Muscle Sport Magazine

Which Type Of Therapeutic Massage Is Right For You?

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People seek out massage for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you want to practice a little well-deserved self-care, or maybe you’re looking for a way to work out a knot in your neck. Did you know that the right kind of massage therapy can help with a range of health conditions as well? From sore joints to pre- and post-operative care, the right kind of therapeutic or orthopedic massage can make a big difference, but where to start?

One approach worth considering is visiting someone who offers a wide range of services—like Bodyworks By Bull, for example. Even then, there are many options, and to get the most out of your session, you could benefit from more information about which kind of treatment will best help your condition.

Below, you’ll find information about what therapeutic massage is, as well as some of the different kinds available. That way, not only will you be able to find a practitioner who’s offering what you’re after, but you’ll also be more likely to get the most out of your time with them.


What is therapeutic massage?

One often-cited definition of ‘therapeutic massage’ describes the practice as, “the manipulation of the soft tissue of whole body areas to bring about generalized improvements in health.” Those benefits can include everything from relaxation and better sleep to “specific physical benefits” like the “relief of muscular aches and pains.” 

Depending on your own body and condition, different styles of therapeutic massage may be better-suited to your needs. In general, though, a good therapeutic massage depends on the skill of the therapist and their understanding of their clients.

As Mark Beck describes in his book on the subject, a good therapeutic massage, “is like an intense conversation.” The therapist, through listening and observation, seeks to understand what condition the client is in; then, their hands “listen” to the client’s body as it responds to their “manipulative touch.” Finally, the client’s body responds to that touch, the therapist takes in those responses, and chooses what to do next. 

Overall, a therapeutic massage will involve work and focus on the soft tissue of your body. This includes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, all of which work together to help support your body as it moves. 


Types of therapeutic massage

There is a range of different kinds of massage available, depending on what you’re looking for. Swedish massage is the typical methodology for “relaxation” massages (a worthy goal in and of itself). Within therapeutic massage, there are a range of techniques, including:

  • Deep-tissue massage—This technique can help with tightness in your muscles caused by repeated use, something that can happen from sitting or driving as easily as it can from more strenuous activity. General tightness and chronic muscle pain may benefit from deep-tissue work.
  • Myofascial release—The fascia is a “web of connective tissue under the skin” which helps to support muscles and allows them to move with freedom. Myofascial release is when your therapist kneads and stretches your muscles and fascia to help work out tightness and tension.
  • Trigger point massage—A “trigger point” could be a knot or tight spot in your back or neck, often caused by a tiny spasm, or other tightness, in the soft tissue. Through pressure directed at those spots, a therapist can help to increase blood flow to the area, which—in turn—helps to release the tension in these spots.
  • Lymphatic massage—Lymphatic fluid, produced in the lymph nodes, helps the body in several important ways, such as clearing waste and maintaining fluid levels. Using a gentle touch, lymphatic massage helps lymphatic fluid to move better through the body, allowing it to drain.
  • Orthopedic massage—This is another umbrella term, one which refers to massage with a focus on orthopedic conditions, i.e. those relating to the musculoskeletal system. Defined broadly, orthopedic massage focuses on treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of these conditions. 


Final thoughts

These are just some of the types of therapeutic massage that you might consider. Studies have shown that massage can help to reduce pain for patients post-operation, and that there is a range of treatments that might be beneficial for you, depending on your needs.

Whether you’ve got pain in a specific area, you’re looking to prevent injury, or you could just use some help working out a stubborn knot in your back, therapeutic massage might be right for you. As with all healthcare decisions, make sure to consult with your doctor before choosing anything to treat a specific medical condition.

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