Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage in the United States. It involves the use of hands, forearms or elbows to manipulate the superficial layers of the muscles to improve mental and physical health. Active or passive movement of the joints may also be part of the massage. The benefits of Swedish massage include increased blood circulation, mental and physical relaxation , decreased stress and muscle tension, and improved range of motion.
Sports massage was developed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training. However, contrary to what the name suggests, you don't have to be an athlete to benefit from sports massage. Sports massage emphasizes prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons and can be beneficial for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion.
A practitioner who practices reflexology in conjunction with other modalities will generally be required to hold state licensing. If one practices only reflexology, this may or may not be a mandate. Licensing policies vary; many states exempt professionals who practice only on the hands, feet, and outer ears from licensure as massage therapists. However, reflexologists may be required to have some type of credential. Washington State, for example, recently enacted a law requiring reflexologists to be state certified (http://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/ProfessionsNewReneworUpdate/Reflexologist).