What Type of Massage Therapy Do I Need?
Congratulations! You’ve decided to commit to your health and being pain free! And even better, you have decided incorporate massage therapy as part of your treatment plan. (If you’re still on the fence about these things, read this.)
Now, the first question that will invariably arise is “What type of massage therapy do I need?” This looks like a simple question. The most common massages mentioned in the US are Swedish, deep tissue (click here for animportant aside), sports, and prenatal; but massage and bodywork modalities originate from all over the world, new ones developing as knowledge of the body grows and old ones adapted by other cultures creating countless of styles. In my time studying and learning massage, I have come to believe the the core of all techniques can be classified to three main categories: neuromuscular, relaxation/flowing, and myofascial. Energetic could be another, but that is a whole other realm.
But what the heck does any of that mean for you?
If you are looking to for pain relief, going for a technique that is neuromuscular (e.g. Spontaneous Muscle Release Technique, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, trigger point, et. al.) or myofascial (e.g. unwinding, stretching, cranioscarcal, et. al.) in nature is probably going to benefit you most. Every modalities has its own merits and limitations. Discovering which provides the best results for you will take some trial and error.
Therapist Before Technique
However, I encourage you not to get too hung up on the type of massage a practitioner uses. Instead, focus on finding a knowledgeable massage therapist with experience resolving complaints similar to your own. This should also be someone with whom you would enjoy spending an extended period of time. After all, if you are going to spend the better part of an hour or longer under someone’s hands, it should be someone who brings you a sense of openness, peace, and security.
Massage is a highly individualized service. We walk into a session with history of health, injuries, medications, and habits all of which must be considered to perform a successful massage and adequately address our current pain. It can be scary or feel daunting to be discerning in your choice of therapist, to offer up the small financial and time risk to test out therapists. But not doing so can cause you to believe that massage cannot help you when in fact it could be the best thing for you. Take time to interview possible therapists (we’re happy to speak with you!p) and try out their massage. It might just be the difference between healing and just managing.