The discussion between the benefits of massage has always been a clash of facts and personal experiences. While either has claimed total victory, these two sides are more than ever battling for the hearts and minds of current and potential clients.
Firmly entrenched, the camps of Relaxation and Therapeutic have battled for supremacy over which is one should be the guiding motivation of both the practitioner and the client.
In this corner is Relaxation Massage:
The bliss of luxurious, pampering smoothing touch that is the cornerstone of the high-end spa experience. Swaddled in super soft, over-sized pure white cotton robes with the gentle ocean breezes swirling around the table, total relaxation awaits to restore and renew you, melting away stress and worry in a peaceful, gentle calming experience unlike any other.
And in this corner is Therapeutic Massage:
Finely tuned with a deep understanding of a multitude of both scientific and meta-physical, this practitioner is ready to assist and guide your body through the healing and de-toxification process. Reverance for current and past understand of how and why the body works the massage table is a place of precise actions and logical paths that can have almost magical results on your physical and spiritual health.
While most clients are unaware of which might be right for them and when in doubt many will opt for the gentle, soothing Relaxation Massage. Why? Very few media depictions of a massage session are anything but relaxation usually on a beach front open tent with a beautiful woman or hunky man in a pristine white uniform.
Not to say Relaxation Massage is bad or incorrect but in terms of chronic muscle contraction, injuries or even structural issues, it simply may not be the best route to take or as we’ll see, the complete plan.
Talk to many active or athletic minded persons and Therapeutic Massage is frequently mentioned as the only massage for them. Deep tissue with trigger points, pin & stretch and other aggressive modalities are what they would prefer and will completely forgo any effort to relax as well as treat.
While there individuals may be accustomed to these modalities, there is frequently ignored purpose of lighter strokes to warm and ready the soft tissue for deeper work. Once again, we see Therapeutic Massage is only part of the picture.
By carefully tailoring the blend of both, a therapist can help the body restore homeostasis or its’ natural balance and at the same time promote healing as well as leave your feeling more centered, lighter and yes, relaxed.
The best way I suggest to approach a massage session is with goals but an open mind to what can happen. Some of the best sessions I’ve ever had were finished with “What was that you did to my back and shoulders?”
Letting your mind take a break from the full time job of monitoring and controlling your body can be the first step in the healing process be the cause a simple strain, stress, chronic issues, injury or recovery after medical procedure.
Those moments after the session or even a day or two later is the time to plan for your next set of goals.
Your time on the table should be as free as possible from expectations and needs since it is 100% of the focus of your massage therapist.