So you’ve finally decided to get a massage – and when you call to book your appointment, you are asked
the question, “What type of massage are you looking for –Swedish or Deep Muscle?” Not all massages are equal! The massage industry doesn’t even have standard titles for the various types of massages– yet. I expect that as the industry matures, we will come up with standard massage titles based on the requested outcome. But for now, I will try to define key terms and concepts so you can be informed of your choices.
Swedish Massage is the general name for a relaxation massage. Lighter pressure is used, with an emphasis on relaxing the client. The therapist may move your joints and provide light stretching. Tight and sore muscles may be addressed, but not overly-emphasized. Other types of relaxation massages include Hot Stone and Lomi-Lomi. These are offered at many spas and massage franchises.
Sports, therapeutic, clinical, orthopedic and neuromuscular massage are all terms used by therapists when there is a specific situation like injury or tight muscles that the client wants the therapist to focus on changing. Typically, orthopedic massage deals with those muscles that prevent a joint from moving in full range of motion without pain, yet the rest of the four massage types listed take into account the same problem. Sports massage, therapeutic and clinical massages seek additionally to balance muscle tensions throughout the body. Sports massage seeks to support an athlete in his or her sport to help prevent injuries and increase sports performance. Neuromuscular massage is spot work.
Therapeutic massage is a very broad term, and many specialized massage outcomes fall under its heading, ranging from pain relief from migraines, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy and radiation, to healing from a soft tissue injury or trauma. Lymphatic drainage is also a specific type of therapeutic massage, where the goal is to reduce swelling.
One more term has surfaced – Medical Massage. Again, this type of massage seeks to help injuries heal, reduce pain, and correct muscle imbalances. Medical Massage is typically used in Chiropractic offices to aid in the spinal adjustment process, and is probably the term of choice to move our industry away from the “fluffy” and extravagant connotations massage has had. Massage has been considered, since 2001, to be a branch of the Health Care system that addresses soft tissue (muscles, bones, tendons, and joints) issues to help bring a client into a state of well-being. Massage therapy is physical medicine, as is Chiropractic and Physical Therapy. Individually, each one is potentially powerful enough to help your body heal from every situation. Use two or three together, and the healing benefit becomes exponential.
One more word of advice: Therapeutic type massages typically require more education. Your therapist should be able to show you certificates of completion in courses that he/she is claiming expertise in. If you don’t see the certifications, ask for them. Also ask to see a copy of their massage license, as operating without one is against PA state law!
Vibrant Life Therapies, LLC, located in Trexlertown, PA, offers massage therapy, exercise therapy, and nutritional counseling. Donna Ondek, owner, is a licensed Massage Therapist and certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Counselor. Donna specializes in and Rehabilitative and Medical Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Mastectomy and Oncology Massage. To learn more, contact Donna via phone or text at (610)703-1596, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.VibrantLifeTherapies.com.
By combining your desire for and commitment to improved health and my knowledge of the body and passion for health, we can begin to help you experience a more Vibrant Life today! Call (610) 703-1596 today to schedule an appointment.