Relaxation vs. Deep Tissue Massage

What exactly is a Relaxation Massage?

Relaxation Massage may also be called Swedish Massage or Swedish Relaxation Massage. This is the type of massage that’s most popular in movies, TV shows, and printed advertisements. When people think of a massage, they think of the pampering, lighter touch massage that’s given at spas, health clubs, resorts, and on cruise ships and Relaxation Massage fits perfectly into those settings. It’s commonly the type of massage that someone will have as their first massage.

Proper technique is taught at ABM College
Proper technique is taught at ABM College

Relaxation Massage is beneficial for relieving everyday stress, loosening any general tension in the muscles, and giving an overall feeling of well-being. To be considered relaxing, this type of massage is not intended to work on many conditions that people have, such as chronic neck pain, back pain, wrist pain from keyboard overuse, old injuries from sports or automobile accidents, limited range of motion in the neck, arms, or legs, etc. These conditions are typically caused by tension that is buried deep within the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia).

Depending upon the condition that you have, a Relaxation Massage may not give you the long-term relief that you’re looking for. If the tension that’s causing the problem is deeper into your tissue or it requires therapeutic techniques and a more firm pressure to release that tension, you would most likely need a Deep Tissue/Therapeutic Massage.

What exactly is a Deep Tissue/Therapeutic Massage?

Deep Tissue Massage is also known as Therapeutic Massage. This type of massage uses special techniques that are not used in a Relaxation Massage session. In order to release the tightness in the soft tissue, the massage therapist needs to work deeper into the tissue and will use whichever therapeutic technique is most effective for the condition. In working deeper into the tissues, it requires a more firm pressure and an expected level of discomfort.

Proper Technique is Taught Pressure

Throughout a Therapeutic Massage session, the massage therapist must “check in” with the patient on the amount of pressure being used so that only as much pressure as is needed in each area is used. Therapeutic Massage does not need to cause intolerable or excruciating pain to get results.

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. The pressure will generally be more intense than a relaxation massage. It is also a more focused type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots (also known as “adhesions.”)

Will A Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?

It shouldn’t hurt, but it’s likely to be a bit more uncomfortable than a regular relaxation massage. You should always feel free to speak up if the pressure is too much for you.Finger Relaxation Massage

It’s important to drink a lot of water after a deep tissue massage to help flush lactic acid out of the tissues. If you don’t, you might be sore the next day.

It’s possible that you might feel some soreness the day after a deep tissue massage even if you DO drink water. This just means a lot of waste products were flushed out of the tissues. It should pass within a day or so.

How Fast Will I Get Results With A Deep Tissue Massage?

It’s important to be realistic about what one deep tissue massage can achieve. Many people ask for more pressure, thinking that if the therapist just pushes hard enough, they can get rid of all their knots in an hour. This just won’t happen.

Finally, while deep tissue is certainly valuable, you should be aware that gentle styles of massage can also produce profound release and realignment in the body.

Finger Relaxation Massage
Massage Therapy instructor going over proper techniques with students at ABM College

Relaxation and deep tissue massage are taught in great detail in ABM College’s Massage Therapy program! ABM College offers small class sizes so the students have more one on one time with instructors, which is important in Massage Therapy. ABM College has qualified Massage Therapy instructors that ensure there is more hands on practice than book theory. Interested? Enroll today!

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