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Anatomy of a Stress Relief Massage Therapy Session

April is Stress Awareness Month! Let's talk a little bit about the effects massage therapy has on stress and what techniques are responsible for giving you that relaxing and stress relieving experience massage therapy is most commonly known for. If you are seeking massage therapy to help with decreasing stress, here are a few things you should know.


In relation to managing stress, massage therapy has been researched and has been show to have the following benefits:

  • Increases over-all relaxation

  • Decreases resting muscle tension

  • Boosts your mood (in relation to a depressed mood)

  • Decreases pain

  • Deactivates trigger points

Often times we hear from clients that they receive mixed results when seeking massage for stress relief. While there are many reasons why this may be the case, understanding the type of technique the therapist uses during your session can be a good start to finding the result you are looking for.


So, let's start with the techniques. The following techniques have been shown to produce the following stress-relieving benefits when applied by a skilled massage therapist. It is most often a combination of these techniques based on the feedback you give your massage therapist that will be most likely to produce the result you want from your massage session.


To increase over-all relaxation...and decrease resting muscle tension....

  • Effleurage

  • Petrissage

  • Stripping

  • Specific Compression

  • Myofascial Release

  • Direct Fascial Technique

  • Rhythmic Mobilization

  • Rocking

  • Shaking

To boost your mood....

  • Percussive Techniques

To decrease pain...

  • Superficial Effleurage

  • Myofascial Release

  • Direct Fascial Technique

  • Shaking

  • Rhythmic Mobilization

To deactivate trigger points...

  • Trigger Point Pressure Release

  • Specific Compression

  • Petrissage

  • Stripping

  • Cross-Fiber Strokes

  • Friction

  • Direct Fascial Techniques

  • Myofascial Release

  • Passive Stretching

  • Skin Rolling

Generally speaking if a massage service is listed as a relaxation or stress relief massage session, some of these techniques will most likely be part of the session. Look for a therapist that knows how to apply a combination of these techniques based on your feedback. Your feedback about which technique does and does not work for you are key to receiving the outcome you are looking for during a massage session.


At Urban Massage, we offer Massage for Stress Relief services. If you feel you need a more customized approach to your session to find exactly which combination of these techniques work for you, start with our Massage + Consult service to get a customized session recommendation that you can use to ensure you have the techniques applied that work best for you no matter which massage therapist you schedule with.


If you are struggling with mental health, you are not alone. While massage therapy can help positively impact your mood and decrease your overall stress levels, massage therapists are not licensed mental health professionals. Find more general resources for mental health here. For those nearer to Grand Rapids, MI here are a few local resources.

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