Which is right for me?
Are you confused about what type of massage would be most beneficial for you? Have you heard the terms Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, or sports massage, and aren’t sure of the differences?
First of all, it is important to remember that therapeutic massage is more of a blanket term, as all massage treatments are therapeutic. Most massage therapists will use techniques from different modalities to accomplish a therapeutic effect. These treatments normally combine the use of Swedish, Deep Tissue, and/or Sports massage.
However, in most cases, a “relaxation” massage is known as a “Swedish” massage, and a “deep tissue” massage is known as a “therapeutic” massage.
Swedish massage and relaxation massage usually incorporate long sweeping strokes in addition to kneading or compression techniques, and are often used on the entire body (back, legs, arms, and neck). This type of treatment is designed to relax muscles and provide benefits for all systems in the body. Relaxation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (the system that slows your heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and aids in tissue repair). Swedish massage also increases the oxygen flow in the blood, and aids the lymphatic system in getting rid of cellular waste products. This treatment is beneficial in times of stress, and to help achieve overall health and well-being.
Deep tissue massage is used to focus on deeper layers of muscle tissue. Deep tissue techniques include trigger point therapy (releasing hyperirritable spots in taut bands of muscle fibres), breaking up scar tissue from previous injuries, and myofascial release (loosening restrictions in connective tissue). This type of treatment will feel deeper and you may feel some discomfort during the massage and/or the day after receiving the massage. If performed correctly, you will feel an increase in range of motion and relief in pain after a couple days. This treatment is beneficial for those dealing with chronic pain or for a specific injury. Sports massage is a specific type of deep tissue treatment to enhance sports performance or to treat sports injuries.
Which is right for you? During a deep tissue massage, you will most likely feel “good pain”, but massage therapists are trained to apply the correct amount of pressure. You also always have the right to ask for less pressure at any time. You may find you are in need of a deep tissue massage on a regular basis, but would like to ask for a relaxation massage during a stressful time. Or you may prefer relaxation massage, but need a deeper treatment after an injury or overworking your muscles. Both types of massage can also be incorporated into the same treatment.
Remember, you are always in control of your treatment! Please communicate with your massage therapist so you can receive the treatment you are comfortable with.