusive ways of working with the fascia and muscles. This ten-session process, which incorporates movement training and awareness tools as well as massage and manipulation, also seeks to promote greater access to the functioning of each hemisphere of the brain.

Sport Massage


This method of massage is designed to prepare an athlete for an upcoming event and aids in the body's regenerative and restorative capacities following a rigorous workout or competition. This is achieved through manipulations that stimulate the flow of the blood and lymph. 

Structural Integration


A system of hands-on connective tissue manipulation and movement education aimed at releasing stress patterns, and helping the client move and function with greater freedom, and effortlessly maintain a more upright posture

Swedish Massage


A proper name, not a reference to Sweden) refers to a collection of techniques designed primarily to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. The lymph system and veins (which carry blood back to the heart) both rely on muscle action, rather than heart pump pressure, to operate. Many believe it is safe to apply light pressure in the opposite direction. Friction is reduced by oil, lotion or a massage gel. Some practitioners claim benefits from vegetable rather than mineral oil while others disagree. Swedish massage can relax muscles, increase circulation, remove metabolic waste products, help the recipient obtain a feeling of connectedness, a better awareness of their body and the way they use and position it. The strokes and manipulations of Swedish Massage are each conceived as having a specific therapeutic benefit. One of the primary goals of Swedish Massage is to speed venous return from the extremities. Swedish Massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissue of lactic acid, uric acid and other metabolic wastes. It improves circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons, keeping them supple. Swedish Massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system while at the same time relaxing the nerves themselves. As it can help reduce emotional and physical stress it is often recommended as part of a regular program for stress management. It also has specific clinical uses in a medical or remedial therapy.

Tellington Touch Massage


TTouch - the Tellington TTouch - is a method based on circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body. The intent of the TTouch is to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence - a little like "turning on the electric lights of the body."

The TTouch is done on the entire body, and each circular TTouch is complete within itself. Therefore it is not necessary to understand anatomy to be successful in speeding up the healing of injuries or ailments, or changing undesirable habits or behavior.


Thai Massage


Thai massage is an interactive manipulation of the body using passive stretching and gentle pressure along energy lines. This ancient form of massage dates back to the time of Buddha and looks like a cross between shiastu, acupressure, and yoga. Practitioners apply pressure along meridian lines with their thumbs, hands, and feet to stimulate the movement of energy in the body, and in addition, move and stretch their clients in Yoga-like poses to free muscular and joint tension. Designed to be both relaxing and stimulating, Thai massage improves flexibility, reduces tension, stimulates internal organs, and balances the body's energy system.


Therapeutic Touch


This energy work focuses on the aura that surrounds the body. Practitioners believe that by balancing
 this energy field, it can help heal wounds, relieve tension headaches, and reduce stress. According to Nurse Healers Professional Associates it also decreases pain and anxiety, promotes relaxation,
and facilitates the body's restorative processes. 

Touch For Health Massage


 This is a simplified form of applied kinesiology (principles of anatomy in relation to human movement).  Its purpose is to relieve stress on muscles and internal organs.

Trager Massage


This method uses movement exercises called mentastics.  It also incorporates massage-like gentle shaking of different body parts to eliminate and prevent pent-up tensions. Trager bodywork is meant to promote relaxation and increase mobility and mental clarity. It is used by athletes for performance enhancement as well as by people with musculoskeletal and back problems. Trager is unusual in that it does not involve very deep pressure.

Trauma Erase Massage


Trauma Erase was developed by Pauline Carte, PhD. Dr. Carte was a pioneer in the field of kinesiology and started her massage career in the 1950's. This amazing therapy literally erases trauma from ones body and mind. Rated Light

Trauma Touch Massage


Trauma touch therapy is a ten-session certified program designed to meet the needs of clients with trauma and abuse histories. In a nurturing and unhurried manner, the therapist and client together create an emotionally safe environment in which healthy boundaries can develop, and respect and trust can unfold. Through focused awareness of sensation, breath, and movement the body is gently reconnected with the emotions, the mind, and the spirit.


Triger Point


Hyper-irritable areas occurring as small knots in the muscles throughout the body. They can also be felt as painful lumps of hardened fascia/connective tissue, and are painful when pressed. They can transfer pain and tenderness (known as "referral patterns") into the joints and muscles. In some cases, the referred pain (from an active trigger point) can mimic other ailments, like heart attacks or tendonitis.

Tuina Medical Massage from China


Requires six years of university in China to become a practitioner. One of the most remarkable healing techniques on the planet. Works with the pulses of the energy pathways known as meridians in Chinese medicine.

Watsu Massage


Watsu is a form of water therapy developed by Harold Dull in the early 1980s.While practicing shiatsu, he noticed that he could deepen the effects of his therapy by working with his clients in warm water. Combining floating, cradling, stretching, shiastu techniques, and dance-like movement, Watsu frees the spine, relaxes the muscles, and increases the flow of energy in the body.


Visceral Manipulation

A gentle hands-on osteopathic technique that works on the fascia of the abdominal organs, to alleviate points of tension throughout the body. No oils are used.

Zero Balancing Massage


A hands-on bodywork system designed to align your energy body with your physical structure.