Many clients book Deep Tissue appointments simply because they a) don't want to be slathered with lotion or oil b) aren't sure what the difference is or c) have heard the "no pain, no gain" theory when it comes to massage. 
But there are benefits to both Swedish and Deep Tissue massage. In fact, each modality is ideal for certain clients, depending on their age, level of activity, any illnesses or conditions and their desired goals. 

Per Henrik Ling, the father of Swedish massage, developed this modality based on three techniques it employs: effleurage, (Long gliding strokes), petrissage, (kneading and twisting), and vibration, (cupping, thumping or shaking). The therapist applies these strokes using light, medium or firm pressure according to the client's wishes. Contrary to popular belief, pressure does not mean deep tissue. So Swedish does not necessarily mean a light, fluffy treatment or a liberal application of lotions or oils. 

Think back to your last massage. Chances are, your therapist utilized these techniques whether you received Swedish or Deep Tissue. It's a great foundation for a deeper massage, as it immediately results in:
- increases blood flow and circulation 
- relaxes superficial muscles
- warms fascia and connective tissue 
- decreases blood pressure

Now onto Deep Tissue. Unlike deep pressure, deep tissue techniques are designed to release tension in muscles, connective tissue and fascia within the body. "Knots" or adhesions in the muscles, can block circulation, cause pain and limit range of motion. (Think about it! Haven't you ever had a crick in your neck that made it impossible or extremely painful to turn your head?) 

Typical techniques include Swedish strokes as well as cross-fiber friction and trigger point release methods. These techniques are applied via the therapist's hands, thumbs, forearms and elbows to work the muscles beneath the superficial muscles.  The benefits of deep tissue include: 
- relieves chronic pain from activities (sports) or conditions 
- decreases muscle tension and spasms
- increases range of motion
- improves posture
- reduces recovery time 

So which do you prefer, Swedish or Deep Tissue? Let us know in the comments below! 

Eighteen holes, rolling greens, a set of clubs, and your closest pals is probably the setting of your much sought-after weekend asylum. But aggressive tee-offs and repetitive motion can leave even the most avid golfers with residual soreness, a stiff low back and aches and pains in the elbows and forearms. Golfers may enjoy, crave and depend upon their sport, but the muscle over-use can wreck havoc on your body. That's why its imperative that golfers, rookie and pro alike, should incorporate massage in their sporting routine. 

Just a 30-minute session after the fact will help alleviate general soreness and provide much-needed relief for the over-strained, over-worked over-tired muscles, ligaments and joints. 

Whats the best treatment? Given the typical golfer complaints - low back, elbows and arms - concentrating on these areas with soft tissue release, gentle stretching and deep tissue work will increase the blood flow to the area, loosen up adhesions and improve muscle function. 

So the next time you're scheduled to tee off, schedule a massage the next day with Relax Tallahassee! 
Over the years, I've often recommended a epsom salt bath for clients who are experiencing sever soreness or inflammation after a sporting event or injury. But it's not just because it will feel great, there's science behind it! 

Now for a little lesson! Magnesium sulfate, more commonly known as epson salt, is a naturally occurring mineral that plays an important role in the body. Magnesium helps regulate calcium production, stimulates the release of that "feel good" chemical serotonin, increases ATP production, eliminates toxins and reduces inflammation.  

In layman's terms, here's how magnesium sulfate can benefit you:

- Reduces stress, adrenaline levels and blood pressure

- Increases energy and stamina 

- Draws toxins out of muscles, decreasing soreness

- Reduces swelling and inflammation once absorbed through skin

- Exfoliates and softens skin

- Neutralizes foot odor 

Have you tried an epsom salt bath? Leave a comment below about your results and thoughts! 
Today, I had a new client who was very, very sore from a weekend sporting event. Despite harsh conditions (most of it was uphill), terrible weather (it rained the whole time), and the nature of the event (100 miles on a bike), my client was thrilled that he finished. His body, however, was not. 

We discussed how he was feeling, and decided to work with a blend of Swedish and Deep Tissue techniques to reduce inflammation and soreness and speed up recovery time so he could get back on the bike as soon as possible. As I began the session, I realized that ordinary deep tissue techniques, stripping and cross-fiber friction with thumbs and elbows, were not going to get to the root of the problem quickly enough in the 60-minute session. I decided to employ various "pin and stretch," or Active Release Techniques, on the largest problem areas - the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. And boy did it work! By the end of the session, I had significantly loosened the targeted muscles and the client felt much better. 

Sometimes, we massage therapists feel "guilty" for moving a client's limbs around, asking them to contract a muscle, or coaching them through a range of motion. We think that the client should sleep or drift away, and we shouldn't bother moving them from whatever position they feel most comfortable. Today's session proved that gentle movements and stretches are worth it - they can often accomplish more in less time than traditional deep tissue! 

Not sure what A.R.T is? Check out this sample video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M08a3MCK6zo&playnext=1&list=PL9C4486E461380CCB&feature=results_main
Welcome, everyone! I've decided to incorporate a blog to (hopefully) address any questions or concerns my clients have, share the latest and greatest in the massage industry, and continually provide at-home techniques - like stretches - to help you enjoy a pain-free life! 

If there's something you wish to be addressed, or something you feel is left out on the website, please leave a comment!