What is massage therapy?

Performed by a licensed massage therapist, massage therapy involves using different pressures, movements and techniques to manipulate muscles and other soft tissues in the body. With a goal of slowing down your nervous system, massage therapy can be used to release stress and tension, provide relief from symptoms, heal injuries and support wellness.

Types of massage therapy

Massages come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the offerings you might find on a massage therapy menu.

Swedish massage

Feeling stressed? A Swedish massage is the classic go-to for major relaxation. Swedish massage is typically a full-body massage that uses a gentle touch. It’s a good pick for people new to massages. “It can help calm your nervous system. Swedish massage is also a good avenue for encouraging a relaxed emotional state of mind which can directly impact your muscles,” says Bodner.

Deep tissue massage

Your muscles can get tight from repeated use — even from something less active like sitting, driving or hunching over your laptop. “Deep tissue massage gets into your muscles and tendons to release that tightness,” Bodner says. It’s good for people with injuries, general muscle tightness and chronic muscle pain.