The realm of bodywork and massage is quite vast. It can be overwhelming for the recipient to choose a path of body work for them that is going to satisfy their present condition. There are many different modalities of massage but in reality none of these modalities will have any positive effect on the recipient if the massage is not therapeutic.
So what exactly does therapeutic mean when it comes to body work and massage? Our definition is that the body work in some way has made a more positive impact on the recipient and that your therapist makes you feel completely comfortable and safe. Also the techniques employed by the therapist are sequenced in such a way where the recipient’s nervous system can let go to the point where they are no longer holding on to certain tension spots. Being a recipient to massage it is easy to want to hold your breath and tense your muscles when a therapist is working on tight areas, the therapist when recognizing this should be able to intuitively work with your muscles, fascia, and your body to where you can begin to let go.
We have all had massage experiences where it just was not satisfying and sometimes you even feel worse then when you came in. A main reason for this is because the therapist was not really listening to your body and working intuitively and skillfully with what your body wanted. At this point it would not really matter what modality was being employed.
What could a therapeutic massage potentially feel like? Besides the intuitive feel from the therapist if otherwise noted the full body should be tended too. Even if there are certain areas where you want to focus on, the full body should still be covered. Even with focal points the therapist should be able to include the rest of the body in a way that doesn’t feel rushed or out of balance.
Another indicator of a quality therapeutic experience is if the therapist is working on the attachments to your joints. This is where ligaments and tendons are being stimulated which absolutely feels amazing. Sometimes when the attachments to your joints are being stimulated the muscle belly associated with that attachment will be able to relax and let go quite well. The technique that can bring about a great therapeutic feel to your joints is when the therapist works on releasing the fascial layers associated with the joint. Click here for a better understanding of fascia.
The last thing that is very indicative of a therapeutic experience is if the therapist is able to apply varying amounts of pressure depending on the part of the body they are working on. Although you might want a deep tissue massage not all parts of your body are going to receive the same amount of pressure. If a therapist is not able to be consciously aware of this throughout the massage it could wind up being a quite unpleasant experience.
This understanding of a therapeutic massage is a great thing to keep with you when you are looking to book your next appointment. This will give you a much better idea of what to look for as well as empower you to ask your therapist questions and maybe even give them in the moment feedback while you are on the table.