Do you know what kind(s) of Massage you are getting?

Relaxation or Therapeutic?
Deep Pressure or Deep Tissue?
Reflexology, the same as a foot massage?

Even more importantly, do you know why?

To Relax?
To provide relief of achy muscles?
To reduce swelling and inflammation?
All of the above. . . ???

Let Us Explain

Those familiar to Massage Therapy may also be familiar with all the massage modalities (types of massage) that they have received, or that has been offered to them. But even the most frequent of clients may not understand all of the terms and techniques used, or they may confuse one type with another.

Additionally, a client, especially if new to massage, or if offered totally different styles of massage in the past, may not understand what exactly it is they are asking for when they request a specific type of massage. They may not understand why the massage they requested did not meet their expectations, of they may not understand why a Licensed Massage Therapist suggests a different approach to meet their goals.

Below, we attempt to explain to you about some of the most popular Massage Types, and many of the other services we offer.

Relaxation VS Therapeutic Massage

“Swedish” Massage is just a fancy name for a Relaxation Massage; it may also be referred to as a “Classic Massage.” Swedish Massage is the most common and most popular type of massage requested and provided in Massage Therapy. Generally, when you go to a spa or a resort you receive some form or variation of a Swedish Massage. If you are new to massage, if it has been a long time since you last received a massage, or if you are experiencing a lot of stress or tension, Swedish Massage is the way to go. Swedish MAssage may also be beneficial in treating chronic pain clients, especially when combined with a CBD Massage, or with other therapeutic Massage Types.

Therapeutic Massage is just as it sounds: A Therapeutic Approach to Massage. When you are having discomfort, tightness, restriction of movement, or other issues in the muscles, Therapeutic Massage assists in providing relief. There are many applications a Massage Therapist may utilize to assist you, most often combining several techniques into one session for the best possible outcomes.

Deep Tissue VS Deep Pressure?

Do you know the difference between the two? Do you know which you need or prefer? Most people, sometimes even Massage Therapists, use the two terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing!

Deep PRESSURE is just what it sounds like: Firm, deep pressure applied during a massage stroke or technique. It is literally just about pushing harder during application of the technique. This is why not all therapists can provide the same deep pressure, and why, at times, the same massage therapist can not provide the same pressure in one area as they can in another, even without the same session! Things that may affect a Massage Therapists pressure, or how you perceive their pressure, may include things such as their strength, their table height, what area they are working on, and /or how tight or tense your muscles are when you come in. You may also feel a difference depending on whether or not an LMT is using a lotion, as well as the speed at which they are applying a technique.

Deep TISSUE Massage is less about pressure (though deep pressure may be used), and more about accessing a specific muscle or area deeply to get to less superficial layers. Sometimes a slower, gentler approach is the best way to get to these deeper layers without causing an unnecessary increase in tension, tightness, discomfort, or stress. An Example of Deep Tissue Massage may be when a provider works their way under your shoulder blade to relieve a frozen shoulder, or when stripping techniques are used to break up scar tissue. Deep Tissue Massage can be painful or uncomfortable at times, but it should not be unbearable. If it does at any point, you should speak up right away so that your provider can try a different technique or approach. 

The massage you receive does not have to be Deep Tissue to use Deep Pressure. Nor does a Deep Tissue Massage have to use Deep Pressure.

Other Complimentary Services to Massage Explained

Reflexology or Foot Rub?

Reflexology is not the same as foot massage, and is more closely aligned to accupressure than to a foot rub. A trained Massage Therapist works with specific zones and meridians of energy, as well as specific points in the feet or hands, to detect any blockages in the body. While some find that Reflexology relieves achy feet, or that it is relaxing, Reflexology is not the same thing as a foot massage.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage – Also NOT a Massage

While Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is Not considered a massage, it may, in some individuals, provide similar effects to massage, such as decreased pain or an increase in relaxation. However, the main purpose(s) of MLD is to work with the immune system to detoxify, relieve or reduce swelling and inflammation, and/or to reduce the discomforts associated with chronic pain conditions.

Other Services we offer include Paraffin Hand Dip, and Heated Stone Application.

While these complementary services to massage are NOT considered Massage Modalities in and of themselves, many Massage Therapists are knowledgeable, trained, and competent in providing these services under their scope of practice. They are considered complementary services to massage as they provide similar outcomes to massage, or results that enhance or prolong the effects of massage.

Your massage therapist should communicate well about the Massage Therapy types and/or the approach they recommend or utilize with you, as well as any additional services they recommend, and why. And if YOU are unclear about any approach, or have questions about the massage types or services we offer, you should feel free to ask and open up that discussion with your provider.

We are more than happy to help!

2 thoughts on “Do you know what kind(s) of Massage you are getting?

  1. Joseph Chan says:

    Great blog! Sometimes (often times) clients come in with not a clue on what they want. They just know they are tired, want some peace and quiet to themselves and know certain parts of their body aches. Generally, the Swedish massage is a great option for them, thou there are times that a properly recommended sports, deep tissue or even reflexology will really get to the core of their pain and they will be loyal clients for life. Listen to your therapists!

    Liked by 1 person

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