Glossary of Massage Terms

Category: Massage
Last updated on: 24/08/2023
A girl reading dictionary of massage terms and definitions

In the realm of professional massage, practitioners occasionally use industry jargon, sometimes leaving customers a bit befuddled. Whether you're an aspiring massage therapist seeking clarity on industry terminology or a client simply looking to understand your treatment better, we've compiled a comprehensive UK-centric glossary to demystify commonly used massage terms.



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While there's a vast array of massage types ranging from Aromatherapy to the Japanese Zen Shiatsu, we've dedicated separate pages for them as well as our main Treatments section. Here, we've focused on terms frequently used in massage therapy, beyond names of treatments styles.

Understanding massage lingo doesn't have to be hard work, just use our simple guide below!



Glossary of Massage Terms

Term Definition
Seamlessly integrating two distinct massage styles into one session, like the Thai Oil combo massage.
Conditions or factors that serve as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment due to potential harm. In massage, there are certain conditions under which massage should be avoided.
A specific tapotement technique involving the hands forming an inverted cup and rapidly drumming on the client’s body.
The technique of covering a massage client with a sheet or towel to preserve the client's modesty and comfort during a session.
A gentle gliding technique using the base of the palms. It's often a foundational technique for trainee therapists.
Energy healing: A therapeutic approach prioritising spiritual health alongside anatomical and physiological techniques.
Connective tissue enveloping the body's internal structures. Myofascial release is a related treatment.
Full body massage: A comprehensive massage covering the entire body, excluding private areas. Clients can specify areas of focus.
A brisk tapotement technique, where the therapist "chops" the client's torso with the sides of their hands.
Holistic massage: An approach merging physical touch with empathetic understanding to promote overall well-being.
Resembling a baker's motions with dough, it involves rubbing and manipulating skin and muscles.
Lubricant: Products like oils, creams, or lotions applied to the client's skin to reduce friction during the massage.
Massage Therapist:
A certified professional who performs massage treatments. It's a gender-neutral term.
Masseur: A term for a male massage therapist.
Masseuse: A term for a female massage therapist.
Mobile Therapy: A service where the therapist travels to the client's location, be it a home, hotel room, etc.
A specific method or approach used by therapists in their profession. It is often used to describe different types of massage techniques but can also refer to other therapeutic approaches.
On-Demand Therapy:
Last-minute, short-notice massage service, gaining popularity in bustling areas like London.
The act of feeling with the hands to examine the body, especially while diagnosing a disease or illness. In massage, it's used to locate muscle knots or areas of tension.
Percussion: Another term for tapotement.
Intense massage motions like kneading and rolling.
Posture Analysis:
An assessment used by therapists to observe clients' postural imbalances and structural misalignments, which can be addressed during the massage session.
Pressure Point: A specific spot on the body, often along a muscle or tendon, that can produce pain when pressed due to muscle knots or tension.
Squeezing and moving muscle tissue, often used for lymphatic drainage and slimming massages.
Stretching: Often integrated into massage sessions, it's the process of putting specific parts or the entire body into a position that will lengthen, or elongate, muscles and associated soft tissues.
Rapid drumming or patting. Varieties include cupping, hacking, and tapping.
Gentle tapotement for delicate areas like the face, creating a raindrop sensation.
Therapeutic Relationship: The trust-based relationship between a massage therapist and client, fostering an environment where the client feels safe, heard, and understood.
SOURCE: The Massage Rooms
Do let us know if you have any other terms you feel should be added to the list!
Now, after palpating the nuances of aromatherapy, the effleurage of terms like fascia and contraindication, and kneading through the modalities of tapping, rolling, and petrissage, don't you feel like draping yourself in relaxation? Perhaps it's time for an on-demand therapy, holistic massage at home in London to ease out that posture analysis tension. And remember, if this sentence seemed like a combo-massage of words, all definitions are just a click away!


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