An Insider’s Overview of Different Massage Styles

Massage therapy is an ancient practice that has come a long way in the Western world. Evolving techniques, availability, range of treatment options, and growing expertise have elevated massage therapy to a more proper place in mainstream medical conversations. But navigating the different massage styles and choosing the right one can be tricky.

At Portland’s Xenana Spa, our massage therapists offer a wide range of options and customize their treatments for each individual client. We invite you to learn more about our staff and their specialties to help you pick the right LMT for you. And when you’re ready to book a service, you can use our online portal at your convenience.

Different Massage Styles Meet Different Needs

As with any medical or alternative wellness treatment, massage therapy is never a one-size-fits-all option. Each person has unique needs and goals to address in their session, and these may change from one appointment to the next.

It’s crucial to communicate with your LMT so they can design the optimal session for reaching your best form and function. Here are several commonly-used massage styles and what to expect with each one.  

Deep Tissue and Myofascial Release

Deep Tissue Massage Is One Of The Most Common Types Of Massage Therapy Available.

These therapeutic sessions provide deep relief and can incorporate a range of techniques from  slow, firm pressure to reach deep layers of muscle and connective tissue, to lighter techniques that unwind the more superficial fascia in our bodies. 

These sessions work to address your pain, however your therapist may not necessarily be working in the area you feel the pain. Therapists with this advanced training know how to follow the tension patterns in the body to uncover the root cause of pain and slowly melt it away.

While a series of sessions is best to achieve the most benefit deep tissue massage has to offer, even one or two sessions will promote relief from chronic tension, improve flexibility, and enhance overall mobility. 

At Xenana, Melissa Abraham, Paulina Ploszajska, Mariana Blackstone, Emma Hanley, and Grace Kerr are particularly skilled providers of deep tissue work.

Nurture and Swedish Massage

Swedish and deep tissue massage do have some overlapping techniques. A Nurture massage, though, provides you with a more fluid, integrated experience. Your therapist may use long, flowing and kneading movements to help move stagnant energy and tension in the upper layers of your muscles while you drift in and out of that half-asleep state.  

Nurture massage is suitable for most people and is ideal for anyone who doesn’t enjoy or tolerate the heavy pressure of deep tissue but wants to completely bliss out and relax.

Grace Kerr, Shane Adair, Kelcy Heerspink, Sara Greenhouse, Jennifer Lunceford and Ashley Bowen are masterful at providing a Nurture massage at Xenana Spa.

Prenatal and Postpartum

Image Of Pregnant Woman Holding Her Lower Back In Discomfort. The Different Massage Styles Include Prenatal And Postpartum Treatments.

Expectant and postpartum parents can enjoy tremendous benefits from prenatal massage. This full-body treatment addresses common pregnancy and postpartum complaints such as hip pain, low back pain, and sciatica. Regular bodywork during pregnancy can even support optimal baby positioning for birth.  

All of our therapists at Xenana have specific training by our LMT and midwife owner and provide outstanding work for both relaxation and therapeutic prenatal massage. We also have birth doulas and advanced level therapists on staff who know even more about treating the subtleties of pregnancy and postpartum.

For the safest and most valuable experience during a prenatal or postpartum massage, we highly encourage you to choose a therapist with advanced training. At Xenana, we have developed a side lying pillow system that our clients fall in love with, and all our therapists have special prenatal training.   

Jennifer Lunceford, Makeda Stewart, Grace Kerr, and Mariana Blackstone are our MOST experienced prenatal and postpartum LMTs.

Grounding and Energetic

Massage isn’t only for the body. It’s excellent for nurturing the mind and spirit, too. Massage therapists with advanced training in energy work bring an extra special element to these sessions. 

They often utilize essential oils, breathwork, and other grounding techniques during their bodywork sessions to support the whole person. These types of massage can be safe and suitable for anyone needing some mind/body support and can be particularly effective for anyone recovering from trauma.

Image Of Relaxed Woman After A Massage.

 Ashley Bowen, Shane Adair, Kelcy Keerspink and Sara Greenhouse excel at providing deeply restorative, energetic massage treatments.

Thai Massage

Thai massage looks very different from other massage styles. You remain fully clothed in comfortable yoga style pants and shirt. Your LMT cultivates a treatment with a graceful flow of rhythmic rocking, revitalizing stretches, and gentle yet deep compression techniques. This work focuses on energy lines to release blockages and promote the flow of energy. 

We highly recommend 90-minute sessions to experience the full benefits Thai Massage has to offer. It’s renowned for its ability to relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, boost flexibility, and reduce stress. 

Beyond the physical benefits, Thai massage also provides a sense of deep relaxation and mental clarity. Many people find Thai massage to be a transformative experience, not only for the body but also for the mind and spirit, making it a valuable addition to holistic wellness practices.

Paulina Ploszakska provides Thai massage to our Xenana clients.

Find Your Right Fit at Xenana

The Xenana Spa team has been serving folks in its SE Portland location for nearly 2 decades.  We invite you to connect with us to find the best treatment and provider for your needs. 

We also offer facials and yoga classes at the spa to continue supporting your whole self. Book your next appointment today, or reach out to us with any questions.

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