There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:
"We had the couples massage special and it was lovely. Tatiana (facialist) and Carmina (masseuse) we’re very friendly and did a great job. We felt so much better afterward. We got the wine and chocolates and they let us hang and relax and drink as much wine as we wanted. Overall a great experience and would highly recommend it. No issues with Groupon and I was able to book over the phone."-Virginia I.
There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:

Swedish massage is defined by four or five somewhat familiar techniques, which have French names: effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic choppings), and friction (rubbing). Some therapists now incorporate advanced techniques that have rehabilitating effects and stretches for improving your range of motion. But the ultimate goal here is relaxation. As the default Western massage, Swedish massage is an extremely popular, simple, soothing touch therapy. At most spas, Swedish massage is the most popular treatment, and it’s for good reason. Perfect for first-time spa-goers, Swedish massage will help to release neck knots and sooth nerves. Traditional Swedish massage, or “classical massage,” consists mainly of long strokes over oiled skin and kneading of the outer layers of muscle tissue to reduce stress and sooth sore joints and muscles. Studies have shown Swedish massage relaxes the nervous system, aids circulation, and helps with detoxification. Find out more about Swedish Massage in Spafinder's What is Swedish Massage? To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.
During Thai massage the therapist puts you through a series of stretches that cover the entire body. You lie on a floor mat or on a table wide enough to accommodate you and the therapist, and you wear loose-fitting clothing, often supplied by the spa, because there’s no way a sheet can stay put during these moves! The therapist might kneel on the back of your legs and pull your arms to arch your back and open your chest, or place her shoulder under your heel to lift your leg and stretch your hamstring. Thai massage also includes deep pressure-point work to stimulate the sen, or the body’s energy pathways. Thai massage is a little intense at first especially if you’re used to Swedish massage and don’t normally do much stretching. It reminds you that massage isn’t just pressure applied to you by someone else, but a balancing of the body by limbering joints and loosening muscles through movement and strategic pressure. Unlike Swedish massage, there’s a lot of interaction here between you and your therapist. To move you around the mat efficiently, the Thai massage therapist uses his or her body to leverage you into the elongating stretches. He or she also will use your body as a tool for deepening these stretches by sitting on your feet and legs or pushing or pulling you into twists. Read more about Thai Massage with Spafinder's What is Thai Massage? post. To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.
Escape into the trees at this luxury cottage resort hidden among 60 acres of birch forest. A walkway woven between trees will lead you to treetop treatment rooms (suspended eight feet above ground) where products made from organically grown herbs, flowers, oils and grains are used for spa services. Try a "Maine Honey Body Buzz" or a bamboo therapy massage.
Whether you’re just getting started with a Swedish massage or reflexology, enjoying a romantic couple’s massage for two, or healing your body with a sports massage, Spafinder's listings include quality providers with endless modalities and customizations at a spa or wellness locations near you. If you’re going to unwind or you want to work out stubborn kinks, make sure you find the right massage for your needs. Often the massage therapist will customize treatments to address any concerns you may have and to make the massage perfect for you. Wear what feels comfortable to get the most out of your experience and be sure to speak up about what feels good and what doesn’t - this experience is all about you! To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?
"My spa day at Beach Beauty Health Spa was given to me as a gift, this quick getaway was great! Everyone at the spa greeted me with a warm smile. I definitely recommend the Luxe package to anyone who wants to relax and take time for themselves or as a couple. If you visit ask for Catherine for any service. When making your appointment pick early hours to enjoy and relax by the beach afterwards.."-Rafael P.

This elegant New England inn offers spa packages perfect for a weekend getaway. Get active during the day with hiking, biking or skiing, and the come back to your serene lodge for some serious spa pampering: The 10,000-square-foot, LEED-certified facility uses locally sourced products and treatments inspired by the native flora and changing seasons of Vermont.

During a hot stone massage, the therapist heats as many as 50 basalt stones of varying sizes to 120–140 degrees fahrenheit, rubs them over your oiled body, and rests them on top of and beneath you. The therapist places the stones on your stomach, in your palms, and on your back. The stones’ warmth enhances the relaxing effects of the pressure. Some people believe the stones have healing, grounding qualities, which makes hot stone massage a more profound experience than your basic massage. The therapist will leave some of the smooth, heated massage stones in contact with your body and use others to massage you. Cold stones are sometimes incorporated, especially on the face, where they have a firming effect. Hot stone is a feel-good treatment found on most spa menus. Hot and cold stone temperatures have said to be like the ‘vascular gymnastics’ of the circulatory systems, the system that controls self-healing in the body. The heat of the stones has an immediately relaxing effect, and the therapist will glide them along your back and limbs. They should never be uncomfortably hot or nudge a shoulder blade or the spine. If they do, speak up. You may be asked to lie down on the hot stones, which looks potentially uncomfortable but isn’t as long as they’ve been carefully arranged to make contact with soft tissue. Read more about Hot Stone Massage in Spafinder's post, What is a Hot Stone Massage? To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.


If you haven’t heard of The Ranch in Malibu, it is one of Hollywood’s most star-studded spas. Enjoy the unparalleled glamour without the big crowd at The Ranch 4.0 at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. This four-day cleansing program includes hiking, yoga, and a daily massage, as well as delicious vegetarian cuisine served in a private greenhouse.
This destination spa boasts a stunning red rock backdrop and offers rejuvenating Native American-inspired therapies such as "Spirit of the New Moon," which begins with you writing down an intention, followed by a foot bath and fully body massage and "Inner Quest." For the latter, reflective of Native American rituals, sweet grass is burned and a blanket is used to create the warmth of a sweat lodge. New offerings include an exfoliation inspired by the southwest region's pinon nut and directional meditation inspired by indigenous medicine wheel practices.
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