Relaxation vs. Deep Tissue Massage: What’s the Difference?

by Grace Wu, RMT

Many clients have asked me what the difference is between a Relaxation and Deep Tissue Massage, and which one they need. There are also many clients who come into the treatment room requesting one or the other, regardless of their condition. In my opinion, both are just different aspects of a therapeutic treatment, and each individual treatment can incorporate both if necessary.

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It is important to keep in mind that pressure should never equal pain, and that everyone’s perception of pressure is different and can fluctuate each day. For some people, deeper pressure is actually relaxing for them; for others, light pressure can be more than they can take. The same clients can come in for their next treatment and experience something entirely different, based on what their body is going through. What is of utmost importance is clear communication with your therapist: what physical symptoms you are experiencing that cause you pain or discomfort, what makes you feel better or worse, how much pressure the therapist is using during the treatment and if it is what you are comfortable with, etc. An open dialogue with your therapist will hopefully give you both the best treatment you want, and one that your body needs.