Therapeutic massage: what is it for? Types and benefits

Therapeutic massage (or massage therapy) mainly consists of the manual manipulation of soft tissues of the body, limbs and joints.

The maneuvers are designed to stimulate relaxation, improve blood circulation, reduce stress levels and even benefit mental health and prevent disease.

It is worth noting that this is not simply a relaxing massage. Massage therapy has specific techniques and modalities, aiming to achieve benefits in relation to physical health and well-being.

Its use is quite comprehensive, since it can be part of the routine of the elderly, athletes, people with arthritis and osteoarthritis , people with oncological pathologies, etc. Being used, in each case, with a specific objective.


What are the benefits of therapeutic massages?

There are several massage therapy techniques. However, in general, they all have benefits in common. As an example, we can cite:

  • Reduction of muscle tension;
  • Increased feeling of physical well-being;
  • Better blood circulation;
  • Higher quality of sleep;
  • Prevention of some diseases;
  • Relief from stress and anxiety.

In general, therapeutic massage has several benefits especially for some groups:


Athletes are very adept at therapeutic massage. Usually its use occurs before and after training, providing a reduction in muscle tension.

In addition, the practice of massage associated with physiotherapy is predominant, in order to assist in the recovery of injuries, sprains or muscle discomfort. Thus, massage therapy is performed in association with sports medicine.

Cancer patients

Currently, there are studies that point to the possibility of therapeutic massage assisting in mental health, especially for people in complex situations, such as oncological treatments.

The procedure can be done even in hospitals or at home, depending on the condition of each patient.

Thus, through relaxation, greater quality of sleep and increased feeling of physical and emotional well-being, massage therapy can be an ally to treatments.


The elderly can benefit greatly from massage therapy. This is because it is common for them to suffer from chronic pain (low back, migraine , spine, etc.) or even have pathologies such as arthritis, osteoarthritis or other type of rheumatism .

In addition, many elderly people also suffer from mental health problems, such as depression .

Thus, therapeutic massage can contribute to better blood circulation, greater feeling of well-being and relaxation, reduction of muscle tension and relief of anxiety .

Types of therapeutic massages and what they are for

There are many types of massages with therapeutic features. They originate from different cultures and regions. Consequently, they also vary with respect to their techniques and objectives.

Now, let’s get to know some types and their applicability:


Perhaps this is the most popular massage on our list. Shiatsu is practiced by people from all over the world and helps, mainly, in the fight against muscular tensions. In addition, it is also beneficial for circulation, posture and rebalancing the energy flow.

The technique must be applied by trained professionals and consists of the combination of the use of thumbs, palm and elbow, putting pressure on the areas with the greatest tension.

It is also common to use essential oils in sessions, bringing the benefits of aromatherapy – a very old integrative practice.

Despite its benefits, Shiatsu is contraindicated for pregnant women, people with degenerative diseases and also for people with certain types of cancer . In case of doubts, the ideal is always to seek specialists.

Ayurvedic or Ayurveda

Ayurvedic or, also, Ayurveda is a type of Indian massage, derived from ancestral medicine, existing more than 7 thousand years ago.

An essential part of the technique consists of the use of medicated vegetable oils, based on sesame oil. In addition, stretches are also performed – in order to relieve pain.

Ayurvedic treatment also contributes to cell exchanges in order to remove toxins from the body. Other benefits are the regulation of blood pressure and improvement in lymphatic circulation.

As with any procedure, there are also some contraindications for Ayurvedic massage . It is not recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, people living with HIV, people with malignant tumors and in cases of inflammation or skin infections.


The Thai massage or thai , is well known and peculiar. This is because it is not performed on a stretcher, as procedures are traditionally done. In this case, the massage is performed on the floor, so that the client is placed in different yoga positions during the session.

Unlike Shiatsu and Ayurveda, oils are not used in this practice. But it is essential to wear comfortable clothes, due to the movements performed.

Thus, the focus is on stretching and body maneuvers, aiming at greater flexibility and relieving muscle tension.

However, most professionals say that it is a massage that is much more energetic than physical. Thus, movements are made to release energy, providing a sense of immediate relaxation.

Considering the great load of physical movements, Thai massage is not recommended for cardiac people without medical clearance, or in cases of osteoporosis and serious infections.

Hot rocks

This is a very famous and desired technique. Many people dream of doing it, due to the intense relaxation caused by the use of hot stones, combined with essential oils.

In this procedure, initially a body massage is performed with the use of oils and then hot basalt stones are used, spread throughout the body (including head and face).

The benefits are almost entirely focused on well-being, providing relief from stress and tension. But hot stone massage also improves blood circulation and lymphatic drainage .

The technique is contraindicated for pregnant women, patients with cancer and in people with skin diseases, acute asthma or injuries.

Read more: Lymphatic drainage lose weight?

Can therapeutic massage be curative?

No. There are still no studies that prove that massage, by itself, can have a healing effect, however, it can bring several health benefits and be an important ally in treatments.

For example, in sports medicine it is very common for massage therapy techniques to assist in the treatment of injuries. However, massage alone, without the aid of sports medicine, is not 100% effective.

In addition, there are several techniques aimed at eliminating tensions caused by daily or traumatic stress. Likewise, massage helps to reduce these symptoms and can provide intense relaxation, but in cases of chronic problems it will not be curative.

Therefore, it should never replace medical advice or treatment indicated by specialists.

How often to do?

The frequency of therapeutic massage varies due to several factors: medical or massage therapist’s recommendation, client’s physical condition, financial issues and time available.

There is also no pre-established general recommendation. Thus, each person can include massage in their daily lives in the most appropriate way within their conditions and specialized guidelines.

In addition, you may not need to massage your entire body at all sessions. Since, in some cases, just a few techniques are enough to achieve the desired result.

How much does a therapeutic massage session cost?

The value of the session may vary depending on the technique used and even due to the location in which you are.

The prices of therapeutic massages range from R $ 65 (Shiatsu) and can reach up to R $ 270 (Ayurvedic massage) per session.

Studies show that massage therapy can cause not only physical benefits or feelings of well-being, many prove that it can help in cases of psychological illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

Despite this, it is always recommended to seek specialists for an accurate and reliable diagnosis, because in case of illness or chronic pain you will have the ideal treatment.

Thus, after medical clearance, it is possible to use massage therapy as the only treatment or in a complementary way.

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