Massage Therapists'
Association of Nova Scotia

Types of Massage Therapy

All our member massage therapists are trained in Swedish Massage techniques. Also referred to as classic massage, Swedish massage uses five basic techniques – effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber or with the fibers) and vibration/shaking. These techniques are applied using hands, forearms, or elbows, in varying pressure depending on the client’s needs and preferences.

A variety of techniques and modalities may be used to achieve optimal effects, according to your specific treatment goals. Many of our members have taken further training in other modalities such as:

Aromatherapy Massage

Essential oils are blended in lotions or oils that are applied for massage therapy. The oils or other aromatic compounds are used to alter mood, or physiological effects for the client.

CranioSacral Therapy

Light touch techniques with a focus on skull, face, spine, and pelvis.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deeper pressure is used during massage with some of the techniques from Swedish massage. The focus of deep tissue work is to enduce therapeutic benefits such as the release of retrictions in fascia and deeper muscle layers.

Geriatric Massage

This is another phase of life massage. Due to the changing nature of aging bodies and aging skin, as well as geriatric clients having increased medical diagnosis and medications, techniques need to be adjusted accordingly.

Infant Massage

Massage treatment on infants. In some cases, the massage therapist does the treatment on the infant but in many cases the therapist teaches the caregivers how to perform the treatment. It can be done as early as the first few hours after birth.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

This is a gentle and highly repetitive style of massage that is meant to enhance the flow of lymph. The lymph system carries waste product from the tissue out of the body. This massage style is often used in cases where the lymph system is diminished from illness or injury.

Myofascial Release

Unlike Swedish Massage, this uses techniques like sheer compression in various directions, and skin rolling. The focus is stretching the fascia and releasing the bonds between fascia and muscles, or other tissue.

Pregnancy Massage

This refers to massage given during or shortly after pregnancy. The massage therapist works with the client often in collaboration with their doctor, midwife, or doula.


A trademark name for a style of structural integration. In addition to slow, deep techniques the client also has to commit to postural and movement re-education.

Stone Massage

Smooth polished stones in various sizes are heated or chilled. These can be rested on the body or used to apply pressure to the tissue.

Sports Massage

According to the Canadian Sport Massage Therapist Association, sport massage is “the application of specific and treatment oriented massage techniques to an athlete with the purpose of enhancing the athlete’s preparation for, or recovery from the physical demands of training or competition.” Sport massage can be done

  1. pre-event: within the hour before an event
  2. inter-event: done between multiple events held on the same day
  3. post-event: done immediately after an event
  4. training/restorative: done as part of the training program

Thai Massage

Drawing on the traditions of Indian and Chinese medicine, Thai Massage is a full body session using aspects of yoga, reflexology and accupressure. The work starts at the feet and moves up the body.