Swedish massage? Deep tissue Massage? Therapeutic Massage? What’s the difference?! I get asked this question a lot. When you come in for a massage, you need to know that this is your time. What are you looking for? What do you do for a living? Are there certain areas you want addressed? These are all questions your massage therapist should ask you and from there, determines the type of massage for your session. However, knowing what each technique involves may help you decide which massage suits you more. Swedish Massage refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable. Swedish Massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management. Deep Tissue Massage is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the fiber's of the muscles, tendons and fascia, to "unstick" the fibers of a muscle while releasing deeply-held patterns of tension, removing toxins, while relaxing and soothing the muscle. It is both corrective and therapeutic. Deep tissue massage usually focuses on more specific areas and may cause some soreness during or right after the massage. However, if the massage is done correctly you should feel better than ever within a day or two. Sports Massage is a special form of massage and is typically used before, during, and after athletic events. The purpose of the massage is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries. The main purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Sports massage helps prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries. Sports massage can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether a person is an athlete or a once a week jogger. Therapeutic Massage is a sort of blanket term—all massage is therapeutic; however, this term generally refers more specifically to a form of massage that borrows techniques from other modalities to accomplish it’s therapeutic goal. Very often, the practitioner will borrow from Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports, and even incorporate the use of energywork to correct biostructural imbalances. Our massage therapists at Atlantic Spine Clinic are trained in all of the above and even offer pregnancy massage. Give us a call for more information or to make an appointment. We’d love to see you!