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Massage — The Benefits and Different Types

Written by Bryce Hatton, Massage Therapist

Massage – it is something many is us think about but fewer actually do on a regular basis. There are many reasons people have for not getting regular massages from – “I don’t have time” through to “Is it really worth doing?” and “I don’t know if will be of any benefit”.

Over the years I have introduced people of all ages to massage – the oldest being 94 – and a common thread from conversation post-massage is “Why didn’t I try this earlier?”. That particular question doesn’t come with a standard answer as each person’s reasons are different for why they do, or don’t, access massage more often.

So, if you have been wondering about whether massage is for you here are some of the benefits….

  • If you are currently receiving physiotherapy treatment massage may help support your rehab plan as developed by your physio. Any massage treatment would take into account your presenting issue and what your physio has assessed and is treating. Your physio can answer any questions you have about undertaking massage alongside your current treatment and both massage practitioner and physiotherapist will work together to ensure you have the best outcomes.
  • Less stress. Massage has been shown to help in the reduction of stress – something we could all do with in this day and age. It may also improve immune function, help to lower blood pressure and improve your energy levels.
  • Improvements in muscle recovery post-exercise, or just from life in general. Massage can assist with improvements in circulation, a decrease in muscle stiffness and soreness, and even better flexibility over time.
  • Lymphatic drainage massage can support injury recovery and post-operative oedema by assisting in the reduction of excess fluid caused by inflammation from injury/surgery.
  • Help with your own self-care. This is something that we all need to work on as looking after ourselves is often not high on our priority lists. Good self-care is making sure that you take the time to do the things that make you feel better – whether that is exercise (self-motivated or with a personal trainer), Pilates, yoga, spending time with friends/family, walking, running, playing a sport, taking some time out during the week, or getting a massage.

There are many different types of massage out there to choose from. Here are some of them…


This is based on the symptoms of biomechanical dysfunction or injury and then the relevant treatment for the presenting condition. It is generally more focused on the area of dysfunction rather than a “full body” approach. The aim is to assist you in a return to normal function and health.


Also known as 'Western' or 'Swedish' massage. A popular form of massage that aims to encourage relaxation and improve blood circulation – can be light to firmer pressure, it depends on your preference.

Manual lymphatic drainage

This is quite a different type of massage from what you may expect. It is a light and gentle technique that stimulates your lymphatic system to encourage improvements in clearing excess fluid in the tissues, whether from injury/surgery or a more chronic condition. It can also benefit your immune system.


This is not so much a specific style of massage but more the application of massage techniques. This takes into account stages of training, any past or current injuries and any other factors you present with. It is aimed at muscle recovery, injury prevention and performance enhancement.

No two people are the same and no two massages should be the same. Each massage should be specific to you and what you need on the day – something you discuss and agree with your therapist. If you have any questions regarding massage please feel free to contact me at Auckland Physiotherapy.

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