Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What is the Difference between a Spa Massage and a Therapeutic Massage?

Massage therapy is generally seen as a way to relax the body and mind, and considered a relaxing treat. However, massage therapy is much more than that. Massage therapy is actually a therapy that is finding increasing clinical use in treating certain chronic diseases and injuries. You will be surprised to know that massage therapy is even prescribed for palliative care for relief from cancer treatment symptoms!

A spa massage is a personal consumer service that is delivered to a client who wishes to indulge in a wellness regime. Therapeutic massage is medical care delivered to a patient, prescribed by a medical practitioner, in order to relieve the patient of certain symptoms or injuries. In a spa massage, the massage therapist uses a straightforward massage technique, and applies light to medium pressure to various parts of the client’s body, with the ultimate intent to help the client relax and re-energize. A spa massage can be a part of the overall services offered by a typical beauty salon. The technique is rather intuitive, without a thorough scientific basis, with the ultimate focus on client satisfaction. The main types of spa massages include the Swedish massage, circulatory massage, hot stone massage, and craniosacral massage.

Therapeutic massages are set up quite differently from a spa massage. These massages are done in hospitals, clinics, and private practice offices. Therapeutic massage uses advanced techniques based on scientific studies that are aimed at providing medical relief to a patient. Therapeutic massages are found to be useful for a number of chronic symptoms and injuries such as fibromyalgia, chronic body pains such as chronic back pain, palliative care massage, pediatric massage, massages to heal sports injuries, arthritis, certain accidents, and posture and weight issues. Therapeutic massages are usually given in multiple sittings, and can continue for months. The focus is on functional outcomes, rather than merely patient satisfaction. The main techniques for therapeutic massage include myofascial treatment, deep tissue massage, neuromuscular trigger point technique, muscle energy technique.

While choosing a massage therapist for your requirement (whether a wellness massage or a therapeutic massage), please keep these differences in mind. Expecting a therapeutic massage from a spa massage therapist might not provide you the expected results. The training a spa massage therapist receives is geared towards providing relaxation to the client, and she might not have sufficient understanding about advanced massage techniques used for therapeutic massages. Likewise, if you go to a therapeutic massage therapist for a mild pain, and expect to be given the kind of treatment you would receive at a spa, you might be wasting your time.

I hope this article helps you in making the right choice so that you can get the most out of your massage – be it spa or therapeutic.

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