What do you think of when you hear the word massage?
Do the Tibetan bowls start singing to you? Do you drift off to la la land?
Or does it brings up a feeling of relief and are you ready to conquer the world?
Maybe it reminds you on the exercise goals you’ve reached?
The reactions I get to when people ask me “what do you do?” is wide and far when I say I am a remedial massage therapist.
There are so many forms of massages, but aren’t they giving you all the same effect? Not really. Pressure, techniques, speed all generate different result.
Time for some clarity!
Soft Tissue has multiple functions it protects, supports, enables movement and controls.
Remedial massage is a collective name for a number of techniques including, deep tissue and sports massage techniques. It is usually applied on the soft tissue that helps you to move freely, the skeletal muscles, ligaments and tendons and the joint that they are attached to.
Its goal is not specifically for relaxation (although that may happen), but to addresses a specific soft tissue issue when your injured yourself, from bad posture, repetitive movements strain or to break chronic pain patterns. On occasion, soft tissue can get that tight that it entraps nerves giving sensations. A good example are headaches from tight neck muscles usually due to posture. Or tingling in arm and hands from tightness in the upper shoulder and neck from for long hours behind a computer or looking down.
Relaxation massage aim is to promote relaxation, reduces fatigue, eases daily stresses, releases general muscle pain and tension enhancing general health & well-being.
Both give a different outcome. Confusing? To enlighten you here are the main differences:
Remedial Massage focused on a specific outcome for a targeted muscle group and can be tender. Apposed to relaxation massage that incorporates the whole body and has a general therapeutic effect.
Another misconception is that remedial massage is deep pressure. It isn’t necessarily. Sometimes it can be more beneficial to invite a muscle to release then trying to force it. Less pressure or other techniques are then appropriate. However, a relaxation massage does not go too deep ever, nor does it has to feel iffy. It’s purpose is not to reach the deeper layers of soft tissue but to send signals to your brain to slow down.
Therefor relaxation massage is full of long slow strokes, some kneading and pulsing creating a constant rhythmic flow, soothing you into a relaxing state. Remedial has faster, shorter stokes uses thumbs, trigger points and passive stretching meant to “fix” targeting dysfunction.
Remedial Massage also asses the specific area you have an issue through palpation and letting you go through a set of movements to identify which soft tissue structures to work on and what techniques to use. After the treatment, a post assessment is performed. Relaxation massage, like remedial, does also ask for your history to find out which areas to avoid or when not to massage and will palpate areas or tension. But it goal is to ease, improve circulation and lymph flow to have your body system work like clockwork.
You usually are asked questions and feedback during remedial massage to work with the therapist staying within your limits and effectiveness. Relaxation massage is more effective without interaction so you can really sink into your own world.
Remedial massage works with a treatment plan, follow up sessions and advise on stretches or exercises to speed your recovery when you away from the clinic. Relaxation massage usually isn’t that frequent. Often it is used as a self-care measurement to improve life or one off as a treat. You may be given some self-help too.
So, there you are. When you next book in your massage at MarisSage, let the trained therapist know what result you are looking for so they can put together the right combination for you.
Our goal is to help you achieve yours. Put yourself in good hands.