You've been experiencing mild back pain for quite some time but figured eventually it would just go away, right? The only thing is, instead of disappearing on its own it's actually gotten worst and now you need to hire a professional to help and you aren’t sure if you need a massage therapist or a masseuse.
Massage therapy is an incredible tool that can be used to treat countless issues and the underlying conditions that cause them. However, it's very important to find the right person for your specific needs and the correct type of massage therapy.
This post will explore the differences between a masseuse and a massage therapist and the different types of massage. After reading this, you will know what to look for in a professional massage therapist and be able to make informed choices about your treatment plan and health.
Massage Therapist vs. Masseuse
The term masseuse is actually a French word that refers to a woman who practices massage. In Canada, most provinces have licensing requirements that must be met before a practitioner (a 'masseuse' or 'masseur') can be called a Massage Therapist.
Students must complete 2200 hours of academic coursework and learn both anatomy and physiology, as well as the application of massage and bodywork, business and ethics, and specialized massage techniques. After these steps are complete, students must pass an exam to become fully certified in Alberta.
The most important takeaway is that a trained and certified massage therapist is likely to be the best person to address your health concerns and their underlying issues because they have formal training.
Types of Massage Therapy Techniques
There are so many different modalities of massage and they all address specific health issues. Popular ones (and types you might be familiar with) include deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, acupressure, Swedish massage, Shiatsu, sports massage, and more.
Most massage therapists choose a type of massage to specialize in and then seek out continuing education to become further specialized in their particular field. Each type of massage is unique and different people prefer different types.
How Do I Know What Type Of Massage To Get?
There are hundreds of different types of massage techniques that provide numerous benefits and can treat a host of health issues. How do you know which type to choose?
One of the best ways is to first figure that out is to determine what result you are looking for from massage.
Are you seeking out massage to treat chronic pain or an old sports injury that has recently flared up? Are you looking to unwind after a stressful week or treat daily anxiety? Are you struggling with indigestion or gut health issues? Are you wanting to treat a specific health condition like TMJ or Sciatica? The purpose of your visit and your desired outcome will help you choose the right massage treatment method.
The most common types of massage are Swedish massage and hot stone massage. These types of massage are often used to unwind and relax.
Deep tissue massage, on the other hand, applies strong pressure to specific trigger points on the body and is less relaxing. After a deep tissue massage, you will often feel sore and tired but it is a great technique to treat specific areas of the body.
Shiatsu is another common massage technique. It combines gentle stretches with finger pressure to work on different pressure points on the body. Shiatsu works to fix and rebalance the flow of energy in the body similar to acupuncture.
Sports massage is often used by athletes before or after a game to prevent or treat injuries. Sports massage combines various massage techniques and concentrates on the area of the body most used in that particular sport.
For a more complete list of the different types of massage therapy techniques and what they are used for, I recommend reading this article by Life Hacker.
Best Message Therapist West Edmonton
There you have it — the main difference between a masseuse and a massage therapist is formal training.
If you are looking for a registered and licenced massage professional who has a full understanding of the body and is well-versed in different modalities and techniques, I highly recommend reaching out to a local massage therapist.
For even further peace of mind, it never hurts to ask what types of training and ongoing learning a massage therapist has undergone recently. The best massage therapist will be committed to their craft and will always be learning and working to improve the quality of care they give their patients.
I have been practicing massage therapy in Edmonton for many years now and pride myself on the beautiful space and the dedicated care I offer my patients. I offer Swedish massage, hot stone massage, deep tissue massage as well as acupuncture and electroacupuncture.
When I bring on a new patient, the most important thing for me is understanding what their goals are out of treatment and what massage modality will best support their journey.
If you are looking for a trained massage therapist in West Edmonton, my private clinic is just 10 minutes from West Edmonton Mall. I am happy to provide a complimentary consultation over the phone or in person.