What’s the right amount of pressure for your massage at Unity Healing Arts in Asheville, NC?

deep tissue painfulThe age old question for massage therapy as it relates to your massage Asheville, NC. The question itself is very similar to another question that is often asked- What is the difference between a Swedish massage and a deep tissue massage? I will attempt to answer both of these questions for you in this article as they are both important questions to have a clear answer on. As with some of lifeʼs most interesting questions, the answers are not always cut and dry or black or white. The easier of these two questions may be the first one- What is the best amount of pressure for me in my massage? So letʼs start there.

The answer to this question is actually dependent upon a few different variables. First and foremost- the pressure must be one at which you can relax and breath deeply throughout the work.  If it is painful, even a little bit, the neurological system will be working against our intended results of getting the muscles to let go.  The holding of breath and tensing of the body are clear signals that the pressure is too much. Many clients often find that it is a combination of different pressures that feels most soothing and therapeutic to them. It is important to note that before sinking into the the deeper layers of muscle, your therapist will be warming up the muscles and fascia with flowing and needing stokes. It is not effective and can be harmful to the tissues to work too deeply too quickly.

What is the difference between a deep tissue massage and a Swedish massage? The overall feel of the session will be more therapeutically oriented in your deep tissue massage session in comparison to a Swedish session. In a Swedish session, your therapist will use more of a variety of strokes that are flowing in nature for their calming effects on the nervous system. These types of strokes are also great for increasing circulation and lymphatic flow. In addition, these stokes are also helpful in encouraging muscle relaxation. A Swedish massage will also include a variety of kneading techniques to sooth muscle aches and pains. Sounds nice, right? You bet.

In the more therapeutically oriented session, your therapist will begin as if it is a Swedish session in order to warm up the muscles. When the muscles have begun to warm, soften, and begin to release some tension, your therapist will use techniques to continue working more deeply into the muscles and fascia. These techniques typically involve slow movements or steady pressure on a given area. Your therapist can not rush through these strokes as the muscles take time to release from their contracted state, and this is where your session begins to feel quite different from a Swedish massage. As the depth of pressure increases so does the need for your intention to relax and assist the muscles in letting go. Breathing deeply can help in this process.

It is important for us to ask- have you ever had deep tissue massage before?  If not, your therapist may not want to work quite as deeply in order to avoid causing too much soreness for you in the days after your session.  It can take the muscles and fascia a while to adjust to deep tissue work.  Consistent work helps prevent soreness and allow for more effective therapeutic results. Finally, every area of the body is different and has different sensitivities, so always feel completely free to communicate with your therapist about your changing experience throughout the session.