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

The law always requires that you be appropriately covered with sheets or towels to keep you comfortable and warm. If you start feeling uncomfortable or exposed, speak up. Your therapist will respect your wishes and work with you to make the massage session a comfortable one.
No, only undress as much as you are comfortable with. Some people prefer undressing completely, while others prefer to keep undergarments on. You'll have privacy in your massage room to undress before the session and redress afterwards.
It depends on your massage therapy goals. Some people get a monthly massage to manage stress or to prevent health problems. Others opt for weekly sessions if they need relief from injuries and chronic tension.
Licensing and certification mean that the massage therapist can legally practice massage in your city or state. To get this license, they must have performed several hours of training at an accredited school, past the extensive licensure exam, and have paid any relevant licensing fees.
Every insurance plan works a little differently, so your best bet is to contact your insurer directly. Some plans do cover alternative therapies including chiropractic and massage. You will likely need a doctor's prescription first. If you don't have health insurance, or if it doesn't cover massage therapy, you can find massage therapy coupons and discounts on our site.
How much depends on how pleased you are with the service and how much the massage costs (the full price, not any discounted fees). One easy trick is to think about how you would tip a waiter after a similarly priced restaurant meal. This is often 15-20% or more if you received exceptional service.
Let your massage therapist know before the session if there are areas on your body that you don't want to be touched. They will have the training and experience to give you a therapeutic massage while working around ticklish or sensitive places like your feet or abdomen.
Yes, absolutely. You should always speak up if something is uncomfortable. Secondly, keep the lines of communication open during deep tissue massage or sports injury massages. Your therapist needs the feedback to work on you properly and without aggravating an injury. On the other hand, if you are looking for relaxation, it's often best not to talk unless necessary. This lets your mind as well as your body release tension. With the right mindful breathing technique, you may even achieve a stress relieving meditative state during the massage.
Most likely, unless your doctor says otherwise. Prenatal massage can reduce and relieve common pregnancy issues like lower and upper back pain, sciatic nerve irritation, swelling, tension headaches, heartburn and constipation, and more. Let your massage therapist know that you're pregnant so they can use the right techniques during the session.

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