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  • Debbie Dugan

5 types of massage that you didn't know existed

Have you ever had a massage where a therapist uses their feet? Or one where your face and tummy look "sculpted" afterwards? Here are 5 massage styles that you've got to try the next time you get a massage!


Ashiatsu massage: Ashiatsu translates into "foot pressure" in Japanese. A massage therapist applies lotion or oil to a client and performs a deep, relaxing massage using only their feet. This style of massage is becoming extremely popular among massage therapists and their clients as it delivers deep sustained pressure without the therapist having to strain their hands and thumbs. Special bars are mounted into the ceiling, enabling the therapist to keep their balance and maintain client safety.


Sarga massage: Sarga is similar to Ashiatsu in the sense that the therapist uses their feet. However, a Sarga therapist achieves their balance by utilizing a yoga silk that is fastened to the massage table. Unlike Ashiatsu, the therapist uses no oil or lotion, thus creating a myofascial release with their feet. For both Ashiatsu and Sarga, the therapist must undergo special training and have a higher level of athletic ability and balance.


Manual Lymphatic Drainage: This technique utilizes the direction and flow of your lymphatic system to remove excess fluid and toxins from your body. This technique employs gentle, rhythmic pressure, which often puts the client to sleep. The result can include sinus decongestion, decreased bruising after surgery, and even a "sculpted" appearance in stomach, legs and face (due to fluid removal). Clients often report the need to urinate after this massage due to the body processing and eliminating excess fluid.


Shiatsu massage: Not to be confused with Ashiatsu, this massage is typically done on the floor with the client fully clothed. The therapist applies thumbs to pressure points typically associated with various acupuncture points. Pressure can be held on these points for several seconds or minutes depending on client response. Many therapists have adapted this modality to their table practice and may call it "trigger point therapy".


Tuina massage: Tuina has similarities to shiatsu massage, in that it uses principles of Chinese medicine and acupuncture points to guide the therapy session. Sustained thumb pressure may be employed, as well as grasping, plucking and rolling of the client’s muscles and tissue. Tuina techniques can oscillate between quick and slow, with the goal being the balance of Qi (the body's natural energy source).



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