Should I get swedish or deep tissue massage for my first massage?

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Answered by: Corrine, An Expert in the Massage Therapy Options Category
When getting a massage for the first time, there a few things to consider. First of all, it's ok to be nervous. Remember that your massage therapist sees multiple clients several times a week. They are professionals and are used to first-time clients being a little anxious. It can be nerve racking to be in a small dark room with a stranger, especially when you're undressed under a sheet. Massage therapists are aware of this and will work their hardest to make you feel comfortable.

The therapist will probably ask you if you'd like a Swedish or deep tissue massage. Swedish massage is always a safe choice if you're new to massage or nervous about it. During Swedish massage, the therapist uses broad strokes with light to medium pressure, focusing on relaxation. This is great if you're just looking to relieve stress or loosen tight muscles. This type of work only accesses the superficial layers of muscle and won't leave you feeling sore. Deep tissue is a more focused massage. The therapist uses firm pressure and different techniques to work the underlying layers of muscle. This is very beneficial if you have chronic pain in certain areas or regularly work out. Deep tissue massage is great for athletes or very active people. It's also beneficial if you have a very physical job. There are different variations of deep tissue, like myofascial and sports massage. Your therapist will be able to thoroughly explain each choice.

Whichever massage you choose, you can have a full body session or focus on certain areas such as back and neck. Don't be afraid to tell your therapist if there's an area you'd like them to avoid, like your feet or hands. Most of the time massage does not include work on the abdomen, but if you're concerned about this area, tell your therapist. There will be an intake form for you to fill out before your session that will have a variety of health related questions. This is important information the therapist needs in order for you to get the most out of your session.

Tell your therapist if there are certain areas you'd like extra focus on, as well as any recent injuries or surgeries. The therapist will have a short consultation with you where you can address all your concerns and decide on the type of massage you'd like. He or she will leave the room and allow you to get undressed and lay under the sheets on the table. How much clothes you take off is up to you. The therapist has been trained to work on the body fully undressed or partially clothed. You will always be covered, only the part being worked on is exposed. Some people prefer to leave their undergarments on, but leaving the back completely bare makes it much easier for your therapist to work efficiently. Address any concerns you have regarding this before the session and your therapist will make sure you are completely comfortable.

During the session, don't be afraid to ask for more or less pressure at any point during the massage. The session is for you, so be sure to speak up. After the session, your therapist will go over everything and let you know of any tight areas they may have found. He or she may even show you some stretches or home care that will help enhance the benefits of the massage. Ask any questions you might have and be sure to schedule your next appointment. Once you've experienced massage therapy, you'll definitely want to come back!

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