Stressed? Try a Relaxation or Deep Tissue Massage

By Shelley Cowley and Ross Ashcraft

Stress is America’s number one health problem.  It is a difficult physical ailment for professionals to deal with because its root is a mind/body problem.  Some stress increases productivity and performance but too much stress can have “distressing” effects on the body.  In this article I will explain the effects of stress turned distress on the body and how massage therapy can decrease distress itself and the negative physical effects it has on the body.

Some stress is good in situations in which one must perform and/or produce.  The nervousness one feels prior to an exam or a sporting event in which one is competing for example increases productivity and performance.  When normal stress turns to “distress” the effects on the body can be dangerous and severe including stomach ulcers, digestive problems, high blood pressure, insomnia and premature aging to name a few.  Stress is worsened with the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs – which many people turn to in stressful times.  “The Occupational

Swedish massage is an excellent treatment for stress.  During a typical massage session a relaxation massage therapists’ goal is to assist his or her stressed client into achieving total relaxation.  For the most part the calming maneuvers of the Swedish massage coupled with aromatherapy, dim lighting, and no talking will assist the client in finding a peaceful place from which to handle their next day. Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as declared stress a workplace hazard which causes American industry over 300 billion dollars annually.”

If a client has worked himself or herself into a state of stress that the relaxation massage therapist cannot help them with, they need to consider a strong approach.  I recommend a deep tissue or therapeutic massage.  This massage can push deep into the adhesion and the possible underlying trauma that may be holding the stress.  Deep Tissue Massage can assist in relieving the stress itself or the physical effects of the stress on the body.

In order to find a massage therapist who can help you or someone you care about assist with your stress, search online for reputable therapists in your city or contact a local massage therapy school for referrals.  Many times, appointments can be arranged through the local massage therapy school with students who must complete so many hours giving massages prior to being able to graduate.

Feedback:  Please describe your favorite massage.  The massage you have or would go back again and again to receive.  Tell us about the atmosphere, the therapist, and would would make it special.

19 thoughts on “Stressed? Try a Relaxation or Deep Tissue Massage”

  1. I would get a hot stone massage from Shelly of course. 😉 I would like candles and nice relaxing music and soft sheets.

  2. My favorite type of massage is deep tissue or a strong Swedish massage. The atmosphere I like is relaxing. I like dim lighting, soft music playing (preferably nature sounds mixed with wind instruments or a piano), and no talking (or as close to no talking as I can get). When I go to a spa for a massage I normally request it to be an hour and a half to two hours. It’s definitely more expensive but it is totally worth it.

  3. My favorite massage is deep tissue massage. The deeper the better is my opinion (of course telling the therapist if it’s too deep and causing extreme pain). I had a deep tissue massage once from a therapist and she was very good about finding my pressure points and released most of them. What made it relaxing was her hands were soft and didn’t smell like smoke, her breath didn’t wreak, her hands were steady, and i could feel her relaxation transferring through my body as she was massaging. The lighting was at a perfect dim and the music was soothing. this is the kind of massage I want every time!

  4. I have only had 2 kinds of massage and although they only went to certain levels, I believe the swedish massage is awesome! I would love to try the hot stone. I would love a very dim light, with nice music like I heard today in lab and if i feel like talking that day then so be it, if I don’t then i’m fine with that also!

  5. I really like a sports massage. Being an athlete, I really need to be stretched and torqued but have difficultly doing it myself. Before or After an event, it feels really good when and MT can really stretch out your muscles. Good ones will add a little bit of the Swedish techniques during the session. I feel that my teenager can give me a pretty good massage that I would pay $60 for, but he can not give me a proper sports massage. I like dance music or 80’s played during this session. Dim lighting is great, but I want the room very warm. I do not really like talking during this session because it takes a lot of concentration on my part to breathe correctly. It is not an easy massage to give, especially for an hour, so I want the MT to also be focused and relaxed. I like my sessions to be an hour/1/2 because I ask for 30 min of Swedish to just relax me. Cost is more, but very well worth it. It is new for me to have the public perform this type of massage on me, because I am used to a sport team MT that is also an Athletic Trainer or Physical Therapy that has additional training. They were free, so I do not tend to get these very often, but would love to be a guinea pig for anyone who wants to practice.

  6. My favorite massage is a pregnancy massage. I think they are so comfortable and relaxing even when you aren’t pregnant 🙂 I also really like deep tissue. I guess it depends on my mood that day. The atmosphere of course I would like it to be relaxing and welcoming. I agree with Anna on the soft sheets and candles. Maybe some lavender scent!

