Types of Massage Therapists

While most massage therapists are cross-trained in multiple areas of massage, some choose to specialize in a single type of therapy. These massage therapists spend the majority of their time training and practicing the art of a specific technique (or ‘modality’) on their clients. Some types of massage therapists have found that by focusing on a specific modality, they are better able to secure loyal customers.

This may be especially true for massage techniques that are in higher demand because fewer therapists are specializing in the field at the current time, such as acupuncture, reiki, infant massage, cancer massage, or pet massage.

General Massage Therapists

A general massage therapist is a professional masseuse with many hours of training at an accredited massage therapy school. This type of massage therapist is well trained in all types of pain relief and special massage, but primarily practices traditional massage therapy modalities that will be chosen by the therapist and the needs of the client. These modalities include hot stones, trigger point, and other common massage therapy techniques.

Chair Massage Therapists

This is a type of massage therapist that offers in-home, in-office, or in-clinic massages. The massage techniques employed are very similar to those of a general massage therapist, but instead of lying on a massage table, the client sits upright in a specialty chair designed specifically for this purpose.

Infant and Prenatal Massage Therapists

Infant and prenatal massage therapists are professional experts in the areas of pregnancy and child massage. Infant massages and prenatal massages are very beneficial, but dangerous. Therefore, a highly specialized therapist can take care to perform the massage without harming the mother or child during a delicate time. Modalities used in prenatal and infant massage are designed to relax the child or relieve pain associated with pregnancy, but are not intense like other types of massage.

Medical Massage Therapists (Including Cancer and Debilitating Diesease)

Medical massage therapists take care of ill patients who are experiencing the pain or side effects of a specified medical condition. For example, cancer patients often feel much pain because of tumors and as caused by treatments for cancer. This type of massage therapist can eliminate much of the pain without the need for dangerous medications.

Sports Massage Therapists

Sports massage therapists are trained in sports injuries and healing arts that help calm strained or sprained muscles. They are also trained in techniques or modalities that will insure an athlete’s ability to quickly recover from injury, as well as prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.

Reflexology and Acupuncture Massage Therapists

Reflexology and acupuncture massage therapists use knowledge about the connection of specific points on the human body to other points on the body to induce pain relief and muscle relaxation. Reflexology is a common training point in massage therapy schools, but acupuncture is considered a specialized type of massage therapy and may require additional training.

Reiki and Shiatsu Massage Therapists

Reiki massage therapists use eastern massage philosophies that date back thousands of years to promote feelings of well-being, relaxation, and pain relief. While not completely embraced by western medicine (it deals primarily in the channeling of one’s ‘life force), reiki is becoming more popular worldwide.

Shiatsu is a special type of massage therapy in which the therapist uses their thumbs to move across muscle tissue in a circular motion. It is a modality, and not necessarily a type of massage therapist. However, many therapists choose to specialize in shiatsu massage.