Massage therapy is the manipulation of tissue in the body that includes manual techniques to adjust pressure, holding and/ or moving muscles and body tissues. It can help improve blood flow, ease muscle tension and enhance tissue healing. These techniques affect the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, skeletal and other systems of the body.
Most massage treatments will relax you, among other things. With a relaxation massage, relaxing you is the only aim. For this reason, it is one of the most complete and indulgent massages you can have. Definitions vary, but in the UK, a relaxation massage is usually a full-body treatment involving soft music, soft lighting and aromatherapy essential oils. You will have a long, luxurious massage which will use all kinds of massage techniques including long strokes, gentle kneading and rolling of skin and muscle, and perhaps some rhythmic rocking from side to side. It is a passive treatment. You probably won't be stretched or manoeuvred into any yoga-like positions, as you are, for example, in Thai massage. You just lie there and take it. This is the massage to choose if you just want to chill out, and be pampered and spoiled.
Deep tissue massage techniques are used to break up scar tissue and physically break down muscle "knots" or adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) that can disrupt circulation and cause pain, limited range of motion, and inflammation. While some of the strokes may feel the same as those used in Swedish massage therapy, deep tissue massage isn't a stronger version of a Swedish massage.
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