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 |
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 |
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 |
Dharma-Lotus – Ekayano
Sweda Tibetan massage workshop weekend on Ekayano retreat center, 3-days of giving massage and being massaged in Viel-Saint-Remy in the French Ardennes, with Dharma-Lotus, a Netherlands Buddhist organization. Sweda massage aims to balance physical, emotional and energetic bodies. This weekend teaches the basics of this massage technique.
| massage | France |
Raynor College of Massage & Natural Therapies
Combine learning with a relaxing holiday, retreat massage courses in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This 8-day course/retreat combines massage training (Raynor College Certificate and Diploma) with a holiday retreat at the Kaomai Lanna resort, set in 20 acres, 15 miles from Chiang Mai.
| massage | Thailand |
Tantric massage training for couples with courses based in Greece and Estonia, including: Tantra Massage – The Spiritual Art of Touch in Greece and Tantra Massage Therapist Advanced Training in Estonia.
| massage | yoga | Meditation | Greece | Estonia |
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 beach-side Sperlonga – and in Costa Rica.
| yoga | retreats | massage | acupuncture/acupressure | ethical/ecotourism | aromatherapy | Italy | Costa Rica |
Surya Lanka Ayurveda Beach Resort
based: Talalla, Sri Lanka
Surya Lanka Ayurveda Resort was one of the first Ayurveda Hotels in Sri Lanka to cater exclusively for Panchakarma Ayurveda guests. Surya Lanka specialises in Sri Lankan Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation, all in one of the most beautiful locations in Sri Lanka. It also conducts regular Ayurveda retreats and Yoga retreats.
| ayurveda | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | yoga | meditation | massage | weight loss | detoxification | spas | Sri Lanka |
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 |
Craig Dennis Massage
based: Paris, France
Weekend massage workshops on Ile de Re, on the Atlantic coast of France near La Rochelle. Discover how to enrich your life by giving and receiving massages.
| massage | France |
Synergy Massage Retreat
based: Powys, Wales, UK
Offering a relaxation massage retreat at the Cribyn Lodge Guest House in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
| massage | Wales |
Holidays and retreats where massage is the main focus or a strong component, as well as residential courses to learn massage at a recreational level for personal use; including baby, child and couples courses. Massage types 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'll find many health and wellbeing breaks offering massage, often with several different styles on offer and usually mixed with other therapies. Take a look at our full health/wellbeing index for this type of retreat; in particular we recommend checking 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.
Beauty & relaxation – A relaxing and enjoyable experience using light touch, with few claims for 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 offer some of the more rigorous styles too.
Swedish, classic style & therapeutic – The most well-known style in the West, developed by a Swedish physiologist. Using light to medium pressure to apply kneading and gliding strokes over the body, this very relaxing technique helps relieve stress, ease muscle tension, reduce pain and boost mood.
Sports & deep tissue – A deep, 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 like compression, stretching and friction. For athletes it should be targeted to the particular sport and individual needs. Because it's more intense it's important you look for recognised qualifications from the masseur.
Hot stone – An extension of the basic beauty/relaxation style and is now very 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 – A traditional soft tissue style that's been practiced in India for 100's of years. Originally used just on the head/hair, it now also includes neck, shoulders, upper back and arms. It can be practiced clothed and without using oils.
Thai massage – An intense style combining 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. It's an energizing treatment that improves flexibility, reduces stress and promotes general wellbeing.
Reflexology – 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 (chakras). Ayurvedic massage uses herbs and essential oils chosen to suit a persons particular dosha (mind/body type). Techniques used include kneading, tapping and squeezing as well as traditional massage strokes.
Aromatherapy massage – Using essential oils extracted from flowers, trees and plants for their therapeutic effect, massage is just one way of using these. We have a separate section for retreats and holidays focusing on general Aromatherapy treatments here.
Reiki – A gentle therapy working with the body's energy centres or chakras. We have a separate section for Reiki here.