Are you looking to get your first massage in Denver Colorado, but don’t know where to start? With all of the types of massage therapy offered, the quest of finding your perfect therapist can be a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry, it’s easy to know where to search with a few helpful tips on the modalities and purposes of massage according to your specific needs. You live in a city with some of the greatest bodywork practitioners in the nation, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of them and get your first or fiftieth massage while you are here in this beautiful city! It all depends on what you are looking for, so let’s start there! Finding the right Denver massage therapist can be easy, when you know what to look for.

A few of the main reasons people seek out massage therapy is to deal with back pain, migraines, and general muscle tension; however, like most forms of alternative medicine, the benefits far surpass the initial problem that brought you there. Whether you are looking to improve your posture, aid in your body’s recovery from the latest workout craze, or simply unwind after a long day of work, there is a massage for that! Are you a swimmer, a runner, a cyclist, a yogi, a rock climber, a cross fitter, a gymnast, or any kind of athlete looking to improve your body’s performance for that next race or competition: there is a massage for that! Now the question is, do you go for the Deep Tissue Massage that your best friend swears by, the Hot Stone Massage that you saw an ad for in the Westword, the relaxing Swedish Massage from your local spa, or a good rigorous Sports Massage after all that training you’ve been doing? Then there’s Shiatsu, Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Medicated Massage, Feldenkrais Method, Esalen Massage, Thai Massage, Reiki, Lymphatic Drainage, Rolfing, Russian Sports Massage, Reflexology, and Trigger Point Therapy to name a handful of techniques massage therapists are practicing every day! The truth is, there are major benefits to ALL of these, and it would never hurt to try out a new modality at some point in your life to find what works best for you. When it comes to the pressure involved in the massage; the bottom line is your massage therapist is there for you, and will adjust the depth of touch in your session to best meet your needs regardless of what modality you decide to try.

For peace of mind and hopefully getting it right the first time, let’s narrow this down a bit. The most common type of massage offered by most if not all spas is definitely Swedish Massage – no you do not have to be Swedish to receive this massage and no your massage therapist will most likely not be Swedish either! It is a very gentle and soothing style of massage that is wonderful for releasing muscle tension, calming the nervous system, and increasing circulation. Deep Tissue Massage and Sports Massage utilize many of the same techniques from the Swedish Massage, but add much more pressure to the body, target specific tissues at deeper levels in the muscular system, and tend to be a bit more rigorous. Trigger Point Therapy, Shiatsu, and Myofascial Release are great places to start for those looking for less of the “spa massage” and more of what therapists would refer to as “bodywork.” The benefits of having your therapist incorporate Myofascial Release into your session are tremendous to say the least. Fasciae is basically the “tube socks” of thin, membranous tissue surrounding and connecting all of the muscles, tendons, bones, and organs in the body that tend to turn the body into a statue, so to speak, as we get older and less flexible; that is, if we don’t keep moving! Working with the fascia in the body is crucial for increasing range of motion and flexibility in the joints as well as giving the muscles better lubrication to slide past one another, creating less friction, and easing overall mobility. The major conditions that bring people to their Craniosacral Therapist are definitely headaches and migraines. The techniques really are in a league of their own when it comes to this modality that also aids in the treatment of more serious ailments such as trigeminal neuralgia, fibromialgia, brain and spinal cord injuries, strokes, and any kind of central nervous system disorder. Like Swedish Massage, it is a very gentle modality. Subtle pressure at the base of the skull and around the spine relieves tension and creates space for the nervous system to function optimally. Integrative massage is gaining popularity as most people are not fully satisfied by their 100% Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage they got from the 5 star hotel spa downtown. If you are searching for something a little more therapeutic to help you best achieve your wellness goals, consider finding a licensed massage therapist that will work with you regularly and specifically cater to your needs as an individual. Most private practice massage studios, chiropractor’s offices, and wellness centers bring on skilled massage therapists that are much more “client care” conscious than spas, meaning they will want to track your progress with active notes and charts, offer at home stretches, advise on icing and heating tense areas of the body, and will consistently evolve the massages as you build a rapport.

Remember: Massage is not just a luxury to be enjoyed by the 1% on a ritzy vacation! The Mayo Clinic recognizes Massage Therapy as Alternative and Complementary Medicine and it’s awesome that you have taken the time to do some research before you schedule your appointment! The goal is to find that massage therapist that will best support your needs and add him or her to your team of people that want to see you happy and healthy! If you don’t get it right the first time, don’t be discouraged and treat it as a learning experience. There is a massage therapist out there just for you!

Thank you for your time and happy searching!

-Matthew Behr NCMT/LMT