Home / Massage Types

Massage Types


Aromatherapy uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to help enhance both physical and emotional health. Specific essential oils may be blended by your massage therapist to be used during the session. Each oil has its own unique characteristics and benefits.

CBD Infused Massage

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not make you high. CBD oil has natural anti-inflammatory effects that can effectively soothe sore muscles and joints, which makes it great for massages. Anyone can benefit from adding CBD oil to their massage, although it can be particularly helpful for those that suffer from daily pain and inflammation. Conditions such as stress, fibromyalgia, arthritis, muscle pain, tension and spasms, anxiety, and insomnia are just a few that may be helped. Incorporating CBD oil into your massage may also help deepen your relaxation. This add on is available as a spot treatment for a particular area of pain or inflammation, or as a full-body treatment.

Chair Massage

This technique uses a specially designed massage chair in which the fully clothed client sits comfortably. Seated massage includes bodywork and somatic techniques, such as shiatsu, trigger point therapy, and Swedish massage. A session typically lasts between 15 – 30 minutes. Usually, the massage focuses on the back, neck, shoulders, and arms. It is a good way to receive some of the benefits of massage when you are short on time.

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Any imbalance or dysfunction in the craniosacral system could cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities (including chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning disabilities, and other dysfunctions of the central nervous system). Craniosacral therapy encourages the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease. It can help reduce pain, decrease anxiety, improve sleep, and aid recovery from injury and surgery. The healing and gentle balancing properties can offer relaxation, increased energy and a heightened sense of physical and emotional well-being.


Cupping is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which the therapist uses special cups on the clients skin to create suction. This suction creates space in the muscle tissue, separating the layers of fascia, drawing blood to the area to promote healing. Cupping is very helpful in releasing muscle tension, decreasing inflammation, pain reduction, relieving headaches, and increasing blood flow.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. It is a more focused type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots (also known as “adhesions.”). It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders. Although this type of massage can be more intense, it should not hurt. It is important to communicate with your therapist regarding pressure and intensity so that they can adapt their techniques as needed. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques.

Foot Reflexology

Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as zone therapy, this bodywork involves the application of pressure to these reflex points to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. This technique is used to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and stimulate the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-related illness and emotional disorders.

Gua Sha

Used in China for more than two thousand years, gua sha means to scrape toxins. A method of promoting blood circulation and removing toxic heat, blood, and lymph from the body, gua sha involves scraping the skin with a flat tool to facilitate pain relief. Olive oil and herbs are usually applied to the skin to open pores, increase deep cleansing, and improve circulation.

Hot Rock Massage

Hot Rock Massage is a Swedish style massage with the incorporation of heated basalt stones. The stones’ heat penetrates into deep layers of muscle and connective tissue and helps to relax tight areas of the body. The massage therapist uses the heated stones as a natural extension of their hand when applying gliding techniques over the body. The hot rocks encourage muscles to quickly relax, enabling the therapist to work deeply and also facilitate the exchange of blood and lymph bringing relief to areas of pain. Muscles aches and worries melt under the heated stones leaving you completely relaxed.

Jin Shin Do

Jin Shin Do combines gentle, yet deep, finger pressure on acu-points with simple body focusing techniques to release physical and emotional tension. The client determines the depth of the pressure. Jin Shin Do promotes a pleasurable, trancelike state during which the recipient can get in touch with the body and access feelings or emotions related to the physical condition. The client lies on her back on a massage table while the practitioner holds “local points” in tension areas together with related “distal points,” which help the armored places to release more easily and deeply. Jin Shin Do acupressure is effective in helping relieve tension and fatigue, stress-related headaches and gastro-intestinal problems, back and shoulder pain, eye strain, menstrual and menopausal imbalances, sinus pain, and allergies.

LaStone Therapy

LaStone® Therapy utilizes the principles of thermotherapy with the application of hot basalt stones and cold marble stones. The use of both hot and cold stones produces alternately sedative and re-energizing responses in the body. These ‘vascular gymnastics’ of the circulatory system assist the body in self-healing. The alternating heat and cold stones bring the entire body into the healing process, with a rapid exchange of blood and oxygen and alternating rise and fall of respiration rate as the body seeks homeostasis. Cold stones aid with inflammation and moving blood out of an area. The deep penetrating heat of the basalt stones allows the muscles to quickly relax, enabling the therapist to work deeply, bringing relief to areas of pain and a deep sense of relaxation.


This system of massage utilizes very large, broad movements. Two-handed, forearm, and elbow application of strokes, which cover a broad area, is characteristic of lomi-lomi. Similar to Swedish massage in many aspects, this system uses prayer and the acknowledgment of the existence of a higher power as an integral part of the technique. Lomi-lomi, Hawaiian for rub, is described by teacher Aunty Margaret Machado as “the loving touch; a connection between heart, hand, and soul with the source of all life.”

Lymphatic Massage

This type of massage uses a light touch and is done in a specific sequence to flush the entire lymph system. Keeping the lymph glands and vessels healthy and free of congestion is the best prevention of disease. Massage increases the lymph movement by 200-300%. It aids in the removal of toxins, reduces fluid retention, and supports the immune system. It is ideal at the change of seasons, anytime you feel a need to strengthen your immunity or to quicken recovery from illness.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial massage utilizes techniques to work with fascia to produce an effect upon the soft tissues, minimizing pain and restoring movement. Performed dry or with very little oil, the therapist engages soft tissue layer by layer by rolling, pinching, stretching, and kneading. The pressure used can be light to heavy depending on the needs of the client. Fascia is the connective tissue for all muscles, bones, nerves, and organs. Malfunctions within the fascia can create a binding of the fascia which can initiate pain or malfunctions at other sites throughout the body. Through releasing the fascia, the underlying muscles can more easily be massaged to reduce pain and increase range of motion. Myofascial massage is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches.

