Who doesn’t love a good massage? They are a great way to relax, relieve tension in your muscles and get you feeling good again. It’s also a great option if you’re in pain or suffering from a spasm or injury, as it can release a lot of tension and kick start a lot of your body’s natural healing processes. But when you look into massage, you’ll quickly find there are a lot of options available to you. So how do you choose the right one for you? In more traditional massage terms (without any hot stones or things like that), you main 2 options will be sports massage or holistic massage – and today we’re going to look at what each one means, and how to choose the best for you.
When it comes down to it, sports massage is a very mechanical thing, which is why there are progressive levels of training. When you book with a sports massage therapist, they will probably give you notice somewhere about what level they are, and what they can treat. The levels start at 3 – with all basic masseuse training covering levels 1 and 2. The levels look like this:
- Level 3: A level 3 sports massage therapist will have learned some more advanced techniques, using a range of body parts (knuckles, forearm, elbows and others) to help them work in more deeply and bring relief from tight muscles and restricted movement. This improvement in anatomical knowledge means a level 3 massage therapist will understand the precise location and function of each muscle, which muscles work as a team or against one another, and how tight muscles affect your joint function – all of which helps them treat you better.
- Level 4: At level 4, therapists will undertake a more thorough visual assessment on you, followed by range of movement testing, strength, joint and ‘special testing’. This might sound like a lot, but it gives the therapist a broad picture of how you are and what’s the most appropriate course of treatment. This is where a sport masseur can move into the realms of how a physiotherapist or an osteopath would assess a client, looking beyond the injury or issue itself.
- Level 5: At level 5, a sports masseur will learn even more special tests to help them diagnose the root of your problems, along with new techniques to help them treat the issue. It’s the top level of training, and one a lot of masseurs work hard towards.
Holistic massage is similar to sports massage, with all of the same training and knowledge needed by the therapist. So essentially, you do get all of the above. But it’s also very different, which means you get a little something extra. It gives us a foundation in all the basic techniques, working with the muscular system, promoting circulation and aiding lymphatic flow – you know, all of the technical bits. But it also looks at your body as a whole, including your mindset, emotions and lifestyle, and provides a treatment that not only helps heal your mechanical issues, but makes you feel better and more relaxed in yourself. Holistic massage is often accompanied by aftercare advice, suggested yoga poses and strengthening exercises or stretches to help prolong the effects of the massage.
So Which Do I Need?
If we’re going strictly by therapeutic terms, all massage will give you a physical response. Your muscles and nervous system will respond to the treatment, and you will likely feel an emotional and mental response too. After all, touch and human contact with positive intent is healing in itself, and the prolonged contact of a massage can be very soothing for the spirit. So in that sense, any massage will help!
The real distinction is all about the reason you are going. If you need a massage because you play a lot of sports, have an injury or do a very physical job, then you are looking for a more mechanical massage – so sports massage will be a better choice for you. If you’re looking for a way to relax, get away from life for a little while and generally feel better about yourself, then holistic massage might be the better option. And of course, there are practitioners who do both at the same time, so you can get the mechanical and relaxing benefits all in one.
That’s what we offer at the Holistic Healthcare Group. We have a wide range of massage therapists, each with their own speciality, to work with you and help you feel relaxed, happy and pain-free. If you would like to know more about our massage services, just get in touch with us today to chat with a massage therapist today.