Massage Styles Around the World

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Memorable Massages
Around the World

One great thing about travelling around the world is massage therapy. Massage therapy is a great way to relax and unwind physically and mentally. You can find a massage therapist almost anywhere in the world. Whether you’re interested in relieving aches and pains or relaxing after a busy week, massage therapy can provide the benefits you desire. Depending on where you have the massage, the massage therapist might use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, knees and feet. A range of facilities, equipment, and supplies may also be used, with everything from your standard massage tables and chairs to warm-water pools, lotions, and even stones or rocks.

With so many different massage styles to choose from, it can be confusing to know which option you should choose. Here’s some of m the massage styles available around the world. Every type of massage offers a different historical and cultural experience.

Acupressure Massage – China

Acupressure is a traditional Chinese healing method that is thousands of years old, derived from the practice of acupuncture, the concept of life energy which flows through "meridians" in the body. Acupressure is very effective at treating tension-related ailments such as headaches, backaches, muscle aches, eye strain, neck pain, sinus issues, arthritis, and tension due to stress. Gentle but firm pressure is applied on acupuncture points on the body using the hand, fingers, or elbow to stimulate the body's natural self-healing abilities. Pressing on these acupressure points releases muscle tension, helps with blood circulation and aids in the removal of toxic wastes and increases your energy levels and overall feeling of well-being.

Amma Massage– Japan

Amma massage is based on Chinese massage and includes a combination of pressing, stretching, stroking, and percussion manipulations, along with smooth, fluid-like movements to stimulate circulatory systems. The massage therapist uses hands, arms, elbows, knees and feet on acupressure points using the same meridians used in acupressure. It uses no oils and can be performed through clothing. Amma massage restores your body to its optimal function by loosening your muscles, joints, and connective tissues, while also strengthening your nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. Good for chronic pain, constipation, migraines, poor flexibility, relaxation, stress reduction, stimulation of blood and lymph flow, low back pain, and nervous disorders. Amma massage targets and relaxes both your body and mind to create balanced wellness.

Ayurvedic Massage – India

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old natural health system that originated in India and is both a form of bodywork and a philosophy of life that helps restore and maintain harmony and balance in one's life. Ayurvedic massage is a full body health system that examines a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A heated blend of herbal massage oils is used and uniquely mixed according to the client's physique, ailments, and diet. The treatment includes a combination of massage, meditation, yoga, nutrition, and herbal remedies and performed either lying down or sitting on a massage mat or chair. Great for arthritis, chronic pain, digestive disorders, high and low blood pressure, sciatica and immune dysfunction.

Balinese Massage – Bali

Balinese massage therapy is a form of traditional Indonesian massage combining influences from Chinese and Indian massage. Balinese massage is a full-body treatment with oils applied to the body and uses different gentle stretches, acupressure, reflexology and aromatherapy to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and energy around your body. The techniques used in Balinese Massage include deep tissue massage, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy. The massage therapist uses techniques such as fold, knead, stroke, stretch, and pressing the skin, while also placing Balinese hot stones on problem areas. Balinese massage is excellent for relaxation, but it can also loosen tight muscles, help relieve pain, soreness, and aches, ease migraines, breathing problems, and sleep disorders, reduce stress and anxiety.

Hakali Massage – Mexico

Cactus or 'Hakali' massage utilises a combination of cactus paddles dabbed in a mixture of cactus, sage oil and tequila lotion. The cactus paddles are used to knead your muscles and can also be cut in half, exposing a gooey substance that can also be used to massage your body. Cactus is the key ingredient used in the massage treatment and has many antioxidant healing properties and helps remove toxins and re-hydrates the skin, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.

Hammam Massage – Turkey

The Hammam, also known as the Turkish bath, is the Middle Eastern alternative of a steam bath or sauna. In traditional Turkish Hammam, you will relieve tiredness and spend amazing moments with your friends. Hammam is a combination between a massage and a body treatment; it’s good for energy levels, tired muscles, refreshing and re-hydrating your skin. Hammam rituals combine exfoliation and deep cleansing practices using black eucalyptus soap, together with warm and cool water techniques; this treatment will cleanse your body and gently soothe your spirit.

