Massage Around the World

When we typically think about massage, we think about traditional Western methods, such as Swedish massage, sports massage, and deep tissue massage. The truth, however, is that massage has a long and storied history throughout other parts of the globe, and was practiced for millenia in other continents before it ever reached North America and Europe. In this blog post, we discuss 10 types of massage from around the world. 

If any of these techniques appeal to you, order a bottle of our best-selling Liquid Love organic body oil today to try them out on a friend or lover. Liquid Love is weightless, fast-absorbing, and all-natural, featuring hand-selected sunflowers and coconuts for the ultimate relaxation experience. Read on to learn about some of the fascinating types of massage practiced around the world then experience them for yourself, courtesy of Liquid Love.

Shiatsu (Japan)

You may have heard of shiatsu massage before, as it has become a quite popular technique among Western massage therapists. Meaning “finger pressure” in Japanese, shitatus includes massage with fingers, thumbs, feet, and palms, as well as assisted stretching and joint mobilization. Originally developed in 1320, shiatsu massage is renowned for using rolling vibrations and strumming on the body to help promote relaxation and health. Many people find that shiatsu massage helps alleviate pain and anxiety over time.

Lomilomi (Hawaii)


The traditional massage of Hawaii, lomilomi was first made famous around the world by Hawaiian tourism, although it originated in ancient Polynesia, first coming to Hawaii with Polynesian settlers. Lomilomi massage is an integrative practice that traditionally includes chants and prayers. Practitioners use the palms, forearms, fingers, knuckles, elbows, knees, feet, and sticks and stones to knead, rub, and soothe the body. This spiritual and physical practice remains popular in Oceania today.

Ayurvedic Massage (India)

Known as Abyangham in Sanskrit, Ayurvedic massage is another style of massage that is becoming increasingly popular in the West. Having originated in India in approximately 3,000 BCE, Ayurvedic Massage emerged from Ayurveda, a traditional holistic medical system. Ayurveda posits that individuals incur illnesses when they live out of harmony with their environment. In order to cure illnesses, all five senses must be used, including touch. Ayurvedic Massage uses a combination of physical, emotions, and spiritual techniques, including massage, meditation, and aromatherapy to rejuvenate the body and mind.

Balinese Massage (Indonesia)

Balinese massage is a full-body, holistic, deep tissue treatment that originated on the Indonesian island of Bali. Consisting of a combination of gentle stresses, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy, Balinese massage attempts to stimulate the flow of qi (energy) around the body to produce a sense of wellbeing and deep relaxation. Balinese massage uses many different techniques including skin rolling, kneading, stroking, pressure point stimulation, and more. It is recommended for those experiencing stress and joint pain, and is very useful for sports therapy.

Thai Massage (Thailand)

This traditional Thai healing system was developed more than 2,500 years ago. It combines acupressure, Ayurvedic principles, and isolated yoga postures to offer the receiver a unique, intense experience. During the course of the massage, the receiver is positioned in a variety of yoga-like positions combined with deep static and rhythmic pressures. The massage may include pulling fingers, toes, and ears, cracking knuckles, and even walking on the recipient’s back. 

According to a 2005 study by the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, patients who suffered back pain saw a 50% reduction in pain after receiving Thai massage for three weeks. It’s important to note, however, that this is a very intense type of massage, so it should be done by a trained practitioner and is not recommended for people who are new to bodywork. 

Burmese Massage (Myanmar)

No trip to Myanmar is complete without a traditional Burmese massage. A fusion of its neighboring countries’ styles and techniques, Burmese uses a mixture of Thai, Chinese, and Indian elements to target pressure points and energy spots in order to restore the receiver’s qi. Burmese massage begins with gentle kneading leading up to more intense pulling and stretching, which many recipients claim makes them feel truly alive. Considered even more intense than Thai massage, Burmese massage is recommended for seasoned massage practitioners and recipients.

Breema Massage (Kurdistan)

The healing art of Breema originated generations ago in the small Kurdish village of Breemava, and focuses on the body-mind connection for wellness and self-care. Based on a profound understanding of the unifying principles of all life, Breema massage uses an extensive variety of sequences to actualize physical, mental, and emotional harmony. It uses tension-relieving stretches, partner bodywork, and gentle touch to offer an integrative, spiritual experience.

Zhi Ya (China)

Originating more than 4,000 years ago, this traditional Chinese massage is based on acupressure, which posits that certain points of the body are associated with natural patterns of qi. The aim of zhi ya is to release physical and energetic tension in the body in order to kickstart a natural healing process. Many recipients of zhi ya and other forms of traditional Chinese massage report increased energy, faster muscle recovery, and greater emotional health. Zhi ya and other traditional Chinese massages are becoming increasingly popular in Western spas.

Hilot (Philippines)

This ancient Filipino art of healing uses manipulation and massage to promote an overall sense of health and wellbeing, particularly for musculoskeletal ailments. Emerging from shamanic traditions, Hilot practitioners (known as manghihilot) employ chiropractic-like manipulation and massage techniques to diagnose and treat muscle and joint problems. They have been known to reset dislocated and sprained joints such as the knee, fingers, ankles, and metacarpal bones. Although Hilot is a deep tissue massage, the touch is generally gentle and relaxing. Manghihilot are often also herbalists, and can use traditional herbs to treat ailments as well. 

Rungu (East Africa)

Rungu massage makes use of a wooden throwing club or baton known as a Rungu. The Rungu is an important warrior symbol for tribes in East Africa, particularly the Maasai, who inhabit parts of Kenya and Tanzania.  During a Rungue massage, the practitioner will roll the Rungu over tired or painful muscles to ensure lymph drainage and the release of endorphins. Rungu massage is a form of deep tissue massage that will leave you feeling pampered and relaxed. 

Indulge Yourself With Liquid Love

With so many different types of massage to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. Don’t worry — the first step to enjoying an unforgettable massage is to order a bottle or value pack of our best-selling Liquid Love massage oil. Then, get ready to travel the world from the comfort of your own home.