A Guide to The Different Types of Body Treatments on Spa Holidays

A Guide to The Different Types of Body Treatments on Spa Holidays

If you’re in need of deep relaxation, stress relief or just want to be pampered, one of our luxury spa holidays is for you. With destinations ranging from Morocco and Italy to Thailand and India, you’ll be able to fully detach yourself from the stresses and strains of daily life and unwind in stunning natural surroundings.

Each of our spa getaways has a range of indulgent massage body treatments and therapies to ease tension in your muscles and promote health, but sometimes their names can be a little mindboggling. Here is our helpful guide to what each spa treatment entails, so you can decide which ones to enjoy on a relaxing healthy holiday.

Acupressure Massage

If you’re looking to de-stress and relieve pain, this type of therapy could be the one for you. It involves placing pressure on certain points of the body, similar to the points used in acupuncture. The therapist will apply gentle but firm pressure on areas of your body with their fingertips to encourage energy to flow and to aid healing. An acupressure massage is said to be fantastic at relaxing the mind and body, improving your circulation, relieving any aches and pains, encouraging the healing of injuries and generally enhancing your well-being.

Try Acupressure Massage at Fusion Maia in Vietnam

Abdominal Massage

An abdominal massage involves applying pressure to the stomach and pelvic area. For women, it is used predominantly to treat a displaced uterus but also infertility, painful or irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, bladder problems, constipation and ovary issues. It can also be beneficial for men who suffer digestive upsets, bladder issues and pain in the pelvic region whilst recovering on a  healing spa holiday.

Try Abdominal Massage at Kamalaya in Thailand

Thai Massage

One of the more popular types of massage therapy, a Thai massage involves a combination of acupressure, body rocking and assisted stretching. It generally takes place on the floor and is carried out using the feet, knees, elbows, thumbs and palms; you can either have a full body massage or have it target a particular troublesome area. This is a great choice if you’re looking to treat back or shoulder pain, a stiff neck or muscle strain. It also helps to improve circulation and your spinal alignment.

Try Thai Massage at Absolute Sanctuary in Thailand

Thai massage

Thai massage

Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

If you suffer from chronic or serious muscle pain and tension or you’re seeking recovery from an injury, this is the therapy for you on a luxury spa break. The massage therapist will use deep pressure directly on the area of concern with their fingertips, hands, elbows or forearms, which can often feel uncomfortable. This therapy targets the deep layers of muscle and seeks to break down the tissue which is causing the pain or inflammation, helping you to recover.

Try Deep Tissue Massage at Porto Elounda in Crete


Aromatherapy involves a classic massage technique with long strokes and kneading, but with essential oils, which derive from plant material. These oils are then absorbed through the skin and release a lovely perfume which you'll breathe in. Different oils will be used depending upon your personal needs; you may need calming, energising, cleansing or decongesting, all of which require a different combination of oils. This is a fantastic therapy for stress relief and deep relaxation.

Try Aromatherapy massage at Porto Elounda Aromatherapy Ayurveda in Greece

Ayurvedic Massage

Gain the healing powers of Ayurveda with this therapy, which aims to maintain the health of the mind and spirit. Each massage is personalised to your individual needs, with particular oils, movements and techniques. Your therapist will focus on your pressure points, similar to those used in acupressure. This type of massage is great for detoxifying and cleansing your body and mind, strengthening your immune system and improving your overall well-being whilst on an Ayurveda spa holiday.

Try Ayurvedic Massage at Ananda in India

Ayurvedic massage

Ayurvedic massage (left) Aromatherapy oils (right)

Indian Head Massage

Based on Ayurvedic healing, an Indian head massage provides relaxation and revitalisation. Stress often builds up in the tissues, muscles and joints of the head, face, neck and shoulders, so this therapy aims to release this tension. During a treatment, you’ll sit in a massage chair and the therapist will apply pressure and movements to the neck, shoulder and scalp, as well as occasionally to the face. This is great for providing stress relief and treatment for headaches and insomnia.

Try Indian Head Massage at COMO Uma Canggu in Bali

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage aims to enhance energy flow around the body with continuous rhythmic sequences of pressure applied by the fingers, thumbs and palms. No oil is used in this therapy so you can stay fully clothed. This massage is excellent at relieving pain, eliminating stress and improving your circulation on a de-stress spa holiday, and it also encourages your body’s natural healing process. You’ll end your session feeling both physically and mentally renewed.

Try Shiatsu Massage at Paradis Plage in Morocco

Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu massage

Watsu Massage

A unique type of massage, Watsu takes place in warm water and combines dance, stretching, joint mobilisation and elements of massage and shiatsu. The therapist continuously supports you, whilst you float and are stretched, cradled and rocked. This combination of warm water and massage therapy creates deep relaxation and can have healing benefits on the body, as the muscles are freer and can release more tension than on land.

Try Watsu massage at Marbella Club in Spain

Hot Stone Massage

This type of therapy involves smooth, heated stones of different shapes and sizes, either placed on various muscles or used an as extension of the therapist’s hands to massage the body. Hot stone massages can vary in their style but usually the therapist warms up your body with traditional massage techniques, and then uses the hot stones to aid the massage. The heat is deeply relaxing and allows the therapist to work on muscle tension at the deepest level. This therapy helps to improve circulation, relieve any aches and pains and reduce stress and anxiety and can be found as part of a scheduled wellness programme on a detox holiday.

Try Hot Stone Massage at Zighy Bay in Oman

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

If you’re looking for some extra help to reach your weight loss goals, improve your circulation, treat water retention or reduce any aches and pains, a lymphatic drainage massage may be just what you need. It’s a gentle massage which focuses on stimulating the body’s lymphatic system, encouraging the body to eliminate any toxins and waste. A common treatment on a weight loss holiday; you’ll feel light pumping motions as the therapist massages your lymph nodes to encourage drainage, leaving you feeling revitalised.

Try Lymphatic Drainage Massage at SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain

Hot stone massage
Watsu massage

Hot stone massage (left) Watsu massage (right)

Four Hand Massage

One of the therapies more easy to understand from its name, a four hand massage is carried out by two therapists who work fluidly from head to toe in harmony to squeeze and stretch all the tension out of your body. In general, they’ll mirror each other, with one therapist taking the lead whilst the other follows. Using long sweeping strokes, deep kneading and assisted stretching, they’ll leave you feeling completely relaxed.  It’s an experience that targets your mind, body and spirit, and can encourage healing, improve circulation and relieve pain.

Try Four Hand Massage at The BodyHoliday in St Lucia

So, now you know a bit more about what each type of massage therapy and body treatment entails, why not try one them at either a destination spa, medical spa or an Ayurvedic spa on one of our luxury spa breaks? To discover more about all the different therapies and treatments on our spa holidays have a look at our health and wellness glossary.


Talk to one of our Travel Specialists on 0203 397 8891 or contact us here to discuss tailor-making your perfect spa holiday.

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