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Question: What kind of massage is best for someone who carries a lot of tension in their shoulders?

Asked by MelanieJayne 5 years ago

32 answers

I've never had a massage before and want something which will really iron out the 'knots' in my shoulder muscles, as they're extremely tense?

Therapeutic Massage

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Natha 5 years ago

For someone who has never had a massage before, I would highly recommend starting out slowly with a massage style that is gentle, like a Swedish massage of firm pressure with emphasis on the neck and shoulder region. A good therapist will ask you where your areas of complaint are so that you get relief out of the therapy. There are many muscles that are involved in the movements of the neck and shoulder so you would most likely have to return for more visits, especially if you are doing something to cause the problem, which is often postural or stress related. Another thing that you can do to help yourself at home would be to apply heat to the shoulder region, like with a heating pad. You may still feel soreness in the muscles, even with a Swedish massage, so don't be alarmed. Your muscles are just relaxing and releasing toxins. Once you are comfortable with the Swedish and feel it is not giving you enough relief, you can then move onto Sports, Deep Tissue, or Myofascial Release. Some other types of massage to try are acupressure, Shiatsu, Tui Na, or Foot Reflexology. They can help release tension through meridian work and pressure points.

Other answers (31)

JLWmassage 5 years ago

Myofascial release or deep tissue massage

PureMassageTherapy 5 years ago

I personally use a variety of techniques depending on the clients specific needs. If your muscles are just tight I may use Myofacial release and if you have any scar tissure I would also use deep tissue and maybe some trigger point therapy as well. Becuase eveyones situation/needs are different it's hard to determine what style of massage is needed until seeing whats going on first hand. FYI... just becuase you're feeling the tension in your upper back/shoulders, the problem may actually be else where and the tension you're feeling can be secondary to the inital dysfunction. Poor posture is a huge contributor to create tension in that area. Just make sure you see a therapist who can properly determine the cause of your tension. Hope that helps?!

Answer Comments

5 years ago

Thank you. I have read every answer to this question and you are the only one who suggested finding the CAUSE of the "knots" (which, incidentally, "knots" can be very subjective...what does that mean to the client? One man's "knot" is another man's scar tissue from a torn rotator cuff muscle(s)...)
Anyway, I have found time and time again that hypertonicities in the thoracic and cervical region are often due to either forward-head posture (and resulting lengthened rhomboid and shortened pectoralis muscles) or hyperkyphotic curvature in the thoracic spine--both of which I would treat differently.
The suggestion of finding a therapist who can properly determine the cause of tension is the best one I've seen here!

crystalbass 5 years ago

Trigger point therapy and deep tissue massage. Followed up by an awesome Hot Stone Massage!

TammyT 5 years ago

Deep tissue massage. Along with some triggerpoint works wonders on knots in the shoulders and back.

JinaSmithLMT 5 years ago

if you have never had massage before, I think it is best to start with a one hour full body swedish massage with firmer pressure to your problem areas. This type of massage helps flush toxins from our muscle tissue without making you sore. Then you can start getting deeper work on just your problem areas with 1/2 hour sessions or continue with full body. A good therapist should recommend this. They should also offer stretches that would help your problem areas. It is always better to start slower with less pressure, doing deep work right off can cause bruising and uncomfortable soreness. make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your session to help the body flush out those toxins.

Head2Toes 5 years ago

I wouldn't advise myofacial release, unless you had previous injuries, but deep tissue or sports massage may be the way to go for chronic shoulder problems. However, not everyone enjoys deep tissue work, and you may need a combination of swedish and deep tissue to meet your needs. I would advise you to find someone that is comfortable and knowledgable with that type of work, and give it a try. Hope it helps.

SereneEscapes 5 years ago

I would do a deep tissue massage but use hot stones in conjunction with it. The heat can help relieve some of the tension at a much deeper tissue level than just the massage itself.

HPhillips 5 years ago

I would say a Swedish to a deep tissue. If you have never had a deep tissue before I would not recommend that you get one that is to deep that can actually make you score. Just tell the therapist it's your first one and they can adjust the pressure to fit your needs. Good luck...Massage can help you for sure!

kgline 5 years ago

Neuromusclar and myofascial release is best for shoulders and tension.

FourHandBlissMassage 5 years ago

All massage is good to iron out massage, however if you are extremely tense you should think about deep tissue massage or thai. Alternatively, you can go for a nice relaxing (less pressurised) swedish hollistic massage that should soothe and relax your whole body.

massagesforladies 5 years ago

As you never had a massage before, i will start with a nice soft relaxing massage, then then get in to deep tissue.

Sources: http://www.welbeingmassage.com

Topebeauty 5 years ago

aromatherapy massage.your therapist can adapt it slightly to incorporate a bit of Swedish or deep tissue massage.but essential oils will relax you and help your muscles respond better to the treatment

Sources: http://beautytherapyandspraytan.co.uk/

McGeorgemobilemassage 5 years ago

entle massage in to therputic and possibly some light roughling

Jamina826 5 years ago

i would advise u to definitely start out with Swedish massage. it's very gentle, superficial massage.