  7. My personal favorite massage to receive is deep tissue. I completely believe massage can help de-stress. I have been really stressed with my job and receiving massages in class and giving massages seems to completely change my day and really help me de-stress and sleep better too!

  8. I don’t know that I’ve had the perfect massage yet. The closest experience was a great deep tissue massage. The massage itself was fantastic but the table was uncomfortable and the music was distracting. My liking of a setting is largely tied to lighting and music. I have a strong dislike for florescent (harsh) lighting. I like most lighting dim and indirect. Also, when it comes to “relaxing” music, some is way too busy for me. I like really simple rhythmic relaxation music / sounds. I’m also a fan of really soft sheets, warm wall colors, and spearmint & eucalyptus scent. A perfect massage would be a deep tissue massage or, depending on the need, a Swedish massage with strong pressure. I’m not always at a tension level needing deep tissue but extremely gentle massage strokes are not relaxing for me.

  9. I’ve only had a few massages outside of class and it was a friend I went to. So I don’t really have much to compare and contrast with to pick a favorite. Tho i do have to say the most relaxed I have gotten to feel has been during class. I have trouble relaxing if someone touches me (past abuse problems) but I’m working on opening myself up. It was Shelly that got me to actually relax. she was doing some trigger point on a knot in my shoulder and i relaxed so much that i didn’t even feel her working the area til the know popped. I didn’t want to get off the table that day. She was working on her level of massage (i was already reluctant to get on the table because of lady problems). she kept a nice pace and used a nice light touch since i was feeling sensitive that day, and before i knew it i was relaxed and not even noticing my cramps.

  10. My favorite massage would have to be the Swedish massage, I love the gliding feel of all the movements especially the effleurage down the back. The type of atmosphere I like is well to be blunt it is sound I love sound effects during the massage. My number 1 favorite sound has to be rain or the rain forest. Dim lighting has to be my favorite. The therapist could be anyone as long as they know what they are doing. I have not had a professional massage in my life. To make the massage special I would like to have my wife with me “A Couples Massage” I feel that it would add more energy into the room and further benefit the massage greatly.

  11. I like Deep tissue massage to release all the toxins in my muscles. Which would include aromatherapy to help me relax and soft music to not focus on the hurt but feel good pain of toxins that is being released and dim lights just to have a calming effect. By the way I love this blog because it is so true also I loved the pictures.

  12. The massage I like the most is the Swedish massage I enjoy it when there is enough pressure to help but not so much it hurts. I like deep pressure except in my mid-back and my IT band those are the only ares that are sensitive. I like music without words only because sometimes the words in a song can mess up the atmosphere, I like dim lighted rooms because when I turn on to my back the light hurts my eyes! I use to choose a male therapist but have met a few woman where I couldn’t really tell the difference.

  13. I would like a Swedish massage. I don’t really like too much deep tissue but a little bit is fine. I would like Native American music to be playing, a nice earthy scent in the air, and candle light. I would like to try the hot stones as well 🙂 I am excited to learn how to use them.

  14. I like to add aromatherapy to my massage because certain smells make me feel better. Dragonsblood or lemongrass are two that seem to change my mood for the better. I also like petrassuage on the medial side of my scapula and some deep tissue there especially on the right side. There are a lot of knots there and these, when massage, can be felt on my right side clear up to my occipital. During this time I like to have music playing. The soundtrack to the movie “Medicine Man” is one of my favorites. I haven’t tried hot stone therapy yet but I’ve been told it’s wonderful, I can hardly wait.

  15. My perfect massage would have to be a combination of deep tissue and relaxation; the best of both words. I don’t require too many extras. As long as I’m warm and the music is good I’m more than content with my massage.

  16. I luv aromatherapy wraps!!!! Just the heat and the scent of the essential oil. the lights very dim and relaxation softly playing in the background. THAT IS RELAXATION!!!!!

  17. My favorite type is deep tissue and Swedish massage. I like it relaxing I like the lighting, soft music playing i like water sounds, and i prefer a male therapist or a skinny woman therapist.

  18. My favorite massage that I have ever received was preformed by a student in California. She did a typical swedish massage with stretching. My favorite part was when she did some stretching, at the time I really needed that and it helped me a lot. I was having some back pains at the time so she did some extra work on my back and it really helped me a lot. The atmosphere was dim lighting, no music and pretty plain.

  19. I have not really ever had a massage professionally done. School is the pretty much the only place I have ever had a massage. The best massage that comes to mind right off hand is the week I spent completely in lab once I was back from leave of abscence. I was on audit that week and I met Angel for the first time. She worked on my back for thirty min and it was wonderful! The class size was big but I believe it was a rainy/chilly day, all was quiet, and the music was perfect.