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Finding The Best Massage For You

Massage is an ancient discipline with many schools and variations from around the world. Perhaps you have some muscle pain or you’re just feeling stressed out, but you’re not sure what kind of massage to get. With the help of this quick guide, you’ll know exactly what kind of massage suits your needs.

Swedish Massage – Relaxation, Stress Relief, First Massage

The most common form of massage therapy in the U.S., Swedish massage is designed to warm up the muscle tissue to release toxins, tension and soreness. The strokes are longer and slower than with many other forms of massage.

woman massage
It’s usually done using the hands, sometimes with the forearms. Swedish massage can be done using lighter or deeper pressure, but the strokes are long — from the shoulders to the low back and back up, for example, or from the wrist all the way up the arm into the neck and then back down again.

This form of massage is typically very relaxing and is an ideal technique to experience if you’ve never had a massage before.

Deep Tissue Massage – Tight Or Painful Muscles, Postural Problems, Recovery From Injury

Deep Tissue Massage is one of the most commonly misunderstood forms of massage therapy. Many massage therapists will say they offer Deep Tissue Massage and end up using Swedish Massage, with its long strokes and stretching, with firmer than average pressure. In reality, Deep Tissue Massage is a sometimes aggressive modality that features deep, deep penetration of the muscle tissues and fascia to relieve pain. Most notably, therapists can spend a prolonged amount of time on a single area in order to effectively release tension.

Common techniques your massage therapist might use include trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and active release. Be forewarned: this modality is not for the faint of heart. It is purposefully intense and may not be for everyone.

Hot Stone Massage – Relaxation, Stress-Relief

Hot Stone Massage is one of the oldest forms of massage known to mankind. The massage therapist will lay heated basalt stones along your spine while proceeding to gently knead the body (starting at the feet) using hands as well as an additional stone.

A therapist might use the rounded edge of a stone around the shoulder blade or in the low back or neck area to really relax the tissue between the muscles and the bone.

Then there’s the heat, of course. Beyond the “ahhh” factor of feeling those hot stones go to work on your aching back or neck, the stones transfer heat into your body. Thus allowing the therapist to work more effectively.

Still, you want the longest session you can get with a hot stone massage. The stones are pre-heated to 125 degrees at the time your session begins. You want an 80- or 110-minute hot stone massage to get the greatest benefit.

trigger point massage

Trigger Point Therapy – Pain Relief, Injury Recovery, Tension Relief

Trigger point work is designed to get into those little knots. It’s often done using the thumb, knuckle or elbow to apply static pressure to those points. The therapist can feel that knot to detect when it’s loosening up and is trained to know what a muscle is supposed to feel like normally versus what it feels like when it’s “in knots.”

Common trigger points — like that nagging area between the shoulder blades — are associated with the fact that toxins commonly accumulate in certain places in the body. When the therapist locates a trigger point and applies pressure, that pain will often “refer” or travel to another part of the body. For example, if the therapist applies pressure to your hamstring or back of your leg, you might feel it in your lower back.

If you struggle with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, tension headaches, back or hip pain, and even arthritis, then Trigger Point Therapy might be able to bring you the relief you seek.

The Best Choice for Your New Jersey Massage Therapy

Your preference for light or deep pressure is another reason you want to be matched to a therapist vs. just a time-slot technique. Massage therapists’ level of pressure is not determined by the therapist’s stature, size or strength, but by how they leverage their body weight to do the deep bodywork.

Many people believe a male therapist is stronger than a female therapist and assume they’ll get a deeper massage, but that’s really not true. There are a lot of petite female therapists who know how to leverage their body weight and provide a deep tissue massage experience. So remember, gender doesn’t determine the type and depth of massage you will get.

At Garrow Wellness Center, our therapeutic approach is designed to match you with the massage therapist and the specific technique that’s best for your unique health and wellness situation. We specialize in customizing each massage session to the specific needs of every client. Therefore we often incorporate techniques from each type of massage to ensure that you receive the best and most appropriate treatment