It may seem confusing to choose the best type of massage therapy given the number of different terms used by massage companies to market their services. A massage therapist uses different techniques to help you achieve the best results of a specific type of massage. Some of the common types of massage are deep tissue and relaxation massage. It is important to have an idea of what each type of massage offers to have the best experience in a massage room. This article looks at the primary differences between deep tissue massage and relaxation massage.
What is Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage that targets the deeper structures of the body muscles and fascia, which are commonly referred to as the connective tissues. The techniques used by a massage therapist may involve penetrate all the body muscles and stretch the fascia to release muscle tension, adhesions, and knots in the muscles. The amount of pressure used in deep tissue massage is always intense and may not be advisable for someone looking for a soothing and pleasant time in the massage room.
What is Relaxation Massage?
Relaxation massage is commonly known as Swedish massage. It is very stimulating to the skin and helps to reduce both physical and emotional stress in the body. Unlike deep tissue massage, relaxation massage uses very light pressure to ease tension in the muscles. It can also be paired with aromatherapy which helps to stimulate the nervous system to improve your mood and keep you feeling relaxed throughout the session.
Primary Differences between Deep Tissue Massage and Relaxation Massage
- Style and Techniques
In deep tissue massage, the therapist will work layer-by-layer using thumbs, fingers, forearms, elbows, and fists to release tension in the connective tissue. This type of massage targets the deepest accessible layer to make room for movements and create changes in posture after releasing chronicle muscle contractures and fascial adhesions. Relaxation massage uses kneading, sliding, vibration, friction, and percussion techniques with long gliding strokes. It may also include active and passive joint movements combined with bending and stretching of the joints with the help of your therapist.
- Amount of Pressure Applied
Deep tissue massage uses a lot of pressure to reach the deeper muscle tissues of your body. The procedure may sometimes be intense and painful rather than soothing. However, the therapist should deliver the right amount of pressure rather than use excessive force into an area. It is important to inform your therapist that they are achieving releases so that they can proceed with the rest of the muscle. Relaxation massage uses lighter or firm pressure on the muscles, which makes it gentle and soothing compared to deep tissue massage.
- Area of Focus
Deep tissue massage focuses on a specific area of tightness or tension. The massage therapist focuses on releasing chronic muscle tension, adhesions, and knots in the muscles using a series of slow and deliberate strokes. The therapist starts by moving down the muscles and allowing them to push back after pressure has been applied to achieve releases. On the other hand, relaxation massage focuses on spinal manipulation and stimulation of the nervous system to bring about physical and psychological responses that promote blood circulation and ease muscle tension. It focuses on the whole body rather than on specific muscles and tissues.
- Intended Use
Relaxation massage is used to treat lower back pain, neck pain, stress, and other medical conditions such as arthritis. Unlike deep tissue massage, the primary aim of this type of massage is to promote relaxation and stress relief as it provides both physical and psychological benefits. Swedish massage is primarily used to ease muscle tension, increase blood flow, and improve flexibility. Since it is very stimulating to the skin, it reduces physical and emotional stresses in the body.
On the other hand, deep tissue massage is used for people with chronic problems and smaller muscle injuries. It also used in treating spasms, postural alignment, sports injuries, whiplash, and ease tension in muscles. Unlike relaxation massage, deep tissue massage is more specific to the main areas of concern.
Relaxation massage works best if you are looking for pain relief, increased blood circulation, improved mood, and better sleep. Deep tissue massage is ideal for improving posture, chronic pains, and increasing range of motion. The best way to choose between these two types of massage is to look at their key components. It is important to discuss with your therapist about any concerns before getting a massage so that they can customize the best treatment plan for you.