Massage techniques

Massage is a practice of physical touch, including stroking, kneading, heating, rolling, pressing of skin and muscles used to relax, refresh, and heal the body. It is provided by trained, certified medical professionals and is helpful for the treatment of a wide range of mental and physical health disorders, including infertility. 

Find out about different types of massage and choose the most suitable. 

Types of massage 

Swedish massage 

Swedish massage is the most popular and classic type of massage. It provides a light touch and helps to be relaxing and melt the tension away. Swedish massage therapists use five primary techniques: stroking and gliding, kneading, rubbing, tapping or pounding, vibration. 

This method suggests a whole range of health advantages, including reducing muscular strain, improving blood circulation throughout the body, supplying ligaments and tendons with blood oxygen, decreasing emotional and physical stress, coping with back pain[1].  

Deep tissue massage

This technique provides more pressure than the previous one. It’s an excellent option for people with chronic muscle tension or injury, pain after a cesarean[2]. Deep tissue massage focuses on the deeper zones of muscles and connective tissue. It can help soften tight muscles, manage chronic muscle pain and anxiety. If pressure is concentrated in a specific area to relieve soreness from injury, it is called a trigger point massage.  

Hot stones massage 

Therapists use heated stones for this type of massage. They put them on different fields around the whole body. Your therapist will stroke various parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques with mild pressure. Cold stones can also be used. Hot stones massage mixes relaxing warmth and refreshing coolness to stimulate recovery.

Aromatherapy massage

The combination of aromatherapy and massage proposes an emotional healing component to the massage procedure. Aromatherapy practices warm essential oils massaged into your skin to activate the sense of smell and trigger the limbic system: the part of the brain linked with emotions. For example, some studies show that inhaling lavender and rosemary may decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol[3].  Aromatherapy can also be beneficial for coping with insomnia, less concentration, and tiredness. 


Reflexology involves applying soft to hard pressure on feet, hands, ears, and other body points connected to specific organs and systems. This technique can help boost immune response, manage pain, and improve well-being during fertility treatment. It was found that people undergoing heart surgery and who received reflexology therapy reported lower anxiety levels[4].

Fertility massage 

Fertility massage combines a few techniques. 

It can include abdomen deep tissue massage, incorporated in Mayan fertility massage, provided in areas around the uterus and ovaries. This method offers work on the ligaments holding the reproductive organs together. Mayan therapists believe that if these structures are aligned inappropriately, it may cause infertility. 

Reflexology techniques can also be adapted to fertility treatment. It predicts the use of pressure points around the feet, especially the inner and outer ankles, which correspond to the uterus, ovaries, and other reproductive organs. 

Women trying to conceive can also try self-fertility massage. Again, there is a lack of efficacy evidence, but it may help you feel relaxed and decrease stress levels, and it requires no additional costs. 

If you want to try a self-fertility massage, firstly empty your bladder and find the most comfortable place. Next, you can make deep, circular strokes around the stomach, along the rib cage, and above the hip bones, concentrating on reproductive organs. Next, place your palms on the naval area, one on the other. Slowly inhale and gently massage this area by a circular clockwise movement. Then put both your palms on each side of the abdomen below the ribs and massage in a downward position. Concentrate more on areas that feel tense and increase pressure. Finally, open your mouth and relax your jaws. This technique releases the tightness accumulated in the pelvis. Don’t practice this massage during your periods. 

Benefits for fertility 

Massage isn’t going to get you pregnant but may reduce some of the stress and anxiety that a woman experiences because of unsuccessful conceiving. The role of massage therapy in decreasing cortisol levels was proved in studies. In addition, massage therapy helps increase serotonin and dopamine levels, which stabilize your mood, make you feel happier, and improve your memory, concentration, and motivation[5].  In this way, massage promotes hormonal balance. 

This type of therapy improves blood circulation during massaging, increases blood flow, and brings oxygenated blood to the tissues[6].  It helps bring fresh, oxygenated blood to the ovaries, uterus and surrounding organs, improving egg health. It is essential for successful egg transfer in IVF and implantation of an embryo[7]. In addition, massaging movements rid the body of the old stagnant blood and remove natural cellular waste. 

Fertility massage helps break down scar tissue and adhesions after caesareans, hysterectomy, blocked fallopian tubes, pelvic issues, and abdominal surgeries, which are impairing blood circulation. 

Massage is also known to enhance the immune response by increasing the number of natural killers, which help to fight tumor cells and infections[8]

Finally, massage reduces inflammation in damaged muscles[9]  and promotes pain relief. 

Are there any risks?

Most types of massage are safe, but you should consult with a doctor if you have skin burns, open wounds, a history of thrombosis, or had surgery in the recent six months. Talk to your practitioner before the massage procedure you are trying to conceive; it helps build the right strategy. If a woman is already pregnant, she must avoid massage during the first trimester of pregnancy as it may trigger dizziness and even promote contractions. After the first three months of the gestational period, it is allowed to undergo the prenatal massage, adapted to the pregnant state. 

The most crucial thing is to make sure you see a licensed massage therapist.


  1. Barreto DM, Batista MVA. Swedish Massage: A Systematic Review of its Physical and Psychological Benefits. Adv Mind Body Med. 2017 Spring;31(2):16-20. 
  2. Esra Güney, Tuba Uçar. Effects of deep tissue massage on pain and comfort after cesarean: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Volume 43. 2021, 101320, ISSN 1744-3881. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101320.
  3. Atsumi T, Tonosaki K. Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva. Psychiatry Res. 2007 Feb 28;150(1):89-96. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2005.12.012.
  4. Masoumeh Bagheri-Nesami, Seyed Afshin Shorofi, Nahid Zargar, Maryam Sohrabi, Afshin Gholipour-Baradari, Alireza Khalilian. The effects of foot reflexology massage on anxiety in patients following coronary artery bypass graft surgery: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Volume 20, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 42-47, ISSN 1744-3881.
  5. Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413. doi: 10.1080/00207450590956459.
  6. Franklin NC, Ali MM, Robinson AT, Norkeviciute E, Phillips SA. Massage therapy restores peripheral vascular function after exertion. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jun;95(6):1127-34. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.02.007. 
  7. Okhowat J, Murtinger M, Schuff M, Wogatzky J, Spitzer D, Vanderzwalmen P, Wirleitner B, Zech NH. Massage therapy improves in vitro fertilization outcome in patients undergoing blastocyst transfer in a cryo-cycle. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015 Mar-Apr;21(2):16-22.
  8. Tiffany Field. Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: A review. Developmental Review. Volume 30, Issue 4. 2010. Pages 367-383, ISSN 0273-2297. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2011.01.001.
  9. Crane JD, Ogborn DI, Cupido C, Melov S, Hubbard A, Bourgeois JM, Tarnopolsky MA. Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Feb 1;4(119):119ra13. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882.