There are a number of different types of massage therapy, each playing an essential role in someone’s healing. If you have never gotten a massage before or you are experiencing a type of pain or problem that is new, you may struggle to determine what kind of massage is best for you. In any case, your massage therapist can help you determine the best type of therapy to suit your needs, but we want to share with you some of the more distinct differences between types of massage so that you have the background knowledge you need.
Difference Between Types of Massage
What Are The Most Common Types Of Massage?
Before we get into the difference between types of massage, we want to go over what the most common types of massage therapy are so you know what to expect when you schedule your appointment. There are four key types of massage that you will find at most spas or offices. These include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Cranial-Sacral, and Neuromuscular Therapy. Those are, by no means, the only types of massage. You’ve likely heard of shiatsu, which is often performed in a chair and, if you are a mom, you’re probably familiar with prenatal massage. You’ll also find therapies that utilize essential oils, hot stones, and other tools of the trade. For the purposes of distinguishing the difference between types of massage that anyone can receive at most locations, we are only going to discuss these four, most common modalities.
Swedish massage is widely recognized because of the highly flexible implementation of pressure and speed. Most massage therapists recommend starting with a Swedish massage when you’ve not had one before. Not only does this modality allow your therapist to assess your treatment needs but a Swedish massage also allows you to get a feel for what you like or don’t like.
This technique is most commonly performed using a mix of fingers, knuckles, and palms to relieve superficial tension. Different strokes promote blood flow to the soft tissue of the body. Swedish massage is a great technique for those looking to relieve stress or anxiety, reduce joint or muscle pain, and prevent insomnia. This technique is best known for promoting relaxation.
Deep Tissue Massage
Next up in our discussion of the difference between types of massage is deep tissue. Deep tissue massage is commonly misunderstood. It is not an extra-deep, Swedish massage. Deep tissue is a specialized technique that builds upon itself to prepare superficial muscles for deeper strokes. These movements help to break up ischemic tissue, scar tissue, and adhesions in the connective tissue. The increasing pressure through strategic movements “strips” the deepest layers of tissue and it is this that characterizes a deep tissue massage as a different technique from other massage modalities.
Deep tissue massage is ideal for patients with chronic pain and muscle tension. Additionally, it can be a beneficial therapy for those suffering from limited mobility, injury, repetitive strain, fibromyalgia, and sciatica.
Craniosacral stands out when discussing the difference between types of massage. This is a very gentle technique that is focused on the central nervous system, rather than soft tissue throughout the body. The technique manipulates the cerebrospinal fluid to suspend rhythmic impulses and relax the CNS.
Craniosacral massage is especially beneficial for patients who have experienced trauma and may be suffering or recovering from PTSD, concussion, traumatic brain injury, migraines, spinal cord issues, and much more.
Neuromuscular massage has unique characteristics, leading to the alternative name “trigger point therapy.” This modality considers the neuromuscular system and how it connects to the rest of the body. This is highly focused work that works to isolate and relieve problem areas in the body. One key factor that denotes the difference between this type of massage and others is the fact that it is not a traditional, relaxing massage. You may find the neuromuscular massage is slightly uncomfortable and leaves you feeling sore, albeit relieved.
Neuromuscular massage is ideal for patients who suffer from ischemia, myofascial trigger points, neural entrapment, and nerve compression. When there is not enough blood flow in the soft tissue, the muscle can spasm and cause pain. Neuromuscular massage works to combat that and increase blood flow.
Knowing The Difference Between Types Of Massage
When you know the difference between types of massage and what symptoms each can best treat, you can make the best decision for your body. All types of massage play a unique role in your physical health and can be used in conjunction to relieve pain and help you feel your best.
To schedule a Swedish, Deep Tissue, Craniosacral, or Neuromuscular massage, book an appointment online.