The Differences Between Deep Tissue Massage and Swedish Massage

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Many clients just assume that “massage is massage” but, not all massage is created equal. In fact, there are some modalities that work better for certain issues or injuries than others. There are different reasons for seeking massage and therefore, different types of massage to address your needs.

Clients often wonder, “What is the difference between a Swedish massage and a Deep Tissue massage?” Well, we have the answer!

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage (sometimes called Classic massage) is what people typically think of as a relaxation massage. In a Swedish massage your therapist will use the five basic massage strokes. These strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber) and vibration/shaking. The massage therapist uses long, gliding strokes applied with firm pressure with as little friction as possible.

Swedish Massage is good for clients who are looking for:

  • Relaxation/stress reduction

  • Improved circulation

  • Reduction in pain

  • Release of muscle tension and stiffness

  • Lighter pressure

  • A full body massage

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue massage is not just Swedish with deeper pressure. It is typically more focused on specific areas of pain or tension and not only works on the surface muscles but also the deeper muscle tissue and fascia. Deep Tissue massage uses slow strokes and deep pressure to release chronic tension which might have developed from injury or overuse.

Deep Tissue Massage is good for clients who are looking for:

  • Purposeful fascial mobilization

  • Postural improvement

  • Increases in range of motion

  • Relief from and release of muscle tension

  • Treatment of chronic pain in a specific muscle group

  • A massage focused on one specific area or injury

Now that you know the difference between Swedish and Deep Tissue massage, you can use this information to discuss your massage needs with your therapist. Consider your goals and needs.  As always, your massage therapist is here to help you reach your goals and answer any questions you might have about your treatment. Your therapist can help you decide and what modality might be the most effective for you.

Enjoy your massage!