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Need Relief From Body Pain:
A Beginner's Guide to Massage


By Elliot Caleira

Whether it is a doctor who has suggested massage therapy, or you have decided to incorporate massage into your life for stress relief, it is important to know the type of massage treatment you will be administered. You should pick someone who will be licensed and educated in every technique when it comes to massage.

The Two Types of Massages: Therapeutic and Deep Tissue

There are two types of massages - Therapeutic and Deep Tissue Massage. Both will have a variety of different techniques depending on where the pressure point spot is. The pressure point is the area that you feel the most tightness in.

Furthermore, it would be informative for a person who is interested in getting a massage to note the two types and how each will contribute to their personal well-being. If a doctor has prescribed a massage, then this part should be easy. He can explain why and what type of massage he is suggesting for a patient.

The Different Benefits and Procedures of Therapeutic Massage

Therapeutic is basically any type of massage. Therefore, if you know where your pressure point is, you can contact any licensed massage therapist and they will help you relieve the stress in that area with gentle force therapy. Often, for a massage that is for relaxation purposes only, you will find day spas that partner with other types of technicians like manicure, pedicure, and facial in which you can buy a package that will allow you to schedule regular visits.

Four Examples of Therapeutic Massages:

  • Swedish - This is the most popular massage of all. It covers full-body muscle relaxation. If you have no preference and are looking for relaxation only, the Swedish massage will probably be the one you will receive.
  • Aromatherapy - This type of massage is basically the Swedish but specifically uses the effects of essential oils, which are extracted from flowers and plants that are believed to have healing powers. This type of massage may help people who suffer from insomnia or frequent headaches.
  • Hot Stone - This next massage is also to help someone to relax if daily stresses are overwhelming them. It is a procedure that uses hot, smooth stones. The stones are placed on the pressure point and also held by the therapist while administering the massage.
  • Gua Sha - If you like your back scratched, then the Gua Sha massage will be the one for you. With Gua Sha, the therapist rubs oil on your back, legs, buttocks, arms, and neck, then takes a massage tool and scrapes these areas. This technique is believed to help blood flow.

An Explanation About How Deep Tissue Massages Differ from Therapeutic Massages

Deep Tissue massages are a bit more intense than therapeutic. Although they are also considered therapeutic, a deep tissue massage is one that a doctor will most likely suggest for chronic pain in joints or muscles. Causes for deep tissue massages could be old injuries from sports or a bad accident that resulted in a person needing major surgery. However, the area still may tend to cause a person pain. These massages are more forceful with the pressure a therapist will apply.

For this purpose, you will not be able to walk into any spa that offers massages. You will probably be referred to a therapy clinic that specializes in deep tissue procedures. Deep tissue massages are usually scheduled by the type of pain instead of by a particular type of massage. Even so, they do concentrate on two specific techniques:

  • Friction - This is applied pressure across the grain of muscles to release adhesions and realign the tissue fibers.
  • Stripping - For stripping, a therapist will use their elbows, knuckles, forearm, and thumbs to apply a deep, gliding pressure to muscle fibers.

These types of massages are more intense and a person receiving one should take deep breaths throughout the procedure and expect some soreness afterward.

When choosing what type of massage that you need or want, the key to success will be to know if it is specifically for pain or is it for stress relief. That way, after reading this article, you will know if you need to visit your doctor for a referral or just visit a day spa and buy a package.

Elliot CaleiraElliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. More articles by Elliot.

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