SynergyHealingMassage 5 years ago

If you have never had a massage before, I would talk to the massage therapist about the knots in your shoulder and have her (or him) determine what kind of pressure is needed. Usually the knots in your shoulders are due to stress and build up over time...unfortunately, it will take a few sessions to work them out. Moist heat would be a good option to loosen the muscles before you go see the massage therapist and is good maintenance after the massage. Make sure the heat isn't too much where it will burn your skin, but enough to loosen up the muscle. Hope this helps! In relaxation...Synergy Healing

andys 5 years ago

Hello Melanie Jayne, try a sports massage these are really good for tense and tight muscles. The sports therapists deal a lot with this sort of condition and know by the condition of the muscles just how much your body can take. Give it a try and you will feel much better. Kind regards Andrew

ChristinaMustoeLMT 5 years ago

I use trigger point therapy, cupping threapy (a legal derivitave of fire cupping for LMTs to use), and hot stones. This usually does the trick. of course use some petrisage, and efflurage will make the client feel wonderful. Good Luck! ~Christina~

Reformednurse 5 years ago

There is no "best" for everyone. It really depends on how tense, how knotted, and how damaged the area is. I agree you should start light and go deep. Find someone who is very experienced and go from there. It's hard to second guess someone who has met you and done an intake to learn more about the problem.

Valdamar 5 years ago

That's a VERY common issue, any good therapist will have experience with this and can help you out. But I agree with many of the comments ease into a deep tissue. I'd even work in some Neuro Muscular techniques to release the tension and knots and finish with a soothing Swedish to ease the stress.

Margie 5 years ago

I highly recommend medium to deep tissue massage with focus on your upper trapz (shoulders) neck and low back.

Ambition 5 years ago

For your shoulder complaint I would definitely consider sports and remedial massage. Even if you have never had a massage before your therapist should be able to work fairly deep, but still within your pain threshold.
A good Sports Massage therapist would use different bodywork techniques such as Neuromuscular technique (NMT) or Trigger Point therapy, Soft Tissue Release, Muscle Energy Technique(MET). These are great tension release techniques extremely efficient for stiff shoulders.

KristieMaloney 5 years ago

While deep tissue would be useful, it can potentially be intense if you do not have a practiced practitioner who "listens" to your muscles. I often find the fastest and most pleasant method of "ironing out knots" is using hot stone massage therapy. However, any type of massage should address your issues, as the shoulders are one of the most common problem spots on everyone! Just find a therapist you feel comfortable with, and talk to them about styles available.

rickjohnson 5 years ago

Pick the therapist, not the therapy. Leave the type of massage up to the professional, who knows what you need at the time of treatment. Have the therapist lay out a plan of treatment for you based on his assessment of your physical condition. R. Johnson LMT

Steve1 5 years ago

Sports massage therapy is ideal for the 'knots' in your shoulders. Once the massage therapist has warmed up the muscles surrounding the area of trouble they will find these 'knots' and use different techniques depending on the cause of the problem. They can not only fix the problem but find the underlying cause and treat that as well. You will feel fantastic afterwards and completly relaxed. I hope this has helped

Register11 5 years ago

Hey Melanie,
Deep tissue is one of the best massages for knots in your upper back. Deep tissue consists of getting deep into the myofascia and releasing any tension help into the muscles. Most areas people have tension within their upper back are the trapezius, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and muscles around or near the scapula bone. After a deep tissue massage i would recommend drinking lots of water because your muscle is like a sponge and also releases lactic acid and other toxins to rehabilitate your muscles and relax them. Also a great thing to do to relax your muscles is sitting in a really nice hot bath or hottub to create vasodilation and circulate your blood throughout your whole body. I hope this helps, Reg Mangone CMT

jolanda 5 years ago

The best type of massage for tension in the shoulders would be neuromuscular, and deep tissue. I would trreat the muscles related by using five techniques that are used in neuro, and they consist of fascia warming, stripping, compression, friction, and flushing. These strokes are slow, and allow more pressure. I would also use hot stones, as heat works well with relieving pressure and pain.

shawneekl 5 years ago

I have had good luck with a very gentle rolling technique. It is actually a dry massage technique, but I use it in most of my other massages. It helps the muscles relax and not fight the therapist and very good for a first timer.

Dionna 5 years ago

either a full body massage or just a back massage would work for you it up to you and how much you are willing to pay

XiaoYing 5 years ago

My recommendation is to begin a gentle but deep massage. After one or two sessions of this type of massage (eg, lomi lomi nui) ... move on to one of the best: Chinese Tui Na. Later, continue with Traditional Thai Massage.
Yours is a "process." Soft Start to access the middle level. After therapeutic.
For questions, consult us more specifically.
However, my recommendation is that you get in the hands of a very good professional.
Warm regards and best fast and well.
Xiao Ying

Sources: http://www.masajexiaoying.es.tl

darcadi 2 years ago

Something that has really helped me is The Stress Press. It's a massage tool that helps relieve stress and tension knots by focusing on trigger points. It's inexpensive and works wonders! Try it! http://www.thestresspress.com

Sources: http://www.thestresspress.com

sherrirubidoux 5 years ago

Just a regular massage would work. Just tell the therapist where you want their focus. There are some good stretches a thrapist can do with your neck and arms that can really get into those areas in your shoulders. You don't nessesarily need deep tissue, unless it is comfertable for you. Always make sure and let a therapist know if it's too much pressure, or even if you want more. I hope this helps you.

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