Getting a massage is one of the most relaxing, healing things that you can do for yourself. It’s becoming more and more common to add massage as a therapy, in both physical and mental health. Sometimes there will only be one type of massage offered or available, but when there are choices, you may not be sure which one is right for your needs. We’re going to take a look at two of the most prevalent ones, and at least one of these will be offered at nearly every massage clinic you look at. These are Deep Tissue massage and Firm Pressure massage.
Deep tissue is a very popular option, especially among those with a regular exercise program or a physical job, or for those with a more dense muscle structure. This type of massage uses deep, hard pressure to knead out specific muscle groups that are holding tension; it’s not uncommon for knuckles and elbows to be used in addition to palms and fingers. This trapped tension can easily happen from poor sitting habits, extensive muscle use, injuries, and stress. (And you’d be surprised how much of that stress is in our butts.) Deep tissue massage can help realign the structure of your muscles and joints to improve posture, and can improve your range of motion. This is a very individualized therapy, and your therapist will adjust your massage based on your exact needs. Deep tissue massage can be intense, and for some people it is too painful, and you should mention any discomfort when you are being massaged.
Firm pressure massage, also called Swedish massage, has a different goal. This type of massage aims to create relaxation and increase blood flow to the skin and muscles. It’s also great for releasing tension in a more general way. In firm pressure massages, the therapist uses longer strokes along with percussive movements to relieve pain in the muscles. Muscles can be kneaded and squeezed, but not in the same focused, specific way of deep tissue. This is the basis of most massage in use today, and it’s one of the most requested because of how effective it is for relaxation. It’s most loved by those who have high-stress careers, or those who sit or stand for extended periods of time. This is also a great tool to add when healing from an injury or surgery. This is the type that is most common in spas and retreats, since the aim is ultimately relaxation.
These are both great options, and will do wonders for your body. Your choice will depend on your specific needs at the time. Don’t hesitate to have a conversation with the therapist who will be doing your massage to iron out any questions you may have, and to ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for.