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Table 1 Proposed taxonomy of massage practice

From: Development of a taxonomy to describe massage treatments for musculoskeletal pain

Level     
Principal Goals of Treatment Relaxation Massage Clinical Massage Movement Re-education Energy Work
Intention Relax muscles, move body fluids, promote wellness Accomplish specific goals such as releasing muscle spasms Induce sense of freedom, ease and lightness in body Hypothesized to free energy blockages
Commonly Used Styles (examples*) Swedish massage, spa massage
Sports massage
Myofascial trigger point therapy
Myofascial release
Strain counterstrain
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
Strain counterstrain
Trager
Acupressure
Reiki
Polarity
Therapeutic
Touch
Tuina
Commonly Techniques (examples**) Gliding
Kneading
Friction
Holding
Percussion
Vibration
Direct pressure
Skin rolling
Resistive stretching
Stretching – manual
Cross-fiber friction
Contract-relax
Passive stretching
Resistive stretching
Rocking
Direction of energy
Smoothing
Direct pressure
Holding
Rocking
Traction
  1. * While some styles of massage are commonly used in addressing one of the four principal treatment goals, some may be used to address several distinct treatment goals.
  2. ** By varying the intent (or purpose) for a technique, many of them can be used in massages with different principal treatment goals.