Relaxation or Therapeutic Massage? Why Not Both?
by Eric Willmarth, owner of Chippewa Valley Therapeutic Massage, LLC, Eau Claire, WI
Over the years I’ve been asked many times what the difference between a relaxation massage and a therapeutic massage is. My response is usually that a relaxation massage can be great for someone that is just “stressed out” and needs relief from the stresses of life, while a therapeutic massage is generally needed when a client has an issue such as chronic headaches, back pain, or old injuries that are slow to recover. All of that being said, I believe that the best massages are a combination of both types: relaxing and therapeutic. If a massage therapist embraces this mind-set during a treatment, they allow the mind of the client to be part of the healing process of the body.
When a therapist asks the appropriate questions, we are able to figure out if our clients are in need of a massage more focused on relaxation or therapy and are able to treat them accordingly. As licensed massage therapists, when someone comes to us complaining of headache issues, we understand that though we have wonderful techniques to aid in relief of these headaches, that relief will not be as meaningful or long-lasting if we do not also address relaxation therapy and techniques with our clients. This coupling of modalities achieves the desired outcome for our clients—to be able to relax, and to bring ease of movement and freedom from pain to their lives.
In the end, most relaxation massages have an element of therapy to them and most therapeutic massages have some relaxation involved. The two concepts have a symbiotic relationship in massage to deliver optimal therapy to the body. If you have not tried a relaxation or therapeutic massage, I urge you to get out and try one today. The Chippewa Valley is blessed with many talented therapists. Enjoy!