From Swedish to Shiatsu: Different Massage Types and How They Affect Our Bodies

Massage types and their effect on our body

It’s no secret that today’s world is full of stress factors. From more global issues like economics and climate changes to the difficulties of daily life, everything can cause pressure, both physical and mental. No wonder people are looking for relaxation. Of all practices promoting it, massage therapy is proven to be rejuvenating for the mind, body, and soul. Rooted in ancient traditions, massage has evolved into hundreds if not thousands of techniques, each offering its own benefits. We are about to discuss the unique characteristics of each approach and the specific effects they induce.

Swedish massage

Created in the 1830s, Swedish massage is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) techniques used in many places around the world like It consists mostly of long, gliding movements to warm up the muscles and kneading and squeezing that work deeper.

It helps you relax and reduce stress levels. Also, such a combination of motions can help you get rid of any muscle tension and soreness. Finally, Swedish massage can improve the quality of sleep for those suffering from any types of sleep disturbances like insomnia or circadian rhythm disorders.

Massage types and their effect on our body

Myofascial release therapy

Unlike traditional massage techniques that primarily address muscles, myofascial release focuses on the entire fascial network. Fascia is a thin web-like connective tissue covering organs, vessels, and nerves and forming sheaths for muscles in vertebrates, including, well, humans. The therapist here applies gentle pressure to the affected areas to release accumulated tension.

One of the main goals of such therapy is to decrease the pain level. Myofascial release can be highly effective in reducing pain associated with various conditions, including chronic pain, muscle strains, and injuries. Releasing fascial restrictions reduces pressure on nerves and sensitive structures which, in its turn, leads to pain relief.

Thai massage

Thai massage is not just massage, it’s a form of ancient art that stems from 2,500-year-ago traditions. This unique technique combines yoga, Ayurvedic principles, and acupressure to give you a truly therapeutic experience. The practitioner uses almost all parts of their bodies like hands, thumbs, elbows, knees, and feet to apply pressure to specific points on the body.

Thai massage involves passive stretching, which can help better joint mobility and increase flexibility. Some people can also get emotional release, as the therapy can help release emotional and psychological tensions held in the body.

Lymphatic drainage massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is a specialized massage type that focuses on stimulating lymph fluid flow. During the session, gentle, rhythmic, and repetitive strokes encourage the movement of lymph fluid towards the lymph nodes, where it can be filtered and purified.

Lymphatic drainage massage is particularly effective in reducing swelling caused by an accumulation of lymph fluid. It’s commonly used to address post-surgical swelling, lymphedema (a condition resulting from lymph node removal or damage), and swelling related to injuries. Also, by promoting the movement of lymph fluid, lymphatic massage helps the body eliminate waste products more efficiently. This can aid in detoxification and support the body's natural cleansing processes.


Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork that also gains popularity among people. The word "shiatsu" means "finger pressure" in Japanese, so the main techniques practitioners use involve their fingers and thumbs. With their help, therapists apply pressure to the body's meridian lines (energy channels). The final goal is to stabilize the flow of energy (Qi), promoting overall well-being.

Massage types and their effect on our body

It gets you into the state of deep relaxation, helping you cool down the mind and body. And since it aims to balance the body's energy, massage sessions can lead to increased vitality and a sense of revitalization. This can also be a salvation for those who suffer from headaches and migraines. Releasing neck and shoulder tension is a proven way to a pain-free head.

To sum up

Beyond the physical benefits, these massage techniques hold the power to touch the soul, granting moments of rest in our fast-paced lives. The release of tension and the relaxing effect massage therapy gives you can open plenty of opportunities for emotional balance and better health.

Please note that massage should be received from a trained professional with proper equipment. If you have any health concerns or medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before receiving any bodywork.

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About the Author

Stella Cooter

Journalist, traveller and mother, Stella writes about fashion and style, luxury and adventure.

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