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There are a lot of different massage options out there – so how do you pick the one that’s right for you?

If you’ve considered booking a massage recently, you might have been confronted with a web page listing a wide range of options from sports massage to deep tissue to Thai yoga to aromatherapy. At Anahata we have an eclectic range of options; in fact, if you go to book a massage at Anahata, you’ll find 12 different options. In case that has left you a little confused and unsure which one you need, we’ve put together a simple guide.

Aromatherapy massage

Different essential oils have different properties that can promote healing, wellbeing and/or relaxation. Depending on your needs, your aromatherapist will choose a special blend to be massaged into the skin. They may also recommend certain oils for you to use at home as inhalations or to add to your bath.

Best for: Pampering, relaxation, improving circulation, relieving stress or anxiety.

Ayurvedic massage

Ayurvedic theory is based on the energies of the five elements (ether, air, water, fire and earth). These elements combine to make three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) which are responsible for physical, mental and emotional health. Each individual has a unique ratio of doshas. Ayurvedic massage uses an approach to support your particular dosha through a combination of physical pressure, oils and herbs. Your therapist may also advise on lifestyle changes, gentle exercises and other complementary therapies or practices.

Best for: Balancing and relaxation.

Ayurvedic foot massage helps with: insomnia, nervousness, female reproductive issues, fertility, digestive issues, circulation, foot problems.

Ayurvedic head massage helps with: stress, tension in the head/neck/upper back, headaches, nourishing the hair.

Chair massage

Based on a 1,300 year-old traditional Japanese table massage called Amma, chair massage is done over the clothes with no oils, so it’s perfect for people who don’t like to take their clothes off. As there’s no oil and sessions are shorter than other massages (usually 30 minutes), it fits perfectly into your lunch break or at the beginning or end of your day.

Best for: headaches, repetitive strain issues, releasing tension from the head, neck, shoulders, back, hip and arms.

Deep tissue massage

As the name might suggest, deep tissue massage is about relieving tension deep in the muscles and tissues of your body. This isn’t only physical tension, it’s emotional too. Physical and emotional traumas cause your muscles and tissues to become tight and rigid, which takes your body out of its natural alignment. This leads to both physical and emotional inflexibility and imbalance. Deep tissue massage restores your natural flow to increase your vitality. This can sometimes cause discomfort during the massage, but the feeling of freedom afterward is well worth it.

Best for: muscle tension, physical injury, emotional trauma, letting go. 

Hot stone massage

Basalt stones are dense, volcanic stones which have been smoothed naturally by rivers and are able to hold heat for a long time, releasing it slowly. They have great energy and healing properties, and their heat releases deeply held muscular tension. As the heat completely relaxes the muscles, the therapist is able to perform a deep massage without the discomfort of a deep tissue massage.

The stones we use have been ethically sourced from places like Japan, Mexico and Bali.

Best for: muscle tension, relaxation, detox, improving circulation, aches and pains, stress. 

Indian head massage 

Indian Head Massage was originally developed to strengthen hair and invigorate the scalp and head. It stimulates the circulation to the scalp and nourishes the hair roots. Indian Head Massage has been practiced in India for over 1000 years and is part of the Ayurvedic tradition. As well as the head, treatment includes massage of the neck, face and upper arms. Different massage techniques are used throughout the treatment: some are quick, stimulating movements and others are relaxing, soothing movements.

Best for: nourishing hair, increasing circulation, cleansing the body, eye strain, headaches, insomnia, lethargy, lack of concentration. 

Lymphatic drainage massage 

The name says it all here – this is a gentle, rhythmic massage to stimulate the lymphatic system.

Best for: detox, cellulite, reducing swelling, post-operative recovery, immune system.

Pregnancy and post-natal massage

Again, this one is fairly self-explanatory. Whilst other massages may not be suitable during pregnancy, the relief of all those aches and pains is needed more than ever, and massage is a great way to reconnect with your own body as well as beginning to bond with your baby. After the birth, post-natal massage can help you to recover your sense of self and care for your new body.

Best for: tired and sore muscles, aches and pains, energy boost, self-esteem, bonding with your baby.

Sports massage

Sports massage is based on Swedish massage, but with additional techniques and technology. The practice focuses on physical performance and injury prevention and recovery. Sports massage increases the suppleness and flexibility of the muscles, and also improves blood circulation which helps to speed up healing.

It is quite a vigorous treatment, and you might feel tired afterwards.

Sports Massage should be avoided if you have open wounds, burns, infectious skin conditions, muscle tears, sprained ligaments, broken limbs, varicose veins, phlebitis, high/low blood pressure, thrombosis, cancer, tumours, melanoma, haemophilia, epilepsy or diabetes.

Best for: injury prevention, injury recovery, muscle strain or overuse, reducing nervous tension, athletic/sports performance, soreness, removal of lactic acid and other waste products.

Thai yoga massage

Thai yoga massage has been described as ‘the lazy man’s yoga’, because your body gets a workout that comes with many of the relaxing and invigorating benefits of yoga, without you having to do a thing!

Thai yoga massage releases energy blocks within your body and creates wholeness in mind, body and spirit. Like yoga, traditional Thai massage is based on the concept of a human being consisting of more than just their physical body. According to Indian yoga tradition, we are made up of five different bodies; the physical body, the prana or energy body, the memory body, the subconscious body and the cosmic body within which all the bodies are connected.

Best for: relaxation, energy boosting, overall health and wellbeing, balance and inner calm. 

Therapeutic massage

Therapeutic massage combines ancient Oriental techniques with modern principles of anatomy and physiology. There are five basic strokes, all flowing towards the heart, which are combined with oil to reduce friction. Therapeutic massage is often used as a basis for more advanced massage techniques tailored to particular conditions, and is frequently integrated into other complementary therapies, such as osteopathy.

Best for: injury recovery, scar tissue, swelling, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, leg and foot pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arm and hand issues, increasing circulation, relaxation, energy boosting.


Tuina massage originated in ancient China and is thought to be the oldest system of body work. It is a hands-on technique that is practiced through clothing. Tuina is one of the limbs of Chinese medicine, alongside acupuncture and Chinese herbs, and follows the same theory that imbalances in the body’s energy system can lead to pain and illness. It targets specific acupoints on the body to address these imbalances, but using fingers rather than needles.

Best for: neck and back pain, muscle and joint problems, premenstrual symptoms, fatigue and insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, respiratory conditions, anxiety, depression, postpartum lactation.

Hopefully that’s helped you decide which type of massage is right for you – if so, you can book your appointment online. If you’re still not sure, give us a call on 01273 698697 and we can help advise you.