5 Massage Therapy Techniques

Written by Julieta Hernandez , Posted in Articles

Colorful sunset at Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park, WY

Ahhhhhh… blissful therapeutic massage!

Most people envision long, gliding strokes and the gentle kneading of tense muscles delivered by capable hands coated in aromatic oils and soothing lotions. While Swedish massage is the most common modality in the United States, there are literally hundreds more healing techniques from which to choose when partaking of the bodywork smorgasbord!

Reflexology – Massage Technique


Did you know that your foot contains approximately 7,000 nerve endings? A reflexology therapist applies pressure to specific areas on the feet that correspond to the body’s organs and systems. This pressure, applied from the front of the foot back to the heel, sends signals through energetic pathways that balance the nervous system, increase blood flow, and release endorphins that reduce pain and stress.

Points on the feet that correspond to:

  • the heart and chest are located near the ball of the foot
  • the liver, pancreas, and kidney are around the arch of the foot
  • low back and intestines are close to the heel

Reflexology is perfect for people who spend a lot of time on their feet and for those with painful foot conditions. A study in the American Cancer Society journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as a complementary therapy to reduce pain, depression, and anxiety while promoting relaxation and sleep. Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care in cancer patients.

Neuromuscular Massage

In a neuromuscular therapy session, the practitioner alternates levels of concentrated pressure on trigger point areas of muscle spasm using his fingers, knuckles, or elbow for ten to thirty seconds. This restores blood flow and oxygen to the muscle, releasing the lactic acid buildup that caused the spasm.

NMT is highly effective for relieving both chronic pain and acute pain caused by injuries and surgery. Many people find NMT to be the most effective massage therapy for low back pain caused by soft tissue injuries and muscle strains.

Craniosacral Therapy

craniosacral-therapyUsing a very gentle touch, a craniosacral therapist softly palpates the client’s skull, face, spine, and pelvis to assess ease of motion and the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid. She then gently releases restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. Daily stresses cause tightening and distortions to form around the brain and spinal cord that can create inhibitions in the healthy functioning of the central nervous system.

CST is ideal for relieving pain from migraine headaches, temporomandibular joint disorder, and neck and back pain. A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine reported that participants who received massage treatments such as craniosacral therapy enjoyed better sleep and fewer migraines, even weeks after therapy ended.


Rolfing works on the body’s connective tissues that support all of the muscles, bones, nerves, and organs. The therapist applies slow, specific pressure to different parts of your body using her hands, fingers, and arms to realign and balance the entire body structure. You might be asked to breathe into an area or make small movements to help release restrictions in the tissue.

Rolfing alleviates pain, restores flexibility, revitalizes energy, and improves posture. Athletes and dancers use it to increase flexibility, coordination, balance, and speed. Rolfing is especially helpful for healing scar tissue and repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.


In many ashiatsu sessions, the therapist uses his feet to massage your back, shoulders, hips, and legs with long, deep strokes while using bars suspended above the table for support. The knees, elbows, palms, and fingers may also be incorporated to stretch and stimulate acupressure points and meridians by employing deep tissue techniques.

The spine-elongating ashiatsu is perfect for relieving chronic back pain, encouraging deep muscle relaxation, and improving posture.

The diverse modalities and healing techniques offered by our highly skilled and compassionate practitioners at Matrix Spa & Massage are designed to help you find your perfect therapeutic touch! Reach us at 801-505-9340 or through our Contact Us Form. We look forward to serving you!


Julieta Hernandez

Julieta is the owner of Matrix Spa & Massage in Salt Lake City, UT. She and her staff pride themselves on providing the best massages in a truly comfortable and relaxed environment.

Massage Therapy FAQ’s

Call Now to schedule your massage! (801) 799-4999