If you’re considering massage for the first time, or even if you’ve had a little experience but want to do more, you may be wondering whether to choose 1) a back massage, or 2) a full-body massage.
What’s the difference, anyway, and is it a meaningful one? Today we’ll look at these two common terms, and figure out when to order one or the other.
What’s the Difference?
First things first: a back massage is an amazing, wonderful way to release aches, pains, and tension in your back, while a full-body massage is a wonderful way to do the same thing for your body – and yes, that includes your back.
What this means is that when we speak of “back massage,” we’re talking about a massage for your back, including your shoulders and probably the back of your neck.
When we speak of “full-body massage,” we’re including a back massage as part of that. Full-body massages are commonly referred to as “Swedish massages,” by far the most common type of massage.
In Favor of Both Types
Let’s stop here and acknowledge that both types of massage are associated with amazing health benefits.
Both back massage and full-body, Swedish massage can relieve stress and anxiety, leading to greater relaxation and better sleep patterns. Massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with high blood pressure, reduced immune function, and obesity.
This means that in addition to helping you feel much better, either a back massage or a full-body massage has the potential to actually help you to be better. There’s also evidence linking massage to better brainpower and productivity, so in addition to feeling better and being better, you’ll work better, too.
Back Massage: It’s Definitely Got Your Back
What you’re likely to find if you try back massage is that it’s definitely got your back. We carry a lot of stress in our backs – a consequence of our stressful lives and our bipedal gait – and very often, people find that a back massage is all they really need.
If you get a back massage regularly, you’re likely to experience the major health benefits of massage to some degree. Of course, one advantage of a back massage is that because you’re only targeting the back – the main area prone to aches, pains, stress, and tension in most people – you’ll be saving time compared with a full-body massage.
So, if you feel that a back massage is all you need, and especially if you’re pressed for time, this is the way to go.
When to Go Full-Body
The advantage of a full-body massage is that you get to experience all of the same wonderful advantages of a back massage, but over your whole body.
Full-body massages generally start with the back and shoulders, meaning you’ll get a complete back massage, and then go down to the soles of the feet. The therapist then backtracks and massages the neck and shoulders and, depending on your preference, the scalp as well.
So, if you have the time and you can’t get enough of massage, a full-body massage is the way to go. It’s everything there is to love about back massage, but you get to enjoy it even more.