Which Type of Massage is Right for Me?

Which Type of Massage is Right for Me?

Are you confused about which type of massage you should get?  Is one massage modality more appropriate for your body today than another day?  Is there a difference between Therapeutic, Sports and Deep Tissue massages?  Do you feel like you should be the one to decide what type of massage is right for you, but you’re confused about the differences between the various modalities?  You are not alone.  As a result of this confusion, Swedish massage is the most often requested massage, but, at least in my practice, is not the most often performed.     

Rather than describe the various modalities themselves, let’s approach this issue from a different perspective, taking into account your symptoms first: 

You are so tense that your back feels like concrete

Recommendations:  Palliative Massage, Reiki or Reflexology.  Why?  When a person is so stressed out that the muscles have become stiff and unbending, trying to pound the muscles into submission just doesn’t work and may hurt, because you’re adding to the tension.  Relax the mind, relieve the tension, calm the nervous system and the muscles will follow.  The time to address chronic patterns of tension in the muscles is after you’ve achieved a deep state of relaxation. 

You play sports, but don’t cross-train and have specific trouble spots

Recommendations:  Deep Tissue or Sports Massage.  Why?  Because you don’t cross-train you probably have chronic patterns of tension in areas of your body.  Deep tissue can release that chronic tension, while Sports Massage can retrain your muscles to reduce the likelihood of redeveloping those areas of chronic tension. 

You work out religiously, but aren’t as good about stretching

Recommendations:  Sports Massage.  Why?  Sports Massage identifies and addresses problem areas before they develop into injuries, increases range of motion, increases/restores suppleness and elasticity, frees muscle adhesions.  It also increases body awareness so you may be moved to add stretching to your routine. 

You work at a computer all day and your shoulders, neck and upper back are chronically sore

Recommendation:  Therapeutic or Swedish massage.  Why?  Therapeutic massage borrows from various massage modalities to correct problem areas, at the same time, you need relief from the stress of your job.  Your choice of Swedish vs. Therapeutic will depend on the size of the boulders in your shoulder girdle, your overall posture, your sensitivity and various other factors. There are many, many different modalities of massage, Luminesce offers the following:

Deep Tissue Massage is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the fiber's of the muscles, tendons and fascia, to "unstick" the fibers of a muscle while releasing deeply-held patterns of tension, removing toxins, while relaxing and soothing the muscle. It is both corrective and therapeutic.

Deep tissue massage is used to release chronic muscle tension through slower strokes and more direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles not with the grain. Deep tissue massage helps to break up and eliminate scar tissue. Deep tissue massage usually focuses on more specific areas and may cause some soreness during or right after the massage. However, if the massage is done correctly you should feel better than ever within a day or two.  

Swedish Massage refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.

The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable. Swedish Massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management. It also has many specific medical uses.

Swedish massage feels good, is relaxing and invigorating. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, while promoting health and well being.

Sports Massage is a special form of massage and is typically used before, during, and after athletic events. The purpose of the massage is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries.

The main purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Sports massage helps prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries. Sports massage can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether a person is an athlete or a once a week jogger.

Sports massage has many benefits. In addition to FEELING GOOD, it reduces the heart rate and blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, reduces muscle tension, improves flexibility, and relieves pain.  Sports Massage can also include maintenance techniques that promote greater athletic endurance and performance, lessen chances of injury and reduce recovery time. 

Therapeutic Massage is a sort of blanket term—all massage is therapeutic; however, this term generally refers more specifically to a form of massage that borrows techniques from other modalities to accomplish it’s therapeutic goal.  Very often, the practitioner will borrow from Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports, and even incorporate the use of energywork to correct biostructural imbalances. 

Reiki practitioners channel energy in a particular pattern to heal and harmonize. Unlike other healing therapies based on the premise of a human energy field, Reiki seeks to restore order to the body whose vital energy has become unbalanced.Reiki energy has several basic effects: it brings about deep relaxation, destroys energy blockages, detoxifies the system, provides new vitality in the form of healing universal life energy, and increases the vibrational frequency of the body.Those who use Reiki regularly often find they are more joyful, lively and their own in-built energy is enhanced-almost as if their batteries had been fully charged! Existing conflicts within the person are broken down and there is a greater vitality, leading to relaxation and a stimulation of the body. As this improvement develops, the natural processes of renewal and removal of toxins are enhanced and rendered more effective, ultimately opening up more of the body to the life energy.Body organs such as the skin, and protective systems such as the immune system are improved providing the individual is prepared regularly to undertake Reiki and in the first place to undergo an attunement or initiation into Reiki energy. The initiation is merely a means whereby the universal life energy is bestowed through the Reiki master. The master acts as a channel and a link with God to release the healing power. 

Reflexology is a gentle form of therapeutic treatment applied to the feet and sometimes to the hands. Reflexology is considered to be a holistic healing technique that aims to treat the individual as a whole, in order to induce a state of balance and harmony in body, mind and spirit.

Reflexology is based on the belief that there are reflex areas on the feet (and hands) corresponding to all the parts of the body including major organs.  The therapist stimulates and works these organs and systems through the reflexes areas on the feet, applying pressure to the feet with thumb and fingers. Pressure is applied to clear out congestion and restore normal functioning and health.

Reflexology has many benefits. It feels good. It is pleasant and soothing, and it relaxes the body. Each person responds to reflexology in a unique way and on occasions may experience a variety of short term reactions, for example, extreme relaxation, tiredness, lethargy or tearfulness. Reflexology is not a ‘cure-all’. However, it does help relieve pain associated with migraine, sinus problems, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems, back problems, tension and stress. 

The purpose of Palliative Massage is to give contact, comfort and relaxation to people with a terminal illness, a degenerating disease, the aches and pains of an aging body, or to de-stress the chronically stressed.  As with all massage, it can improve circulation, respiratory and digestive systems, promote healing, provide drainage of swollen limbs or help body functions that are no longer working as they should be. It smoothes muscular tensions, restores body tone and builds a supportive emotional atmosphere.  Cure is not a goal of palliative care but rather freedom from pain.   

Heated Stone Massage uses smooth heated cobble stones to induce deep relaxation.  The stones glide over the body or are placed at different points on the body; as the heat penetrates deep into the muscles, it soothes and melts away layers of tension and stress.  The heat has a calming effect on the nervous system and it helps to increase circulation of both blood and lymph systems. Heated Stone therapy has the potential to bring harmony, deep tissue release and alignment in the body, mind and spirit.  The spiritual nature of being treated with the help of earth elements offers another fabulous aspect of this wonderful treatment.   


Home  ·  About  ·  Contact Us
Copyright © Janet Lawlor, BCTMB