Neuromuscular Therapy

This comprehensive program of soft-tissue manipulation balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) can help individuals who experience distortion and biomechanical dysfunction, which is often a symptom of a deeper problem. It is also used to locate and release spasms, eliminate trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuild the strength of injured tissues, assist venous and lymphatic flow, and restore postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues. NMT often dramatically increases flexibility, balance, strength, and vital life energy by interrupting the pain pathways, improving circulation of the system of muscles that are in a deeper level, and upgrading the health of the body on all levels.

Paraffin Dip

Warm paraffin infuses the skin with heat and moisturizing emollients that increase circulation, opening pores and softening the skin. The deeply penetrating heat relieves the pain of arthritis, tendonitis, muscle spasms, and joint stiffness. We offer hand and/or feet dips. It is a nice addition to a massage or can be done on its own.

Prenatal/Pregnancy Massage

Prenatal Massage offers a safe, all-natural method of relief for common complaints during pregnancy including: fatigue, headaches, lower back pain, neck/shoulder tension, swelling of the extremities, and mood swings. It can also increase circulation, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress on weight-bearing joints. Depending on how far along the client is, this type of massage can be done using a “prego” pillow (for comfort when lying on her stomach) or in a side-lying position. Massage is helpful both during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. It is always best to consult with your Doctor prior to receiving a prenatal massage.

Quantum Touch

This hands-on healing method offers a subtle approach for achieving proper alignment of the body. Principles behind Quantum-Touch involve intention, attention, breath, and innate body intelligence. Using various breathing techniques and meditations, a light touch is applied to activate the body’s own healing process.

Raindrop Therapy

Raindrop Therapy combines detoxifying essential oils, hot packs and massage. Antimicrobial essential oils are used to reduce inflammation by killing viral agents, thus bringing the body into structural and electrical alignment. The oils (primarily thyme, oregano, wintergreen, cypress, peppermint, and basil) are dispensed like little drops of rain onto the back and massaged along the vertebrae. Raindrop Therapy brings balance to the body while also boosting the immune system and aiding in detoxification.


Reiki is an energetic healing practice that draws upon universal life force and utilizes gentle hands-on touch. In a reiki healing session, the practitioner, trained to access and serve as a channel for the life force (ki or chi), places her hands on or just above the client's body in order to activate healing energy within receptive points on the body. Viewed as a powerful tool in stress management and relaxation, Reiki advocates report success in treating a variety of acute and chronic complaints. It is considered beneficial for debilitating chronic conditions because of the enhanced energy it gives people.

Soft Tissue Release

Soft-tissue release (STR) is a powerful injury treatment technique. STR has been given clinical application for chronic low back pain and whiplash injuries. STR deals directly with the reasons for soft tissue dysfunctions and subsequent referred pain and nerve entrapment. In acute conditions, STR affects the insidious way scar tissue is formed, and in chronic conditions, STR breaks up the fibrotic and adhered mass of scar tissue to quickly allow the muscle to return to its natural resting length. Once the muscle or muscle group has returned to the original resting length, there is an immediate release from the pain induced by the inflammation response. The client is placed in a particular position so that the muscle begins to stretch in a very specific direction or plane. When the exact location of the injury has been defined, a determined pressure is applied directly into the affected tissue or along a specific line of injury. At the same time, the client is given a set of instructions to engage the antagonist of the muscles involved. The muscle is extended from a fixed position in a determined direction under a pinpoint of pressure. The decrease in pain and an increase in range of motion are often immediate, offsetting any minor discomfort experienced.

Sports Massage

A form of massage which utilizes specific strokes to help athletes obtain maximum performance and physical conditioning by increasing power, endurance, and mobility both before and after an event or exercise. It is also especially helpful for people who are very active for work. Sports massage can accelerate the healing process, increase range of motion, reduce adhesion and reduce swelling, bruising and pain. Sports massage may incorporate similar techniques to Swedish massage but will include more soft tissue techniques, stretching, and deep tissue. Sports massage is helpful for anyone who routinely stretches their physical limits through movement.

Swedish Massage

One of the most well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage incorporates a variety of techniques including broad strokes, kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. Swedish massage relaxes muscles; increases circulation; removes metabolic waste products (which shortens recovery time from muscular strain); stretches the ligaments and tendons, keeping them supple; stimulates the skin and nervous system while at the same time relaxing the nerves themselves; helps the recipient obtain a feeling of well being. Helping reduce emotional and physical stress, it is often recommended as part of a regular program for stress management and overall wellness.

Thai Massage

The client’s body is taken through passive yoga stretches as part of the massage. The client is fully clothed in loose comfortable clothing. Thai massage is practiced on a firm mat on the floor instead of on a table, facilitating the effective use of the practitioner’s body weight. The sen (energy) lines are worked, with gentle rocking, rhythmic compressions, and deep stretches by the therapist’s palms, thumbs, elbows, forearms, and/or feet. Because it can release muscles deep in the body, it is very effective for reducing pain and tension. This technique is both relaxing and energizing.

Trigger Point Therapy

A trigger point is an area of a muscle that when compressed produces pain or other neurological sensations either within the area touched or in another area of the body. A trigger point can be caused from injury, poor posture, repetitive motion, or emotional stress. Trigger point therapy is used to relieve muscular pain and dysfunction through applied pressure to trigger points of referred pain and through stretching exercises. When releasing the muscle of its tension, the client’s comfort level is always addressed; feedback between the therapist and client is essential. The intention is to interrupt the pain cycle in a particular area of the body.

Sign Up for Monthly Specials

Massage East
2114 North Sherman Avenue
Madison, WI 53704
© 2023 Massage East - All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy | Site Map