What Are Some Massage Therapy Techniques?

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist and want to know more about massage techniques. Massage therapy is a diverse field, and there are many different massage techniques that a professional massage therapist can learn. While some massage therapists specialize in a particular technique, various techniques are taught during a Massage Therapy degree or diploma program. Different massage techniques are administered for different reasons; some are used to treat chronic pain, others alleviate stress, some may promote muscle recovery, and others are designed to induce relaxation.

You will learn the techniques to become a skilled massage therapist at Gwinnett Colleges & Institute. Below are some of the most common types of massage that massage therapists learn during or diploma and degree programs.

What Are Some Massage Therapy Techniques?

Every massage therapist must be able to choose the right type of massage for each client. Clients often seek of massage therapy as part of a medical treatment plan, and sometimes, they may get a massage at the request of a doctor or chiropractor. Some clients will have particular requests, while others may describe their symptoms and ask you to choose the best massage for them.

Throughout your training, you will learn to perfect a variety of massage techniques, including:

Swedish Massage

The classic Swedish massage is one of the most versatile types of massage therapy. As a massage therapist, you learn to glide your hands along the client’s body gently. This helps the client ease tension in the muscles and promote a sense of lightness and relaxation. The official strokes you will learn during a massage therapy program include effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration.

Swedish massages can be customized to suit a client’s needs and preferences. For example, one client may prefer a faster speed but lighter intensity, while another likes slower, deeper strokes. Although they may be administered differently, all Swedish massages employ the same basic techniques.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massages support the musculoskeletal system by applying firm pressure strokes to the muscles and connective tissues. A full-body deep-tissue massage can help relieve tense muscles, especially in the back and shoulder area. It can also work out knots in muscles and help reduce chronic pain. During this type of treatment, your goal is to reach deeper levels of muscle by applying slow, intense pressure with your fingers. This technique is extremely common but requires skill and patience to perform accurately. Being too forceful or moving too quickly can cause clients pain and discomfort.


Myofascial massages help treat chronic pain and ease muscle tension throughout the body. This massage technique also treats myofascial pain syndrome, a condition marked by pain triggered by sensitive muscles throughout the body. A myofascial massage is also called myofascial release; this refers to the technique’s focus on scanning the body and applying gentle strokes and pressure to tight areas.

Prenatal/Postnatal Massage

Prenatal massage therapy helps pregnant women feel more comfortable and even prepare for their upcoming labor and delivery. Prenatal massages are modified Swedish massages with changes made to accommodate the mother’s stomach and protect the baby. This massage technique releases tension and stimulates blood circulation, which can ease back pain and help reduce swelling. Lowering stress levels and relaxing muscles can also help women experience less pain during labor and delivery.

Postnatal massages are similar to prenatal massages, but they are designed to promote recovery and wellness after giving birth. A woman’s body undergoes tremendous changes during pregnancy and childbirth. A postnatal massage can help new mothers feel more relaxed, lower stress, and promote hormonal regulation. It can also lead to better sleep, which is already in short supply with a demanding newborn. Postnatal massages can help decrease postpartum swelling through lymphatic drainage.

Sports Massage

Massage therapy plays an integral role in sports medicine. A sports massage consists of deep tissue therapy through deep strokes and intermittent pressure that often targets a specific body area, namely the muscular area most affected by a client’s athletic activity. Athletes usually experience muscle strain and injuries requiring targeted messages to accelerate healing. Routine messages for athletes can also help their muscles relax and recover after extensive use or ensure they’re properly relaxed before an event.

Trigger Point Therapy

A trigger point is a sensitive part of a muscle that can form a knot when strained. Athletes often develop muscle knots, but they can happen to anyone. Through a trigger point massage, you can help release these knots by applying pressure to a targeted point. Trigger points that cause pain in the surrounding muscular area can lead to the development of myofascial pain disorder.

Through trigger point massage therapy, clients experience more relaxed muscles, less pain, and a greater range of motion. You must discuss each client’s symptoms in detail to identify which trigger points to address and what pressure to apply to them. The goal is to reduce pain, not increase it. Because clients receiving this type of massage therapy are sensitive, extra caution and a solid understanding of proper technique are essential.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu is the practice of Japanese bodywork, drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture. Instead of needles, you target specific points of the body to ease muscle tension, alleviate stress, and activate qi, the energy force that the Chinese believe flows through every living being. To perform Shiatsu properly, you must learn how to apply pressure at specific points using your thumbs, fingers, and palms. Many people believe that you can release trapped energy through Shiatsu, restore a natural balance, and feel more at ease.

Shiatsu practices have existed for centuries and are still popular today. Those passionate about energy healing and massage therapy may specialize in this form of treatment and earn a Shiatsu certificate.

Where Do You Learn Massage Therapy Techniques?

Gwinnett Colleges & Institute are a great place to start massage therapy training. Our program teaches you the techniques you need to perform massage therapy, including anatomy, physiology, client satisfaction, business practices, and universal safety precautions. You will also be exposed to many massage techniques to build a well-rounded skill set. This will also help you discover your style and determine what types of massages you’d like to specialize in.

Do I Need a Diploma to Be a Massage Therapist?

In most states, practicing massage therapists must have at least a diploma from an accredited massage therapy training program to earn their state license. A diploma and license regulate the industry and ensure that only qualified professionals can give massages. Earning your diploma or degree is the first step toward further specialization. If you dream of starting a massage therapy practice, you’ll find all the resources at Gwinnett Colleges & Institute immensely helpful.

What Are the Benefits of Attending a Massage Therapy Vocational School?

Our program offers a complete curriculum covering massage therapy, from human anatomy and physiology to business development. We help you build a solid foundational skill set that prepares you for work as a licensed massage therapist and potentially a business owner. You can also pursue additional certification in one or more types of massage therapy.

Hands-On Training

We are all about putting theory into practice, so you get the chance to practice under the strict supervision of experienced instructors. In addition to getting one-on-one feedback from giving and receiving messages, you can grow as a professional.

Learn Business Practices

After you have learned the different massage techniques, you take a program on running your own massage businesses or managing a massage spa. Most practicing massage therapists are entrepreneurs and may wish to open studios or offer massages in their clients’ homes.

Career Services

Through career services, you receive individual coaching to help you succeed. Resume help, job placement, and interview practice are available to make finding work that matches your knowledge and passion a reality.

Want to Learn More?

Are you interested in learning more about starting a career in massage therapy? Upon graduation, Massage Therapy Program students will receive diplomas and be qualified to seek entry-level positions as clinical, medical, or deep tissue massage therapists in wellness clinics and centers, spa environments including resorts and franchises, and self-employment.

The massage therapy training diploma program consists of a well-planned sequence of courses, each preparing the college student for the more intensive information to follow. The school curriculum includes training to provide college students with scientific knowledge, manual skills, and business mastery to become a professional massage therapist.

Contact us to learn more about how you can become a massage therapist today.