Swedish, Deep Tissue or Sports: What’s the Best Massage For Me?
You’ve booked your first massage and are excited to melt into the massage table. As you anticipate the arrival of your therapist, you ask yourself “What is the best massage for me?”
The answer to this question isn’t always clear cut.
Massage is like a dessert menu – do you prefer chocolate, vanilla, cake or ice cream? Some have a definite preference, while some indulge it all! Much like a waiter, your massage therapist is always there to help you with your menu selection.
“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax” – Mark Black
Swedish, or relaxation massage, is the most recognized massage type. Founded by Dutch doctor Johann Georg Mezger. Swedish massage consists of five fundamental techniques.
Effleurage – Long, gliding strokes
Petrissage – Kneading of the muscles
Friction – Firm, circular rubbing motions
Tapotement – Tapping or percussive movements
Vibration – Shaking particular muscles
When requesting Swedish massage, you can expect a gentler massage that incorporates long, fluid strokes. The aim is to relieve muscular tension, increase circulation, enhance relaxation, and help induce a night of more sound sleep.
Deep Tissue Massage
“Anyone wishing to study medicine must master the art of massage” – Hippocrates
Deep tissue, or therapeutic massage, is used to address deeper muscular layers and fascia. This type of massage aims to realign scar tissue and break up fascial adhesions (the knots). A deep tissue massage will also improve healing time from an injury by helping to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, improve mobility and reduced pain.
Deep tissue massage techniques are generally slower, and the pressure used is deeper. While it is not uncommon to experience a sensation of “hurts so good” while receiving a deep tissue massage, it should never be painful. In fact, if you ever experience pain of any sort, the therapist should be informed immediately.
If you experience any of the following, a deep tissue massage may be a perfect fit for you: low back pain, chronic headaches, symptoms associated with arthritis, chronic pain, stiff/sore muscles, scar tissue.
Massage is the answer…Who cares what the question is! – Unknown
Let’s face it . . . life is a sport!
Whether you are a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or desk jockey . . . a sports massage may be the perfect fit for you.
Sports massage combines elements of Swedish and Deep Tissue massage. However, this modality is often tailored to a specific region of the body or lifestyle activity.
– A weekend warrior may run 3-miles one or two days a week; and may require massage specific to the leg, ankle, and foot.
– A professional tennis player may require lower bodywork, with additional time spent on the hip, shoulder, and arms.
– Someone with a desk job, who sits at a computer all day, may require more emphasis on the neck, upper back, and hands.
Also, a massage therapist specializing in sports massage will take an athlete’s training schedule into account. The treatment will differ depending on whether the athlete is pre-season, in-season or post-season; as well as pre/post-event.
Sports massage may include many of the techniques associated with Swedish and deep tissue massage. However, other techniques such as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), Myofascial Techniques, Active Release Techniques®, and Trigger Point Therapy may be included.
Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS
Compliment Your Body, LLC
1441 Broadway #6087
New York, NY. 10018
At Compliment Your Body, LLC, our therapists are qualified to perform techniques associated with all three aforementioned massage modalities. If you are unsure what type of massage is right for you, simply discuss this with your therapist and they will find a combination tailored JUST FOR YOU!
Compliment Your Body LLC has been providing in-home and corporate/event chair massage for New York City since 2004. You are safe in our hands!
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