Massage has been and continues to be a popular way of improving health and promoting relaxation. And over the centuries, practitioners of this ancient art have developed dozens of variations on this discipline with between 80 and 150 massage types being practiced today (although specific numbers may vary). Therefore, if you are interested in pursuing a career as a professional massage therapist or simply want to know more about the benefits of massage, it is worth taking time to acquaint yourself with the different massage therapies in order to ascertain which techniques are best for you and your goals. Below, we take a look at 5 of the most popular and widely available massage therapies as follows:1. Reflexology
Originally practiced by the Chinese, reflexology is a type of massage that entails applying pressure to specific areas on a client’s feet that practitioners deem to be associated with specific body organs. The rationale is that stimulating these zones of the feet leads to promotion of overall body health. And although the benefits of reflexology remain clinically unproven, there is little doubt that reflexology massages are not only a very pleasurable and relaxing experience, but they often relieve pain in the feet.2. Thai Massage
Although it has its origins in India, Thai massage (as the name suggests) achieved its greatest fame in Thailand. Considered by many to be amongst the most energizing types of massage, a Thai massage involves the therapist stretching and moving a client into a sequence of yoga-like poses. The practitioner is likely to pull the client’s fingers, toes, ears etc. besides walking on their back and cracking their knuckles. Typically, a Thai massage therapy lasts anywhere from 1-2 hours.3. Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage therapy is aimed at muscles that are synonymous with posture problems, chronic pain, or those that are strained. Usually, a therapist will target deep layers of connective tissue and muscles by using intense pressure and short strokes. It is normal for clients to experience soreness after deep tissue massage sessions although the benefits are well worth it.4. Swedish Massage
Arguably the most popular type of massage, this therapy is extremely common such that it is often referred to as a relaxation massage or simply a massage. It can be traced back to the early 19th century and involves flowing, long strokes, usually in the heart’s direction, along with circular and kneading movements- all using massage oil or lotion in order to minimize friction. Popular for the relaxation benefits it provides clients, the Swedish massage is a common introductory technique for those who have never undergone a massage before.5. Hot Stone Massage
Often done in conjunction with other massage therapies, especially the Swedish massage, hot stone massage therapy involves the laying of smooth stones (basalt or other stone types) that are heated to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees on the back and shoulder muscles in an attempt to promote relaxation and increase circulation. Alternatively, a massage therapist may apply slight pressure on the stones whilst performing this technique so as to enhance its effect. The heat from these stones reduces tight muscles to jelly and melts way tension.