The Differences Between a Relaxation Massage and a Therapeutic Massage

All massages including rubbing, pressing, and manipulation of muscles and tissue. However, vastly different techniques and amounts of pressure are used to achieve specific therapeutic outcomes. Indeed, although both a relaxation massage and a therapeutic massage will provide health benefits including improved circulation, release from muscle stiffness, and stress relief, therapeutic massages go a step further. As such they are often one therapy in an integrative approach to treating specific injuries and conditions. Read on to learn more about the difference between a relaxation massage and a therapeutic massage.

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What is a Relaxation Massage?

The objective of a relaxation massage such as a Swedish massage is to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Relaxation massages are also recommended for general aches and pains. The massage techniques include long, smooth strokes coupled with kneading to help relax tense or tight muscles. Cross-fiber strokes may also be used in these full-body massages. Relaxation massages may include the use of hot stones or aromatherapy.

What is a Therapeutic Massage?

The term “therapeutic massage” is an umbrella term for all massage therapy techniques that focus on treating specific injuries or condition. The goals of therapeutic massages may range from loosening stiff joints to improving range of motion, or correcting posture and promoting healing from injuries  To that end, specific types of therapeutic massage techniques include:

Sports Massage

A sports massage is often prescribed to people who have suffered an overuse injury.  Sports massage helps to stimulate circulation which can expedite recovery times. Sports massages can also soften scar tissue, keeping muscles healthy and preventing future injuries. 

Trigger Point Therapy (Trigger Point Massage)

Chronic pain and specific injuries can lead to stiffness and tightness in areas of the muscles known as trigger points. Trigger point therapy focuses on applying varying degrees of pressure on the trigger point to release tension and stiffness.

Craniosacral Massage

Craniosacral massage involves gentle manipulation of the bones in the spine, pelvis, and skull. Patients who suffer from gastrointestinal conditions including constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome may find relief from this type of massage. It is also recommended for headaches, generalized pain, and pain stemming from scoliosis. 

Myofascial Release

The connective tissue that contains the muscles is called the fascia. Patients suffering from stiffness, including those who work out regularly, often benefit from myofascial release, which focuses on stretching tight areas in the muscles. 

Neuromuscular Therapy

Neuromuscular massage therapy aims to correct pain due to a neurological, nerve, or circulatory problem. It is commonly prescribed to patients to treat back pain.   

Myoskeletal Alignment Technique

This type of massage identifies problems with posture and uses myofascial techniques to improve range of motion, release trapped nerves, and help to reduce pain from joint and tendon pain. 

Book a Relaxing or Therapeutic Massage in Eugene

About Touch Massage & Acupuncture provides both relaxation and therapeutic massages in Eugene, OR.  Our licensed and experienced massage therapists are dedicated to helping you relax, recover, and rejuvenate through massage therapy. Book your appointment online or call 541-484-3055 to schedule your massage.


I have gone to About Touch two different times. The office is small yet comfortable. I have low back and hip issues from a previous car accident a couple years ago and both times I went in tight and hurting and came out feeling much better. I would and have highly recommend this place to anyone looking for massage therapy.
I have been going to Jennifer for therapeutic massage for 7 years. I am so glad we found About Touch! Jennifer helped get my husband back to health after he broke his back. We have bought several gift certificates for friends and family. They have all loved to receive a massage as a gift!

Elena is amazing. Not only did her massage work help my back recover from two years of limping on an injured foot, she also gave me resources to help myself. She’s a natural educator who explained the physiology of my back like no other healthcare provider has done. I wouldn’t hesitate to refer others to Elena and About Touch.

Jennifer is wonderful. She’s always very good at finding my sore spots and seems to intuitively know the right amount of pressure to use. I highly recommend her services.
I stumbled upon About Touch on Google. I made an appointment with Sarah. One massage and I was hooked! I cancelled all of my current massages and now see Sarah on a regular basis. I don’t know what I would do without Sarah and her amazing hands & feet!
Incredibly serene massage experience. I felt like a rubber band walking out of here.


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