Relaxation or Restorative Massage - Which one is best for me?

By Kristi Blankenship, Licensed Esthetician & Massage Therapist at Balance Beauty Spa + Wellness


I am often asked this question when clients are trying to determine which type of massage will best support them. My answer is always the same; it depends on how you are feeling in this moment in your body and spirit.


Relaxation massage uses slow, flowing strokes that calm the nervous system and ease tension in the muscles. This type of massage is a great choice if you’ve never had a massage before. It is also great for anyone who isn’t experiencing acute or chronic pain in their body and simply wants to reduce common day to day stress.


Restorative massage is a more customized experience. Maybe you woke up with a stiff neck, recently pulled a hamstring or suffer from chronic low back pain. I use clinical techniques (myofascial release, trigger point, cranial sacral, neuromuscular) to release adhesions (knots) and break up scar tissue in the muscles. Sometimes the spirit also needs restoration. I can incorporate guided meditation, energy work (Reiki), chakra balancing with crystals, smudging with sacred herbs, sound and binaural beat therapy. These techniques can, when combined with massage, help you feel more grounded, emotionally balanced and have greater focus and mental clarity.


Both types of massage can have varying degrees of pressure ranging from light, medium to firm/deep. Over the years I have come to the realization that many clients feel they must ask for a clinical or “deep tissue massage” to get firm pressure. Many clients worry if they ask for relaxation massage they won’t receive firm pressure. This is also true for clients who need a clinical massage but worry they cannot tolerate deep/firm pressure. Some clients cannot reach a state of relaxation without firmer pressure. The use of clinical techniques with a light/medium pressure can provide relief from acute and chronic pain.

Each appointment begins with a healthy conversation about how you are feeling physically and emotionally. I can suggest which massage will support you best in the current moment. You can communicate which amount of pressure you want. We always work together as a team to make sure you feel fully supported each massage. My goal is always for you to leave feeling relaxed, restored and cared for.


Sending healing and peace,

Kristi

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