A spa in Norristown, PA

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What is a Swedish style massage?

Swedish massage is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, according to the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, as well as to relieve depression and anxiety and aid in recuperation from chronic illness. Swedish massage is also referred to as classical massage, and — contrary to popular understanding — does not originate from Sweden. There are five main strokes, or movements, that make up a Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Each technique was created to help soothe, stimulate, soften, and rejuvenate muscles and other soft tissue.

During a Swedish style massage, the client will lie on a massage table in a comfortable position — usually facedown to start. Clients can choose to be clothed or nude; if they are nude, the massage therapist will drape them with a cloth so they are never exposed. A Swedish massage typically lasts from 45 to 120 minutes, depending on client need and pricing agreement. During the massage, the therapist typically employs all of the stroke techniques as a way to ease any tension in the body. Swedish massage is one of the most gentle types of massage and is known for being soothing and relaxing.

What is pregnancy massage?

Pregnancy massage is a therapeutic massage tailored specifically to the needs of a pregnant woman’s body. Before having a prenatal massage, always check in with your prenatal care provider and ask if massage therapy will be safe for you and your pregnancy. A pregnancy massage is much more than just an indulgence. The specialized strokes and techniques used to loosen tight muscles, reduce swelling, alleviate pressure, and ease tension provide positive health benefits for both you and your baby. Experts recommend finding a massage therapist who has received additional training on prenatal massage techniques. This is typically a certification above and beyond their standard massage therapy certification and training requirements. During the massage you will likely lie on your side or in a semi-reclined position; these supported poses keep you and the baby comfortable and free from strain or undue pressure. During the massage, the therapist will listen to what body challenges you are experiencing and work to release tension. The massage should be a relaxing and very soothing experience.

What is Thai massage?

Thai massage, also called Thai yoga massage, combines acupressure and assisted yoga postures. Thai massage is based on the flow of energy through the body and focuses on energy lines called “sen.” It doesn’t use oils or lotions and, instead of rubbing muscles, the massage therapist compresses, pulls, stretches and rocks the recipient’s body to promote the flow of energy through these sen. In this form of massage therapy, practitioners use their hands, knees, legs and feet to apply deep muscle compression and stretch the body. It’s often performed on a mat on the floor instead of on a massage table. Like most forms of massage, Thai massage is used to relieve stress, improve range of motion and enhance flexibility. Some people also use Thai massage to address a range of health issues, including:  

  • Relieving tension headaches
  • Decreasing back pain
  • Reducing joint stiffness and pain
  • Stimulating circulation and lymphatic drainage
  • Boosting energy

Because a traditional Thai massage session covers all of the muscles in your body, it typically lasts 90 minutes to 120 minutes.

What is a facial?

A facial is a restorative cosmetic treatment for the skin on your face. Facials can be performed by a licensed cosmetician, esthetician, dermatologist or other qualified provider. Spas,  medi-spas and other skin care centers offer facials. Most offer different types of facials that address the most pressing skin care needs such aging, dryness, sagging, pigmentation, etc.

The national average cost for a facial is $60-$80. More complex facials, such as microdermabrasion or chemical peel, will cost more, as will services provided by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The products used can also affect the cost of your facial; high-end creams and serums will likely result in a higher cost. For most non-medical facials, the practitioner will perform a skin assessment, determining your skin type and learning about your lifestyle, diet and skin care concerns. Then the facialist will cleanse and exfoliate the skin, extract any blackheads and clear clogged pores, give a facial massage, apply a treatment mask and then apply moisturizers. Typically facials are relaxing and restorative, leaving your skin clear and dewy.

What is a deep tissue full body massage?

A deep tissue full body massage is a form of healing bodywork. At your first massage, your massage therapist will do a brief intake. They will ask you questions about the type of pressure you’d like to receive during your deep tissue massage, any previous massage experience you’ve had, and any injuries or sensitivities you have. You can remain clothed, or the massage therapist will provide draping so that even if you’re not wearing clothes you are always fully covered. Deep tissue massage may be a good option for people with chronic pain or muscle tension. The systematic deep tissue strokes will work to break down any scar tissue or stiff tissues and create ease in your body again. Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, fists and knuckles to knead and stroke your muscles and loosen adhesions. Although deep tissue massage work is intense, it should not be painful, so communicate clearly with your massage therapist so they know if you’re having any discomfort. The national average cost of a deep tissue massage is between $70 and $90.

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