• James Barker, DC MS

Are All Massage Therapists The Same?



A Licenced Massage Therapist. What’s in your LMT’s Toolkit?

By Katie Hosick, LMT Owner Vital Energy Wellness


Surprisingly there are still individuals who think of massage as only a luxury. There are numerous massage modalities and practitioner styles that make up an LMT’s tool kit. What makes a Therapeutic massage different from a Swedish massage? Why do some prefer one over the other?


Let's break down the basics so that you are more aware of what to expect or what to ask for (and why), regardless if you have never had a massage, or get them frequently, but are never really quite satisfied.


Swedish Massage (Relaxing)

  • Swedish Massage is long, connecting strokes with minimal muscle manipulation.

  • Swedish Massage is great for people whose nervous system is frazzled.

  • Swedish Massage is great for people who have sluggish circulation.

  • Swedish Massage is great for lymphatic drainage.

  • Swedish Massage helps to improve sleep.

  • Swedish Massage is great for improving mood and releasing endorphins.


Deep Tissue/Trigger Point Massage (Therapeutic)

  • Therapeutic Massage combines deep tissue and trigger point therapy to manipulate the muscle tissue and adhesions promoting relief.

  • Therapeutic Massage helps to relieve muscle tension, improve posture, minimize headaches, and chronic pain.

  • Therapeutic Massage elongates muscles and improves range of motion.

  • Therapeutic Massage can increase blood flow and promote the healing of injuries.

  • Therapeutic Massage helps to relieve emotional stress that is stuck in the body.

  • Therapeutic Massage helps to improve mood, energy, and sleep.


Most people have had either one type of massage OR the other. Rarely does an LMT know how to integrate both Swedish AND Therapeutic to offer a relaxing AND therapeutic massage. A great LMT will know where the typical muscle adhesions are, be able to release them with minimal pain, and integrate Swedish Massage so that the client receives the benefits of both a Relaxing and a Therapeutic Massage. A Therapeutic Massage does not have to be painful to be effective. Elbows are NOT an effective method for relief. If the client can not relax, breath, and enjoy the massage fully, the body will not receive the proper message. A seasoned LMT will use both skill and intuition to listen to what the body is saying, and deliver the best massage for each specific clients needs. The more you tell your LMT prior to starting, the better. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you like, what you don't like, and what you don’t know! Massage can be life changing. Don't give up until you find the perfect fit. Good Luck!





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