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View Full Version : First Professional Massage Advice - Swedish or Deep


Brian Lawyer
02-10-2009, 02:02 PM
For Recovery and flexibility what should I go for, Swedish or deep tissue?

I booked V-Day massages for my wife and I this Saturday. Apparently, I have the choice of Swedish or deep tissue or some combination of the two. This is my first professional massage ever so I have no idea what I would like.

Basically I am trying to blow up my back this week in a good way. This week will be the last week of my strength phase followed by a massage to cap things off and a light week of O'lifting next week. What I mean by blow up my back in a good way is I plan to do Heavy Back Squats and Heavy Deadlifts both today and on Friday. Trying to break 5 rep PR's on both days.

So I should be pretty well needing a massage by Saturday morning...

Steven Low
02-10-2009, 05:09 PM
Swedish is by far the more "gentler" of the two.

If you're blasting your back I would go for deep.

And I hope you like your massages painful if you're blasting your back. :) It feels good afterwards... just not during, haha.

Garrett Smith
02-10-2009, 09:16 PM
Thai massage is my favorite.

Swedish is just fluffery, and I personally don't think deep tissue is as beneficial as many others do.

Steven Low
02-11-2009, 08:07 AM
Hah, well, I tend to subscribe to the "someone step on my back for 10 minutes" massage. When they put all their weight on one heel of one foot... gets pretty deep but feels good afterwards. Works fairly well, and I don't have to pay my brother/sister. :)

Brian Lawyer
02-11-2009, 08:35 AM
Swedish is by far the more "gentler" of the two.

If you're blasting your back I would go for deep.

And I hope you like your massages painful if you're blasting your back. :) It feels good afterwards... just not during, haha.

I am not actually trying to blast my back with the massage. My plan was to blast my back in the days prior to massage, via heavy squats and deadlifts, then use the massage as a recovery tool....In other words, I don't want to wake up Sunday morning and be sorer from the massage then I was the day before from my workout. :)

Garrett Smith
02-11-2009, 08:47 AM
If you get the deep tissue, you just might get more sore. FWIW.

Think of massage as "passive exercise" for your soft tissue. Think of deep tissue, particularly if you don't get it regularly, as an intense form of "passive exercise".

If I were you, I'd go with the deep tissue and make sure to vocalize how much pressure you want/need to the therapist. If you are scrunching up your face and trying to pull away from their pressure, then it is too much.

Brian Lawyer
02-11-2009, 09:41 AM
If I were you, I'd go with the deep tissue and make sure to vocalize how much pressure you want/need to the therapist. If you are scrunching up your face and trying to pull away from their pressure, then it is too much.

Garrett, Good advice as usual. Your response above wins!! I will take that approach.

Thanks,

Steven Low
02-11-2009, 09:39 PM
Psshhh, I like it when it's hard enough to make my face scrunch.... maybe that says something about me though, lol.

Anyway, make sure you're hydrating well day before, during and after massage. It tends to help release stuff that's trapped in the muscles/connective tissue/etc. that may be toxic to the body so keep it moving to the liver/kidneys and out of your system.

Brian Lawyer
02-16-2009, 07:07 AM
Time to report the results. I just told the guy to do deep tissue. I think I already had a pretty good tolerance from all my foam rolling. I bought this foam roll that is hard as a rock plus sometimes I like to use this mini-basketball that gets real deep. The masseuse kept asking me if I could feel it, as if he was surprised I wasn't crying out for mercy.

As far as health benefits... not really sure how I was supposed to feel. I basically woke up the next day feeling like some one shoved their elbows deep into me in various spots all over my body. Oh wait, that is what he did.

So all in all, I was probably just as sore from the massage as I normally am from beating the crap out of my body during a real heavy lifting session.

Steven Low
02-16-2009, 07:45 AM
lol, should feel better over the next couple days. Looser... more alive perhaps.

Brian Lawyer
02-16-2009, 08:40 AM
If I could just figure out why my hip flexors are constantly fried I would be happy. For example, I did a heavy workout last Friday, you can see digital coaching threads regarding the workout, but it was basically heavy squats and deadlifts. The rest of my body is pretty well recovered today, i.e. 3 days later, except my hip flexors still ache like a mug when I stand up.

Steven Low
02-16-2009, 05:48 PM
If I could just figure out why my hip flexors are constantly fried I would be happy. For example, I did a heavy workout last Friday, you can see digital coaching threads regarding the workout, but it was basically heavy squats and deadlifts. The rest of my body is pretty well recovered today, i.e. 3 days later, except my hip flexors still ache like a mug when I stand up.
Might wanna try to get some ART on them.

