New clients who have a history of spa massages always extol the benefits of a therapeutic massage. Though similar in origin, both formats seek vastly different results.
Spa massages are a wonderful, relaxing treat, especially when you have done something special or want to celebrate. These occasional self-indulgences usually offer other gratifying services such as makeovers, hairstyling, and manicures. The massage is light, fluffy and relaxing. By design it avoids addressing any major health concerns. Sometimes you may even want a body scrub to enhance your perceived radiance.
Though a therapeutic massage practitioner may approach the body in a manner similar to the spa-masseuse, the therapist’s goal is health and stress-reduction, not simple relaxation. The therapist wants to know about the client’s lifestyle and health maintenance in order to provide information and services helpful to the client. The therapist addresses the shoulders, neck, back or foot problems more clinically than a spa masseuse, and tries to determine the root causes of discomfort while considering all available treatment options. Since these providers are more focused on your overall health (not just helping you relax), they can help you form healthy habits to prevent any future discomfort. Because therapeutic massages are often less expensive than those at spas, there is an added value to the treatment. Finally the therapeutic massage therapist seeks to help you live more healthily, which means that you should visit regularly instead of just for special occasions.
Both types of massage have their purposes, but it is important to understand the differences when you seek health and relaxation.