Massages can be an important tool for maintaining your overall health and wellbeing. They can help you relax and relieve stress while also addressing that stiff neck or another problem spot. At Grand Spa in Dallas, TX, we offer a complete lineup of the most popular massages. When booking appointments, some clients ask for help in deciding between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue treatment. Both forms of massage offer therapeutic benefits, but there are key differences between the two treatments and what they can accomplish.
How Swedish Massage Works
The most commonly offered massage technique is Swedish Massage. This Western technique involves smooth, gliding strokes, kneading, rhythmic tapping on the skin’s surface, and deep, circular movements. The massage therapist may also stretch and bend your joints.
This type of massage offers a host of physical benefits, but one reason it’s so popular is that it’s also incredibly relaxing and pampering. Swedish treatments usually involve a gentle full-body massage, but depending on your preference and your experience with massage, you can ask your therapist to apply firmer pressure.
What It’s Best for
Swedish Massage is ideal for working out muscular knots and relieving physical and emotional stress and tension, but it also offers a number of health benefits. Swedish treatments can improve the flexibility of muscles and joints and stimulate both the skin and the nervous system. This type of massage also increases blood flow, helping the body flush out the different types of toxins and metabolic wastes that can build up. If there’s a particular area of concern on your body that you’d like to address, you can ask the massage therapist to spend extra time on that spot.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Swedish treatments are ideal for those who are primarily interested in relieving tension and truly unwinding. Because the pressure that is applied during this treatment is not great, it’s also a good option for those who are sensitive to touch or who are new to massage.
What Should I Expect?
You’ll remove your clothes for this treatment, although you can keep your underwear on if you feel more comfortable. During your treatment, you’ll be covered by a sheet, and the massage therapist will uncover areas of the body as she works on them.
This type of massage is generally a full-body treatment, so you’ll start off laying on your back or chest and turn over about halfway through your session. Your therapist may incorporate massage oil into her strokes to minimize friction on your skin, and you may have the option of pairing your treatment with aromatherapy.
How Deep Tissue Massage Works
Deep Tissue treatments tend to involve more pressure and are a great option for clients who have trouble spots they want to address. During a Deep Tissue Massage, the therapist will use many of the same gliding, kneading, and circular strokes, but the pressure will be aimed at the deeper layers of tissue, muscles, and tendons. The strokes will be slow and deliberate.
Unlike Swedish treatments, which focus primarily on relaxation, Deep Tissue massages usually focus on a specific problem, such as relieving chronic tension or addressing a small muscle injury.
What It’s Best for
This type of massage is often used to target chronic problems or muscle injuries like whiplash, injuries caused by sports or repetitive motion, back sprains, muscle spasms, or postural alignment. Deep Tissue massage can also be used to address chronic tension. During this type of massage, the therapist will use special techniques involving fingers, wrists, and possibly even elbows to target and stretch the deep tissues. By encouraging blood flow, deep tissue massage can sometimes help reduce inflammation.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Patients who book Deep Tissue massage appointments are usually looking for a session that will offer therapeutic treatment for a muscular injury or chronic condition. Lower back pain, Fibromyalgia, stiff necks, muscle spasms, and sports injuries are among the many conditions that can be helped by deep tissue treatment. Many patients who book deep tissue sessions are already experienced with massage and are comfortable with the added pressure needed for therapeutic treatment.
What Should I Expect?
Before treatment begins, you’ll be asked about the problem spots you want to address during your session as well as the amount of pressure you’re comfortable with. Depending on what you’re hoping to address, the massage may be full-body or may focus on the area that’s giving you trouble.
You’ll remove your clothes for this treatment just as you would for a Swedish treatment, but it will be up to you to decide whether to keep your underwear on. Deep Tissue treatments often begin gently to relax and warm up the muscles before addressing the deep tissue work in your areas of concern.
What’s the Difference Between Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage?
The primary differences between Swedish and Deep Tissue treatments are the benefits they offer, so deciding between the two really comes down to what you’re hoping to accomplish with the session. For general relaxation and tension relief, a Swedish Massage is usually the best choice. This type of massage also bolsters blood circulation, relieves small aches and pains, improves your mood, and helps you sleep better. But if you need help with chronic muscular pain, are recovering from an injury, or are trying to improve your posture or mobility, Deep Tissue treatment may offer the benefits you’re looking for.
