Swedish, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular Therapy… How would you know which one to choose? As you've probably noted, massage places offer lots of different modalities bearing different and attractive names. So, which one among these different massages would suit you better?
There are in fact over 350 different massage and bodywork modalities all treating different needs and providing many benefits but how to keep track of them all?
Let me try to make it simpler for you, there are in fact two kinds of massage: relaxation massage and therapeutic massage, both will make use of a combination of different techniques to suit each client on each visit. Both relaxation and therapeutic massage offer a myriad of benefits, and both are very effective, but they have a very different approach. The main difference is the focus.
In relaxation massage the goal is directed to the satisfaction of the client, the session will be relaxing, nurturing, calming the body and the mind. The environment will be all set up for sheer relaxation with attention to details such as music, table warmers, aromatherapy, soft and luxury linens. The therapist will apply techniques involving gentle pressure, smoothly manipulating the muscle tissue with long, relaxing and rhythmic strokes. This soft rubbing and kneading of the soft tissue will promote complete relaxation and dramatically reduce stress by lowering levels of insulin and cortisol. It will also improve blood circulation leading to lower blood pressure and improved body functions.
In therapeutic massage, the goal will focus on functional results of a
specific condition and the treatment will include a customized plan to target the client’s specific problem and will treat only the group of muscles connected to that area instead of the whole body. Based on evidence-based reasons, the therapist will apply one modality over another, one stroke over another, higher or lower level of pressure. Clients are assessed through a complete a questionnaire about medical history and goals will be discussed during an interview. Treatment will many times be performed in a private room whose set up may look more like a doctor’s office than a relaxing spa and client satisfaction is often not assessed until a determined number of treatments are completed.
In fact, there is no better massage therapy just because at the end all professional massage and bodywork have therapeutic value. One should not be denigrating as lesser than the other.
I would classify my treatments as a mixture of relaxing and therapeutic massage and I think that’s exactly what it is. I strongly believe in the benefits of both relaxing and therapeutic massage and I do alternate between both treatments depending on the client’s needs. After all, one can’t relax when feeling in pain, and one will certainly feel pain if muscles are constantly tense.
But the question still persists: what kind of massage should I have? Well the answer is communicate with your professional massage therapist. Tell him or her all about your health condition, life style, muscle tension, painful spots, and your goals. Your therapist will certainly know what modality will suit better for each case, and you won't have to be troubled about names as DTT, TPT, PNF, just lay on the table, relax, and enjoy the wonderful results that a good massage session provides.