Brian Lawyer
02-17-2009, 06:31 AM
Might wanna try to get some ART on them.

I just did some googling on ART. That sounds like one possible solution to my problem. I wouldn't mind hearing Dr. G's opinion on this.

From what I was reading ART sounds expensive though. First doctor I called on the list was $150 for first visit and $65 for each subsequent. $65 is reasonable but $150 upfront is quite a bit of cash. Any Cheaper alternatives.

Should I try foam rolling my hip flexors more. I generally don't work my hip flexors with the foam roll because I didn't think a foam roll could do anything for tendons and ligaments. I thought foam roll was only meant for muscles. So I usually just roll over my quads quite a bit but don't hit up the hip flexors.

Steven Low
02-17-2009, 07:27 AM
You can try it. Use your fingers on yourself too.

Self myofascial release might work well.

Robert McBee
02-17-2009, 09:25 AM
Tight hip flexors are a big issue with me also. I taped two tennis balls together and roll on that as well as with the foam rollar. Kelly Starrett (http://sanfranciscocrossfit.blogspot.com) has a fairly recent blog post demonstrating some great stretches for the hips. Go back a little further and he has some great ones for the lats and calfs/soleus too.

I got some massages as a valentine's gift and plan on using one today. Report back on how it goes...

Scott Kustes
02-17-2009, 09:38 AM
I'd say most of us that sit at desks are going to have tight hip flexors. Mine are pretty horrible.

Dave Van Skike
02-17-2009, 11:35 AM
I'd say most of us that sit at desks are going to have tight hip flexors. Mine are pretty horrible.


for truth. I've wadded up motorcycles at high speed both on and offroad, worked many years as a bike messenger and have enjoyed an extensive list of questionable oraganic compounds. Hands down the most damaging thing I have ever done to my body is work at a desk.

re: the Op's ?

What kind of massage to get? seriously, this is a question? just go get one and see how you like it. effectiveness has little to do with "style" and more to do with the practitioner.

Garrett Smith
02-17-2009, 11:42 AM
The Bikram series (with or without the heat) has a whole section of hip openers. Until I can pay for Thai massage, that's what works for me, I usually do it twice a week (the day before my OL sessions).

Brian Lawyer
02-17-2009, 04:32 PM
The Bikram series (with or without the heat) has a whole section of hip openers. Until I can pay for Thai massage, that's what works for me, I usually do it twice a week (the day before my OL sessions).
Dr. G, Do you have a website link, book, or dvd recommendation for Bikram? I found a Bikram yoga forum or website, but all I saw were some funky yoga language names. I couldn't tell which are the hip flexor poses.

I also had another member recommend Pavel's "Relax into Stretch" book. I was considering getting that since I figured he probably wrote it for more of our type of population, i.e. O'Lifters, versus yoga for a bunch of housewives, j/k.

I'd say most of us that sit at desks are going to have tight hip flexors. Mine are pretty horrible.
I think you just hit the nail on the head. I sit at desk all day and have usually an hour commute each direction.

So is more stretching really the answer or simply going to aggravate the problem more. I do a fair amount of stretching via DROM warmups prior to work outs and usually on recovery days some AIS and static stretching. I can add more stretching or yoga but will that really help or just contribute to the overuse from squatting 3 or 4 days a week.

Garrett Smith
02-17-2009, 04:58 PM
http://www.products.bikramyoga.com/product_info.php?cPath=5&products_id=11 - Audio CDs
http://www.products.bikramyoga.com/product_info.php?cPath=5&products_id=10 - Book

I got my audio CDs off of someone on the San Fran Craigslist after Googling.

I think you should get the book if you want to do this--I haven't yet as I have 10+ years of yoga experience and I went to somewhere between 10-20 actual Bikram classes. I think attending some real Bikram classes would also be a good idea.

Do you do any specific hip flexor exercises? KTEs, hanging leg raises, L-sits, GHD situps? Maybe you just need to get them stronger so they can handle the loads of squatting that much. More stretching may not be what you need, strengthening could be just the ticket (particularly strengthening that involves some degree of stretching as well). Credit to Mr. DVS for exposing me to this approach.

Dave Van Skike
02-17-2009, 06:51 PM
More stretching may not be what you need, strengthening could be just the ticket (particularly strengthening that involves some degree of stretching as well). Credit to Mr. DVS for exposing me to this approach.


