3 Common Massage Therapy Modalities

December 09 16:08 2016 Print This Article

The majority of people you talk to would probably agree that there is never a bad time for a good Euro-spa massage. Indeed, massage is good for releasing tension but it can also improve your health in other ways.

Of course, you have to get the right kind of massage to serve your particular needs.  After all, massage is not just about muscle pain: there are several modalities that provide specific—and very different—health benefits.


As a medium-pressure modality, Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage around the world today. To be honest, this is the type of body work most people envision at the mention of the term “massage.”  But while many are familiar with the term and with its results, the components of Swedish massage are quite as familiar.Image result for 3 Common Massage Therapy Modalities

Swedish massage consists of a combination of strokes:

    • Effleurage—these are long, sweeping strokes used primarily to warm up and lengthen the muscles, and then as a “cool down” at the end of a massage to help relax them after more intense work
    • Petrissage—this is the kneading and rolling strokes that use deep pressure to introduce heat and friction using knuckles, fingertips, and thumbs to work specific problem areas
    • Tapotement—this is the percussive, rhythmic tapping and sometimes fast pounding, like chopping, used to increase blood flow for a warming, relaxed feel in order to achieve deeper relaxation

As you can see—or perhaps you are familiar with it—Swedish massage provides excellent, general benefits to the body, designed mostly for relaxation and tension relief.


Swedish massage is more of a “general” or “multi-purpose” modality. It can benefit just about anyone and could be performed regularly to help encourage healthy muscles and circulation.  Deep tissue massage, on the other hand, is very different. While the desired result is to achieve relaxation, this type of massage aims to attack deeper layers of muscle where tension may be trapped.  This type of massage can be more painful—as it is definitely more intense—but is also more efficient and effective for quicker healing.


Similar to deep tissue, trigger point massage looks to release deep tension in specific areas of the body (over the whole-body strategy of Swedish massage).  This modality is definitely more focused on releasing specific tension spots and not necessarily the muscles as a whole.

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Susan Starr
Susan Starr

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