Your back hurts. Your muscles are tense. You know you want a massage, but aren’t sure which to choose.
With nearly a hundred different modalities and specialties, it’s hard to know where to start. Fortunately, the vast majority of us will benefit from one of a handful of modalities.
First, ensure the massage therapist you are working with has the appropriate qualifications for the technique used. Some methods – cupping, dry needling, shiatsu – are trendy, yet they require additional certification beyond the initial training a massage therapist receives. Even more, ensure your massage therapist is appropriately licensed and have received appropriate education in the location where they are working.
A skilled massage therapist can use the following methodologies to help most people find the most benefit.
Swedish (a.k.a Relaxation) Massage – This technique is the core massage. It uses gentle, slow, rhythmic techniques designed to calm the body and mind. Swedish is typically a full body 30-, 60- or 90-minute method used to relieve everyday stress and general aches and pains.
Deep Tissue (a.k.a. Therapeutic) Massage – This restorative technique breaks through muscle tissues allowing greater flexibility and range of motion. It increases nutrients to muscles and flushes toxins. Typically this technique focuses on a particular area of pain. Deep Tissue is often used in 30-, 60- or 90-minute massages and is best indicated for various acute or chronic pain conditions.
Sports Massage – This technique enhances physical performance. It brings nutrients to muscles and prepares for activity or can help muscles stretch and relax after activity. This is good for athletes in all stages of play or training or to help heal an injury.
Prenatal (a.k.a. Prenatal) Massage – This method relaxes tenses muscles caused by the strain of carrying a baby. It prepares the mother for labor, birth and aids recovery. As the name implies, this method is best for pregnant women or new moms.
Hot Stone Massage – This technique is an enhanced version of the Relaxation Massage. It incorporates various sizes of smooth stones, which are heated to around 105F and places in various positions around the body. At the same time, a skilled massage therapist will utilize a lubricated hot stone directly in the massage maneuvers to manipulate the tissues. The purpose of the hot stones is to warm the tissues enhancing relaxation for the client. Hot Stone is often incorporated into 60- or 90-minute massages.
Trigger Point Therapy – Trigger Point Therapy uses sustained pressure on specific muscle knots and addresses pain, numbness and tingling. Skilled massage therapists are able to integrate this technique into either Swedish or Deep Tissue massages. Trigger Point Therapy is best for sciatica, headaches, numbness and tingling.
These are just a few options of massages techniques. By visiting with your massage therapist, you can work together to find one technique, or a combination of several, that will work best for your unique needs.
Most important, incorporating massage into your lifestyle will give you both short- and long-term benefits. Don’t wait until your muscle pain is unbearable. Make time for yourself today and schedule your massage.
DeAnn Gietzen is the owner and licensed massage therapist with Northern Mandala, LLC, based out of East Grand Forks, MN.
Through a 750-hour training program at Josef’s School of Hair, Skin and Body, DeAnn received advanced training in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pathology. The course also included clinical practice, practical application and certification in CPR, first aid and AED. DeAnn has successfully completed the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. She is licensed in massage therapy by the state of North Dakota. Schedule your massage with DeAnn today.