What Can I Do to Get the Most Out of My Massage?
Both Swedish and Deep Tissue treatments can offer clients a number of benefits, including relaxation, support when recovering from injury, and pain relief. But there are several steps you can take to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your treatment. Many of these steps focus on helping the body and mind fully relax so that your muscles are pliable and easy for your therapist to work with.
Be on Time
Although it sounds like a small step, arriving on time for your appointment, or even a little early, will give the time you need to mentally prepare for your session and relax. If you rush in at the last minute, it will take longer for your body to unwind.
Work With the Massage Therapist
It’s important that you communicate clearly with your therapist so that he or she has the information and feedback they need to tailor the massage to your needs. This means providing accurate and complete information about your health as well as the reason for your massage. If you’re anxious about any aspect of massage, let the therapist know so that your concerns can be addressed. And don’t hesitate to offer feedback to the therapist during your treatment about the amount of pressure being used, the speed of strokes, or any distractions in the environment.
Muscles that are well-hydrated are more pliable and are easier for a massage therapist to work with. That means it will be easier for your therapist to break up muscular knots and, if you undergoing Deep Tissue treatment, target those deeper levels of muscle and tissue. Because massage releases toxins and metabolic waste, a well-hydrated body is better able to flush those toxins away. To be properly hydrated for a massage, make sure you drink plenty of water in the 24 hours leading up to your appointment. Drinking extra water after your massage is equally important.
For some clients, limiting caffeine consumption during the hour or two before a massage helps them more fully relax.
Eat in Advance
Just like you don’t eat a big meal before a workout, it’s a good idea not to eat a large meal right before a massage. Eat earlier so that your body has time to digest the food before your appointment.
Depending on your schedule, showering beforehand may not always be possible. But if you can, a warm shower will start loosening your muscles and make them more pliable for the therapist to work with. A warm shower in advance can also help relax you. Light stretching in advance of your massage is also a good way to warm your muscles up.
Don’t Work Out Before Your Massage
Working out immediately before your massage will cause your muscles to tense up, making it harder for your therapist to relax them.
Take Off Only What You Want
It helps if you either remove most of your clothing or wear clothing that can easily be moved to allow the therapist access to the treatment area. After a couple of massages, most clients become more comfortable with being partially or entirely unclothed during treatment and covered with a sheet. But there is no expectation that you be nude unless you are comfortable with that. What’s most important is that you be comfortable so that you can fully relax. Take off only as much clothing as you are comfortable with.
Remember to Breathe
Some patients stop breathing or take shallow breaths if they feel nervous or when a sensitive part of the body is being massaged. But breathing normally helps you relax, so it’s important to keep doing so during treatment. During deep tissue treatments, there may even be times with your therapist will ask you to take especially deep breaths.
Focus on Relaxing
The success of the massage all comes back to the therapist’s ability to work with your muscles. During your treatment, try to quiet your mind and fully relax. Sometimes focusing on your breathing or on the area the therapist is touching can be a way of being more body-centered. If you find your muscles involuntarily tightening up during treatment, let your therapist know. She may be able to adjust her technique to allow your body to fully relax.
Don’t Get Up Too Fast
If possible, take a few minutes of quiet time after your massage is complete. Many patients like to enjoy the relaxed, rejuvenated feeling they have after treatment. Get up slowly from the table to ensure that you aren’t dizzy after your treatment.
Schedule Regular Treatments
While a single massage can offer a great deal of relaxation and therapeutic benefit, most patients notice an improvement if they schedule regular sessions. With regular treatments, your body will start to feel better, and its response to massage will improve. With Deep Tissue treatments, in particular, it can take several sessions to fully address your problem areas.
Come for Your Massage Today
Massages are an important part of self care and your overall wellbeing. Whether you opt for a Swedish Massage, a Deep Tissue treatment, or any of our other massage packages, we can offer the relaxation and therapeutic treatment you deserve. Call Grand Spa in Dallas, TX, today.