Beliefnet lists 9 forms of massage. How many can you name?

1. Reiki

  • A Japanese form of gentle massage
  • Used for everyday stress management
  • Proponents say it promotes healing of diseases.

2. Shiatsu

  • A Japanese massage technique
  • Acupuncture using thumbs and palms rather than needles

3. Swedish

  • Oil is rubbed onto the body with long, gliding strokes, a kneading motion, vibration, or tapping.
  • Rationale: To purge lactic acid from muscles, improve circulation, and foster a general sense of relaxation

4. Deep tissue

  • Intense, sometimes even painful massage
  • Used to treat chronic pain and tension.

5. Hot stone

  • Basalt stones are heated to 120-150 degrees in hot water, then rubbed over the body using Swedish massage techniques.

6. Aromatherapy massage

  • Scented oils are combined with other forms of massage (eg, Shiatsu, Swedish, and Deep tissue).

7. Thai

  • Hands and feet apply gentle pressure to points similar to Shiatsu.

8. Reflexology

  • The rationale is that massaging certain areas on the hands and feet connect with every muscle group and organ in the body.
  • The theory is that it helps align energy flow and healing.

9. Watsu

  • Shiatsu in a pool of water

The bottom line?
Nine forms of massage are listed. All are short on scientific data, long on technique and theory.

But you have to be comfortable in your own skin (pardon the pun), and massage is not obsessed with proving its worth, just making its clients feel better.

8/7/07 10:32 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.