Massage around the World

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Massage is perhaps one of the oldest healing traditions. Many ancient peoples – including the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians – were convinced of the therapeutic properties of massage and used it to treat a variety of ailments.

Massage therapy (including myotherapy) is the practice of kneading or manipulating a person’s muscles and other soft-tissue in order to improve their wellbeing or health. It is a form of manual therapy that includes holding, moving, and applying pressure to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.

The term ‘massage therapy’ is used to describe a wide variety of techniques that vary in the manner in which touch, pressure and the intensity of the treatment is applied.

Therapy definition and variants

Shiatsu is an oriental massage technique that aims to improve energy flow by working certain points on the body. The underlying principles of shiatsu massage are similar to those of acupuncture. [Read more...]


Tibetan medicine begins with the premise that we are made up of five basic elements: earth, water, fire, wind and space. Tibetan massage, otherwise known as Kunye massage, is an ancient form of massage technique taught in traditional Tibetan medicine. It is primarily concerned with bringing the wind element into balance. A Tibetan massage practitioner achieves this using techniques that are remarkably similar to many other Eastern and Western modalities. [Read more...]


Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the whole body. This is an ancient healing practice that originated in India. It dates back to around 2,500–7,000 years ago.

The technique that Thai massage practitioners use is very different from what people in the West may be accustomed to. Unlike Swedish or shiatsu massage techniques, in which a person passively lies on a bed, the client lies on the floor and participates more actively in the massage. [Read more...]


The term Tui Na (pronounced "twee naw"), which literally means "pinch and pull," refers to a wide range of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapeutic massage and body work.

Tui na is not generally used for pleasure and relaxation, but rather as a treatment to address specific patterns of disharmony. As such, practitioners use it for many of the same reasons and according to the same principles as acupuncture. Like acupuncture, TCM uses tui na to harmonize yin and yang in the body by manipulating the Qi in the acupuncture channels. [Read more...]


Balinese massage is one form of traditional Indonesian massage. Originating on the island of Bali, this massage involves a combination of techniques, including massage, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy into one session. Often used for relaxation, this type of massage can also help loosen muscles and ease pain. [Read more...]


Lomi lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage that uses a combination of massage techniques, nut oils, and sometimes elements of prayer, breathing and dance to restore energy and soothe the body. It is also known as the 'loving hands' massage. This name helps to explain its principles - the massage works gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous, flowing strokes, allowing the recipient to relax and give in to the nurturing touch. [Read more...]


The purpose of Chua K'a Bodywork - Mongolian massage - is to remove physical and psychic tension held in the body, through the focused application of physical pressure and 'conscious awareness.' Chua K'a is primarily practiced as a form of self-massage.

The technique was developed by Oscar Ichazo and is taught in the Chua K'a Bodywork training by certified instructors through the Arica Institute. [Read more...]