I got it from Pavel, as soon I read it..(maybe in relax into stretch or PL USA article) i grokked it right away..it's my go to move for tight stuff, trick is of course, not to overwhelm the muscle with load and work on strengthening in the higher rep ranges, gradually increasing ROM...for my hamstrings this meant gobs of sets of 20 with just one plates on rdl's...i think this same sort of effect could be why lite KB swings "work" for loosening hams.

Here's a drill a SHW Pl taught me this weekend for the hip flexors..

get a low box like (11") and put it against a wall. take a really wide stance over the box with your back to the wall (think sumo DL wide...I mean really really wide) gradually try to sit back and down with your torso as near to vertical as possible...if your an office drone like me, you'll not make it very far before falling either forward or back (thus the box against the wall) when this happens, just check yourself, reset and gradually work it down again. you'll look like a bobbing idiot but just keep feeling your way down to the box.

don't be fooled that this sounds too PL centric or not specific nuff to some OL esoterica. your never going to squat like this in real life and that's ok.

I did this for about 15 min on sat. and never actually got my ass on the box. I did 10x3 on front squat right after (really narrow stance by comparison) and was refreshingly stable coming out of the hole, erect torso, good bounce at the bottom etc...

try and see.

Brian Lawyer
02-18-2009, 07:06 AM
[url]Do you do any specific hip flexor exercises? KTEs, hanging leg raises, L-sits, GHD situps? Maybe you just need to get them stronger so they can handle the loads of squatting that much. More stretching may not be what you need, strengthening could be just the ticket (particularly strengthening that involves some degree of stretching as well). Credit to Mr. DVS for exposing me to this approach.

I have actually been doing just the opposite and avoiding anything specific to my hip flexors. I had read an article one time about how people with desk jobs need to focus most of their training on the posterior chain to counteract the effects of sitting at a desk all day.

That being said, what is considered strong enough. I do KTE's maybe every other week and I can pop of 3 sets of 8 - 10 usually no problem at the end of a workout.

Garrett Smith
02-18-2009, 12:06 PM
Make sure your KTEs are done slowly & steadily. Kipping/swinging KTEs are next to worthless.

If your KTEs are done correctly already, you may want to switch to hanging straight leg raises.

Do Dave's drill too.

Brian Lawyer
02-18-2009, 12:25 PM
Make sure your KTEs are done slowly & steadily. Kipping/swinging KTEs are next to worthless.


C'mon Doc. I'm not the guy who goes to the gym and does barbell curls with 135lbs and makes the curls into some sort of dynamic hip swinging, jerking movement.

Of course my KTE's are done right. I go at the proper speed to not create any swinging within my body. If my body starts to swing I pause a little at the bottom to get straightened out before the next rep.

Dave Van Skike
02-18-2009, 01:38 PM
C'mon Doc. I'm not the guy who goes to the gym and does barbell curls with 135lbs and makes the curls into some sort of dynamic hip swinging, jerking movement.



don't knock till you give it a run..heavy heavy cheat curls have built some powerful elbow flexors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NM4vsQEr0o

check minute 2.01

Garrett Smith
02-18-2009, 09:16 PM
Brian,
Just wanted to make sure.

Brian Lawyer
02-19-2009, 03:37 PM
don't knock till you give it a run..heavy heavy cheat curls have built some powerful elbow flexors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NM4vsQEr0o

check minute 2.01

Dave, I can't tell if you are serious or joking. But I just watched that video clip up to the part where the guy curl/jerked like 300lbs.

Ben Fury
02-20-2009, 12:45 AM
Dave, I can't tell if you are serious or joking. But I just watched that video clip up to the part where the guy curl/jerked like 300lbs.

That's Ricky Bruch, discus thrower. I particularly thought it was amusing to see a discus thrower doing LSD training. Then the roid rage tossing of the bar against the lifting standards... very mature. He's 62 now, wonder how those shoulders are hanging in there after all that abuse?

Craig Loizides
02-20-2009, 11:18 AM
don't knock till you give it a run..heavy heavy cheat curls have built some powerful elbow flexors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NM4vsQEr0o

check minute 2.01

My favorite part is at 2:57

Dave Van Skike
02-20-2009, 01:59 PM
Dave, I can't tell if you are serious or joking. But I just watched that video clip up to the part where the guy curl/jerked like 300lbs.


i'm deadly serious.

and yes I do agree with Ben, LSD has it's place and is in fact the shit.

which given the general background of most people here, will seem like a joke....

but I am not joking.

and that's not roid rage...that's focus with an exclamation point