How Do I Learn Different Massage Techniques?

Students learning different massage techniques at a vocational school.

Interested in learning about the different massage techniques? Don’t have a lot of time to spend working for free as an apprentice? The best way to learn how to perform the different massage techniques is by attending a vocational school. You will attend classes and work in real life situations that will prepare you to join the workforce.

How Do I Learn Different Massage Techniques?

The easiest and quickest way to learn the different massage techniques is by attending a massage therapy program at a vocational school. During this program you will learn about multiple massage techniques, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and business practices. You will become a well educated massage therapist with real world experience in a student run spa and ready to start your first job as a massage therapist.

Why Attend a Vocational School’s Massage Therapy Program?

Learn a Broad Range of Massage Techniques

As a massage therapist, you will need to know a broad range of massage techniques in order to help your clients. Some clients will come to you with a request for relaxation from Swedish massage, and others will need deep tissue massage to help relieve chronic pain. You will need to learn a broad range of massage techniques to help your clients based on their different ailments and needs. During a massage therapy program at a vocational school you learn many different massage techniques in order to create a diverse skill set.

Understand How to Stay Healthy

During a vocational school’s massage therapy program, you will learn the proper posture for administering massage. Each massage technique requires different posture, whether you massage a client using a table or chair. You will learn how to stand and move while giving a massage, how to keep good posture at all times and how to correct and prevent bad postural habits. Keeping your body healthy is important for longevity and success in your massage career. You will learn proper posture, warm up exercises, and how to maintain stamina.

Practice at a School Run Spa

Most vocational schools will have you practice your massage techniques on real clients after learning the basics. They will have you take on real clients at a school run spa. This will be good experience when you begin your first job search as a massage therapist.

Small Class Sizes

Most vocational schools offer small class sizes, allowing you to not get lost in the crowd. Small class sizes offer one-on-one instruction with industry experienced instructors. They also allow you to become close with classmates and start networking for your first job in the massage industry.

One-on-One Instructor Attention

The small classes offered at a vocational school allow you to work with instructors one-on-one. Instructors can offer more attention and personal instruction so that you learn the different massage technique more thoroughly and quickly.

Work with Instructors that have Experience in the Industry

Vocational schools have relationships with their community. Many of the instructors that teach at a vocational school have held massage therapy jobs in the past. They bring their experience to you so you can learn what local communities hiring managers are looking for and start to network for that first job.

Helping Others

The best part about massage therapy is helping others. Massage helps clients relieve stress, reduce pain and increase relaxation. You will be helping those with chronic pain, building a relationship with loyal customers and allowing people to live happier and healthier lives.

What Will I Learn in a Massage Therapy Program?

While taking a massage therapy program at a vocational school, you will learn the different massage techniques, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and professional business practices.

Multiple Massage Techniques

As a student at a vocational school, you will learn the different massage techniques that will be used as you become a massage therapist. Massage techniques will include the most common, Swedish massage, and many holistic massage techniques like Himalayan Hot Stone. With a wide range of experience in different massage techniques, you can diversify your clientele and offer different massage experiences based on your client’s needs.

Anatomy and Physiology

A massage therapy program involves classes in anatomy and physiology. Anatomy classes teach the basics of how the human body works. It focuses on the structures of the body and the relationship they share.

Physiology is the science of life and teaches the function of body parts. Physiology and massage therapy focus on the functions of organs, tissues and cells at the molecular level.


Kinesiology is the study of how different muscular movements affect and interact with various parts of the human body. This, as well as massage therapy, do not deal with cardiac (heart) muscles or visceral (internal organ) muscles. In massage, skeletal muscles are used to exert force and generate movement. This is the main focus of kinesiology.

Professional Business Practices

Part of being a massage therapist is running a business. Whether you own your own spa, are a manager at a spa or just managing your clientele, you will need some business experience. Topics like light accounting, customer service, sales, marketing and other business techniques will help you manage your clients and even start your own business one day.

What are the Different Types of Massage Therapy?

There are many different types of massage therapy, from introductory to advanced. During your massage therapy program, you will learn about Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, chair massage, prenatal massage, and Himalayan hot stone. A different massage technique can be used for each client’s needs and muscle ailments. It is important for you to learn them all so you can diversify your clientele.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the most common form of massage offered and asked for in clinics and private offices. This form of massage is a whole-body technique that kneads muscles, strokes the skin and delivers general relaxation to tired, sore bodies. This massage technique involves gliding motions that lead blood back toward the heart. The techniques in Swedish massage are generally classified as stroking, kneading, striking, rubbing and vibration. Each technique produces a different effect that relieves pain and stress in a different way. This experience can be confined to a certain area of the body or include a full body massage.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is mainly for clients who have chronic soreness, scar tissue, injuries, or even balance problems. This form of massage is a more intense form of Swedish and includes slower strokes with deeper, fuller finger pressure.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is manual manipulation of the muscles to help people who have physically demanding lifestyles and hobbies. This considers the impact of certain activities on specific joints, muscle groups, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue groups. Sports massage therapy maximizes the benefit of certain massage techniques and supports further physical exertion and activity. Sports massage will help those about to physically exert themselves, those that have injured a muscle or need a cool down massage to help return blood flow to the muscles and help them repair.

Chair Massage

Chair massage therapy is a fully clothed technique for treating everyday tension in the neck, back and arms. It is another form of Swedish massage done while the client is in a special chair. This specialized chair is equipped with a pad and face cradle to support the client’s head and chest. Most chairs come with extendable armrests for enhanced upper bodywork and can be fully adjusted for height and comfort.

The goal of using a chair during massage is to increase the client’s relaxation and allow them to remain upright and aligned in the seated position. This method can also be completed in a public atmosphere. Privacy is required in other forms of massage because items of clothing are removed to create accessibility to certain areas of the body. Since chair massage deals primarily with the upper extremities and limbs of the body the client’s clothes always stay on.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is a specialized treatment for pregnant women who want to get relief from the aches and pains that occur during pregnancy. It is a gentler version of Swedish massage but has its own set of protocols and techniques.

Prenatal massage includes manual manipulation therapy. Prenatal massage therapy is dedicated to the comfort, health, and relaxation of mothers-to-be in various stages of pregnancy while actively considering common conditions and discomforts. It is important that you learn how the body changes throughout each phase and the transition of each trimester. This knowledge is important so that you know how to avoid accidental injury or creating unnecessary risk to your client’s health or the health of their pregnancy.

Himalayan Hot Stone

This massage technique uses hot stones with minerals to exfoliate the skin, softening the skin after a massage. Himalayan hot stones give off negative ions to balance out the positive ions that cause inflammation in the body. This massage technique can also reduce stress, offering a calm and warm atmosphere.

Final Thoughts

If you have a passion for helping others and are interested in learning some new massage techniques in order to become a massage therapist, attending a vocational school massage therapy program may be the right career path for you.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

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