Lomi Lomi Massage – Hawaii

Lomi Lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage centred on achieving harmony in mind, body, and spirit. Lomi Lomi massage includes light lymphatic and deep tissue work with spiritual aspects. One of the aims of 'Lomi Lomi' massage is to clear blockages in the body's natural flow of energy through the body. Like traditional Chinese medicine, energy blockages are thought to contribute to problems in physical, emotional, and mental health. The techniques used in Lomi Lomi massage combine deep pressure and with long, continuous massage strokes that run the length of the body. Lomi promotes relaxation, improves circulation, helps muscle pain and other physical ailments while providing emotional and spiritual benefits, including the relief of fear and negative emotions.

Reflexology Massage – China

Reflexology is based on an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. Reflexology symbols are believed to be recorded on the feet of statues of Buddha in India and later China, and also at the same time in Egypt, as depicted in the tomb of Ankmahor. Although Reflexology is often combined with massage therapy, it's technically not a form of massage therapy. It's a separate therapy that applies pressure to reflex zones on your feet, hands or outer ears that connect to the organs, glands and systems in the body. Varying levels of pressure are applied to the acupressure points in the feet, hands, and ears to stimulate the organs of the body, open up energy channels, and relieve blocked areas. Reflexology works with the body's natural energy system, helping to strengthen the immune system and promote self-healing. It also helps to reduce pain and stress, increase relaxation, and improve blood and lymphatic fluid circulation.

Rungu Massage - East Africa

Rungu massage originated in East Africa and uses a wooden baton, the Rungu stick. Rungu massage uses medium to deep pressure of long soothing strokes. The Rungu stick is used to penetrate deep into the muscles for a more intense massage experience. The movements of the Rungu provides immediate relaxation that reduces muscle pain and tension. The Rungu massage is a firm stimulating massage which will leave you feeling completely relaxed. The Rungu is excellent for relieving tension and muscle pain, helps to improve blood flow and sensory nerve perception, increases lymphatic drainage, releases endorphins and creates a deep sense of well-being and relaxation.

Shiatsu Massage – Japan

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork and based on ideas of traditional Chinese medicine. Shiatsu originates from a Japanese massage called, Anma and means "finger pressure." For shiatsu massage, the therapist uses their fingers, thumbs, and palms. Pressure is applied to the body's meridians, as in acupressure and is thought to be essential for the balance and flow of the body's vital energy. Shiatsu can also include stretching and cupping to create balance in the body. The massage therapist can also roll, brush, vibrate, and grasp the skin. The feet are used to apply pressure on your back, legs, and feet. Shiatsu reduces tension and muscle pain, helps to aid migraines by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the body.

Swedish Massage – Sweden

Swedish massage is the best-known type of bodywork performed today. Swedish massage is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage. The primary goal of Swedish massage is to relax the entire body by massaging the muscles with long gliding strokes towards the direction of the heart. Swedish massage is beneficial for boosting the level of oxygen in the blood, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension and decreasing muscle toxins. Swedish massage techniques include effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (working across muscle fibres), and vibration/shaking. It's excellent for athletes and those who exercise regularly as they tend to have a buildup of lactic acid, and the massage can help to loosen that and allow fresh blood to flow through.

Thai Massage – Thailand

Thai massage is an ancient massage therapy stemming from India about 2,500 years ago and is based on yoga-like positions and Ayurvedic healing massage. Thai massage involves moving and manipulating the body to relieve physical and emotional tension. Thai massage uses techniques like passive stretching and gentle pressure along the body’s energy lines to improve flexibility, balance the body’s energy systems, and relieve muscle and joint tension. The massage therapist uses different sequences of techniques, and movement from both the massage therapist and the client is required. There is constant body contact between the therapist and the client, but rather than rubbing the muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched, and rocked. Thai massage can help reduce stress, boost energy, increase energy levels, relieves headaches, stimulates circulation and improves range of motion.

