With so many massage modalities, it can be daunting to know what the differences are between them unless you have tried them or have asked your massage therapist about the different styles. Today we explore the question of what modality will relieve your pain. Not every massage modality is the same. Each has its own benefit and depending upon your goals for the massage session.
Swedish massage is the most common type of massage. This modality is used for relaxation. All therapists are trained to be able to perform a basic Swedish massage.
Myofascial Release is a technique used for chronic pain. It uses gentle sustained pressure without the use of oil and focuses on the connective tissue. This is beneficial when you have pain in the back, neck, or experience headaches.
Deep tissue, which is often confused with deep pressure, focuses on the deepest layers of the fascia and muscles. Most people think that deep tissue has to “be painful” in order to experience benefit. This is quite the exact opposite as it works slower and deeper versus “fast and deep”. This style is also good for chronic pain and relieving tension.
Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) is also called trigger point or myotherapy. It is effective for treatment of the soft tissue such as tendons, ligaments, fascia, and muscles. It uses precise techniques in a specific format to alleviate pain.
Craniosacral focuses only on the head and spine of the client with gentle manipulation and the nervous system. This modality is effective for chronic headaches, neck, and back pain.
Thai massage incorporates ayurvedic principles, acupressure, and assisted yoga positions. Generally, it takes place on the floor, fully clothed. There are modified movements while you are laying on the table as well. It really helps to stretch the muscles.
Hot Stone uses heated rocks to increase blood and circulation to the area that is being worked on. While this style is great for reducing tension, it also has a clinical purpose.
These are several other modalities that we are not covering here. These are the most common ones that are offered in most places.
Overall, all types of massage will help to relieve pain. Understanding the differences will help you figure out which one will help you relieve your pain the fastest. It’s similar to when picking the type of aspirin you need for a headache. Do you want to take regular aspirin or extra strength?
Stay tuned for our final entry in our How to choose a massage therapist. We will be discussing “What Can I Expect My Experience To Be Like?