With all the different types of massage therapy available it can get a little confusing if you’re new to massage. I was asked recently, ‘what is a therapeutic massage?’. This is an interesting question because there are a few different modes to a therapeutic massage.
Therapeutic massage involves a lot of deep-tissue work and incorporates a few different techniques. If you have a specific problem, like a frozen shoulder or you’re rehabilitating a muscle injury then you need therapy, and a therapeutic massage will used.
Modalities Incorporated in a Therapeutic Massage
The main modalities used in a therapeutic massage include:
- Deep-tissue massage
- Trigger point therapy
- Sports massage
- Myofascial release massage
- Neuromuscular massage
A brief overview of these techniques are as follows:
Deep Tissue Massage
Similar to Swedish massage in the techniques and strokes used, but as the name suggests there is a lot more pressure applied. This form of massage is designed to penetrate deep into the muscle tissue, fascia, and tendons to resolve injuries, increase flexibility and suppleness.
Trigger Point Therapy
We all have trigger points over our bodies and targeting these with massage can release the pain they are causing. For example, working on trigger points in the back can stop pain in your neck or head.
Sports massage is similar to deep tissue massage. The techniques are designed to penetrate deep into the muscles and tissues to resolve injuries, help correct posture, and develop better symmetry and balance to support their sports career.
Myofascial Release Massage
Myofascial release is a technique that targets the myofascial tissues with pinching motions. The myofascial supports the muscles and tissues throughout the whole body, keeping this healthy is vital.
Neuromuscular massage is a form of deep tissue therapy designed to resolve muscular pains. Like trigger point therapy, this form of massage targets trigger points that are causing pain or weakness in muscles.
Benefits of Therapeutic Massage
Benefits of the above-mentioned therapies used in a therapeutic massage include:
- Relief from chronic pain
- Relief from lower back pain
- Increased joint and muscle mobility
- Recovery from injuries, aches and pains
- Relief for carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury
- Treating tennis elbow
- Loosening muscle tension and tightness
- And much more
Therapeutic Massage Precautions and Contraindications
As with all forms of massage therapy you have to be aware of the contraindications. My advice is to always get the all-clear from your doctor and the therapist before going ahead.
If you’ve had blood clots previously you should avoid deep tissue work. Likewise, if you’ve had surgery recently, chemotherapy, or suffer with any chronic conditions you must disclose this to the therapist.
Deep tissue massage cannot be performed over bruising, surface damage to your skin, rashes, unhealed wounds, etc. Pregnant women should always be very cautious and seek advice from a therapist trained in pregnancy massage.
Tips, Side Effects and After Care
- Don’t eat a heavy meal before having a massage
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early to prepare and fill out any paperwork
- You may be sore after, give yourself some time to relax afterwards
- Drink plenty of water after the massage to rehydrate
- Do some light stretching in the following days to prevent muscle stiffness
Who Is a Therapeutic Massage For?
As discussed in the benefits above, a therapeutic massage is for people who are looking to treat an injury with massage. If you’re suffering from pain or any of the above conditions in your day-to-day life there is an answer, you don’t have to suffer.
Book an appointment with your nearest massage therapist and discuss your pain in as much detail as you can. They will suggest a form of therapeutic massage to treat your injury and you can start on the road to recovery.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.