based: Koh Samui, Thailand
A stunning, Moroccan-inspired wellness resort for those seeking a journey back to balance, rejuvenation and a healthy lifestyle. Awarded "Best Value for Weight loss" by Conde Naste Traveller (2014), they offer a wide range of programs to help cleanse, recharge and revitalize; including detox, spa, yoga, fitness, pilates, reformer bootcamp, weight management and anti-stress programs.
| spa | yoga | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | massage | meditation | weight loss | detoxification | Thailand |
based: East Sussex, UK
Offering yoga retreats and holidays in the UK and overseas, AdventureYogi specialises in holidays that combine yoga with adventure activities like surfing, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, snowboarding and skiing; or in retreats to simply relax and restore. Stay somewhere special, feel energised by yoga, relaxed by massage and invigorated by delicious vitality foods.
| retreats | yoga | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | massage | detoxification | diving/snorkelling | surfing | walk/trek/hike | ski/snowboard | mountain biking | UK | Worldwide |
Azul Yoga & Pilates
based: Fuerteventura, Spain
Rejuvenate at a beautiful villa retreat on the sunny island of Fuerteventura. Enjoy small class sizes, excellent instruction, delicious food and holistic therapies. Experience hatha yoga, vinyasa flow, yoga nidra, meditation, Pilates and tai chi. Add a surf course for extra exhilaration.
| pilates | yoga | retreats | massage | meditation | detoxification | ayurveda | nutrition | surfing | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | tai chi | Spain |
Bristol College of Massage & Bodywork
based: Bristol, UK
Fun, introductory massage workshop weekends in Worcester and Bristol. Suitable for beginners and anyone considering professional training. Techniques include self-massage, partner work (including back, shoulders, arms, legs and face), touch styles and effective body use. Advanced workshops also available.
| massage | England |
Cala d'Or Yoga
based: Cala d'Or, Majorca, Spain
Practice yoga by the beach on the stunning East coast of Majorca, in luxury 4-star accommodation. Arrive any day you like for a short break, week or longer stay. Dynamic hatha classes. Beginners welcome. Lots of other activities available, relaxed social vibe.
| yoga | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | multi activity | spa | massage | Spain |
based: Bristol, UK
Infant and baby massage training at locations across the UK, including a 4-day intensive baby and infant massage course that includes practical work and covers all aspects. The course is accredited by IAIM, the International Association of Infant Massage.
| massage | UK |
based: Mlini, nr Dubrovnik, Croatia
Practice yoga by the beach on the fascinating coast of Croatia near Dubrovnik, in luxury 4-star accommodation. Arrive any day you like for a short break, week or longer stay. Dynamic hatha classes. Beginners welcome. Lots of other activities available, relaxed social vibe.
| yoga | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | multi activity | spa | massage | Croatia |
based: Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy
Practice yoga by the beach on the beautiful north east coast of Sardinia, in luxury 4-star accommodation. Arrive any day you like for a short break, week or longer stay. Choose from vinyasa flow or gentle hatha classes. Beginners welcome. Lots of other activities available, relaxed social vibe.
| yoga | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | multi activity | spa | massage | Italy |
based: Casperia & Sperlonga, Italy | Costa Rica
Yoga holidays and yoga and wellness retreats, with daily yoga classes, meditation, Ayurvedic and holistic treatments, and a wide range of daily optional activities to choose from, in stunningly unspoiled and beautiful locations – in Italy, in the hilltop village of Casperia or beachside Sperlonga – and in Costa Rica.
| yoga | retreats | massage | acupuncture/acupressure | ethical/ecotourism | aromatherapy | Italy | Costa Rica |
Wickwoods Country Club, Hotel & Spa
based: West Sussex, UK
Set among beautiful landscaped woodland in Sussex, Wickwoods Country Club, Hotel and Spa offers a variety of services including beauty treatments, accommodation, weddings, functions and much more. There is a comprehensive range of facilities for guests to enjoy, including an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gym and multiple tennis courts.
| spa | massage | tennis | romantic | wedding/honeymoon | valentine | England |
Short courses in Reiki and the unique Altai Massage™ based on shamanic wisdom, in the heart of Central Asia.
| massage | reiki | Asia |
This category lists holidays and retreats where massage is the main focus or a strong component, as well as residential multi-day courses to learn massage at a recreational level for personal use; this will include baby, child and couples massage courses. Massage types and treatments offered might include: beauty, classic or Swedish, aromatherapy, hot stone, deep tissue, Thai, Ayurvedic, rolfing, reflexology, sports and Indian head massages.
Finding the right massage holiday
Massage as a stand-alone retreat or holiday is not common but you will find many health and wellbeing breaks offering massage as an option, often with several different types of massage on offer; these will usually be mixed amongst many other therapies. Take a look at our full health/wellbeing index for this type of retreat; in particular we recommend you check out the spa sections.
Massage can be described as the manipulation of soft tissues to achieve a positive effect on both body and mind. Man has been using massage techniques for centuries and over that time a myriad of styles has developed, to help you choose the one that's right for your holiday or retreat we've listed the most popular types you'll come across on this sort of break.
Beauty & relaxation – Generally a relaxing and enjoyable experience, using a fairly light touch, which will make no claims for any therapeutic effects. This is the style you will frequently encounter on a Western-style spa retreat along with a host of other treatments and therapies. A good spa will also offer some of the other, more rigorous, styles (often for an additional fee).
Swedish, classic style & therapeutic – In the West Swedish massage is the most well-known style, it was developed by a Swedish physiologist. Using light to medium pressure to apply kneading and gliding strokes over the entire body, this very relaxing technique helps relieve stress, ease muscle tension, reduce pain and boost the mood.
Sports & deep tissue – A deep and more intense therapeutic massage that's ideal for athletes, but which can benefit anyone. It's based on the Swedish style, usually with the addition of other techniques such as the use of compression, stretching and friction. For athletes the massage should be targeted to the particular sport and their individual needs. Because it's a more intense style it's important you look for recognised qualifications from a deep tissue or sports masseur.
Hot stone – Hot stone massage is an extension of the basic beauty/relaxation style and is now exceedingly popular in spa retreats. It combines massage with the use of warmed stones placed on the body (often on acupressure points) to increase relaxation, allowing the masseur to work more deeply.
Indian head massage – This is a traditional soft tissue style that has been practiced in India for hundreds of years. Originally used just on the head and hair, these days it now also includes neck, shoulders, upper back and arms. It can be practiced clothed and without using oils.
Thai massage – An intense style that combines elements of shiatsu, Swedish massage and yoga. A Thai massage therapist will manipulate the body into a sequence of postures by applying gentle pressure and passive stretching techniques. It's an energizing treatment that improves flexibility, reduces stress and pain, and promotes general wellbeing.
Reflexology – Less commonly available, reflexology is an ancient Chinese therapy which uses pressure applied to reflex zones in the feet and hands. It helps relieve stress and promotes relaxation. It's alleged to stimulate the activity of internal organs and promote overall health based on the idea that the body meridians are reflected in the feet.
Ayurvedic – Originating in India, this aims to open up the body's imbalanced or blocked energy channels or chakras. Ayurvedic massage uses herbs and essential oils chosen to suit a persons particular dosha (mind and body type). Techniques used include kneading, tapping and squeezing as well as traditional massage strokes.
Aromatherapy massage – Aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from flowers, trees and plants for their therapeutic effect. Massage is just one way of using the extracts, we have a separate section for retreats and holidays focusing on Aromatherapy treatments in general here.
Reiki – A gentle therapy working with the body's energy centres or chakras. We have a separate section for Reiki here.