People have been performing massage therapy since before 3000 BCE. Historical evidence points to massage therapy originating in India as a form of sacred natural healing, and it has since evolved over the ages. Now there are many different styles with different benefits (over 13 different popular styles in the US alone!)
The four most popular types of massage are shiatsu massage, swedish massage, deep tissue and sports massage.
Shiatsu Massage is used to improve energy flow and to reduce stress. Shiatsu stimulates acupressure points with localized pressure applied in a rhythmic sequence. Shiatsu massage is commonly used to ease pain and lack of mobility in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
Swedish Massage is a massage for full body relaxation. This method uses broad, then specific strokes for problem areas. Swedish massage is a very common massage style, often found in spa settings because of its pleasing and relaxing effect on the human body.
Deep tissue massage is a focused, therapeutic massage. This method targets muscle knots and problem areas in the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Deep tissue massage is more intense than swedish massage because of the deep, slow strokes that place pressure on the muscles.
Sports massage is popular among athletes because of its beneficial impact on athletic performance. Sports massage uses compression and joint mobilization to prevent and treat injuries. Sports massage also works to increase flexibility.