Massage Across Southeast Asia

"There is no denying that the spa and wellness industry is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. A skilled person can expect a lot of work opportunities in this sector."

Having followed my dreams and turned my passion into a profession, I get to explore some incredible places. I have to pinch myself sometimes and remember that my hard work is finally paying off. Currently, I'm the number one massage business in Melbourne according to TripAdvisor. It’s not always what it’s cracked up to be! Massaging requires continuous physical effort daily and hourly. You have to work hard and not get tired, be able to handle many customers at a stretch without compromising quality. I’m blessed to have a job I genuinely love and allows me to travel to so many of my dream spots around the world. I can’t always sleep in and read by the beach when it’s a work trip because I have too many obligations, including covering all my travel expenses from hotels, flights, food, and transfers. 

I decided to head towards Southeast Asia and visit both Thailand and Bali. I’ve heard they are fantastic holiday destinations to spoil yourself, and it’s still cheaper compared to the rest of the world. The first thing I think of when it comes to Southeast Asia is the picturesque beaches where you can relax and get massages all day long. The great news is that both Thailand and Bali have excellent massage treatments and beaches galore! I LOVE massages so much! Every time I receive a remarkable massage, it's like a mini vacation where I'm so calm and in a state of great comfort without a care in the world, even if it is just for an hour. The plan is simple. I only want six things; spend time planning the launch of my men's essential oils collection, spoil myself daily, sit on a beach, eat Balinese and Thai food, get to know the culture as much as I can, and immerse myself in photography. 

Famous Island Massage Styles

After a little homework, I found a few places that specialised in Thai and Balinese Massage. My main priority was to visit a few resorts and spas so I could try different massage treatments by different therapists. If you are new to massages or tend to be thrown off by confusing names on spa menus, here are three popular options to consider: Balinese Massage, Thai Massage and Deep Tissue Massage. If you’re getting a massage to overcome stress, choose a Balinese Massage, If you want to relax and loosen up muscles, Thai Massage is the one for you, and If you have a sports injury and don’t mind your massage a little rough, the Deep Tissue Massage is your best bet. 

Balinese Massage

Balinese Massage is a vigorous massage with firm pressure focused on relaxing the muscle tissue, making it useful on achy joints and strained muscles. It also combines acupressure and gentle stretching to help restore the flow of energy throughout the body. Unlike Swedish or Relaxation Massage, Balinese Massage strokes are performed very slow and very deep with essential oils. The benefits of a Balinese Massage are: Relieves stress, Alleviates sore or tight muscles, Increases blood and lymphatic circulation, and Helps with sports injuries. 

Thai Massage

Thai Massage is one of my favourite therapeutic massage styles. It's a stimulating massage that works your full body. It combines finger and palm pressure with plenty of stretches to release tension. You will experience awkward body positions, BUT once the massage is over, you will feel extremely comfortable. Unlike most massages, it does not require you to undress, as long as you are wearing loose-fitting clothing. If you prefer to stay grease-free, you are in luck because massage oil is not used. The benefits of Thai Massage are: Relieves stress, Soothes muscle aches, Eases tension, Enhances flexibility and Circulation.


Do you want to go beyond just relaxation, Then you need to try Oscar Calvo's Deep Tissue Massage at Elite Male Massage. This firm massage gets right into knots and problem areas of muscles using slow strokes and deep pressure. Deep Tissue Massage is an excellent massage for active individuals. It helps to release and remove built-up toxins from the body. It's also the perfect massage for recovery from injuries. The benefits of Deep Tissue Massage are: Reduces chronic pain, Increased flexibility and range of motion (ROM), Breaks down scar tissue and adhesions, Improved posture and physical performance, Rehabilitates injured muscles, Improves blood pressure, Boosts mood and relaxation, and Reduces stress levels.

'Everyone was incredibly friendly day after day in Bali and Thailand. What an unforgettable trip, both incredible and magical countries, and I can't wait to visit you again and again!"