Swedish vs Deep Tissue Massage: Which is Right For You?

Therapeutic Massage

There are different types of massages. The ideal one for you may depend on what your body needs. This article will discuss the two popular types of massage therapy. These are the Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. Though there are some similarities, the two methods are different. Keep reading to understand the difference between Swedish vs deep tissue massage, including some tips on what to do before getting massage treatment.

Understanding The Difference Between Swedish vs Deep Tissue Massage

Swedish massage and deep tissue massage are both popular types of massage therapy. However, despite their similarities, some factors make them unique and different from one another. These factors include:

  • technique
  • intended use
  • the pressure
  • areas of focus

Swedish Massage Treatment

One of the most popular massage techniques is the Swedish massage, also known as classic massage. This treatment promotes relaxation by releasing muscle tension.

In fact, Swedish massage is gentler compared to deep tissue massage and ideal for individuals interested in relaxation and muscle tension relief.

swedish vs deep tissue massage

Swedish massages help loosen up tight muscles due to daily activities like exercising or sitting at the working table. Also, the technique tends to be exceptionally useful for individuals who hold a great deal of tension in their:

  • neck
  • shoulders
  • lower back

What To Expect During a Swedish massage?

When you get a Swedish massage, the therapist will use:

  • long strokes
  • kneading
  • profound circular movements
  • passive joint movements

Swedish massages aim to help relieve stress, stimulate your nervous system, and increase blood circulation and lymph drainage.

In fact, a classic Swedish massage involves dealing with the entire body. You will start on either your back or your stomach and flip over at the midpoint.

Suppose you have concerns in some particular area of your body, such as muscle tension around your neck. In that case, you can request your massage therapist to invest more time around this area. Depending on your preferences, you can also ask your therapist to apply light, medium, or firm pressure.

In most full-body massages, you need to undress. Your massage therapist will tell you to remove your clothes while they wait outside. It is dependent upon you whether or not to keep your undies on.

After that, your therapist will drape a blanket on your body. They will adjust or pull it back as they work their way around. Once your therapist massages you, they will use a lotion or oil to allow smooth and long strokes. They may likewise inquire as to whether you have a preferred aromatherapy scent.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is somehow comparable to Swedish massage. However, it goes into the deeper layers of muscles and is designed for a different purpose.

Generally, deep tissue massage is an ideal technique for:

  • runners
  • athletes
  • people with injuries

This therapeutic massage can also work for individuals with chronic pain conditions like:

  • lower back pain
  • fibromyalgia

This is an ideal treatment for some people since deep tissue massage targets the inner layers of your:

  • tendons
  • muscles
  • fascia, or dense connective tissue

Deep tissue massages use many of the similar stroking and kneading movements to Swedish massages, yet there is more pressure. In fact, this pressure can, at times, be painful.

Licensed massage therapists in this technique will knead layer by layer of muscle, using increasingly more pressure to reach the deep muscle tissue. They may also use special techniques with the fists, fingers, and elbows to get and massage that deep tissue.

This therapeutic massage works with healing by releasing contracted spaces of muscles and connective tissues. It can help increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.

What To Expect During a Deep Tissue Massage?

Before the treatment begins, you will talk about your problem areas with your massage therapist. They can do the massage technique on your whole body or only on one site. Like Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage will start when you lie down on your back or stomach and under a sheet. However, the level of undressing will depend on your needs and preferences.

Regular massage treatment.

Deep tissue massages start as a more classic relaxation technique. After the therapist warmed up your muscles, they will begin to deeply massage your problem areas using their fingertips, palms, knuckles, or elbows.

It is essential to talk with your therapist about the level of pressure you want to endure. This might be diverse for specific regions and all through the treatment. In fact, some massage therapists view pain as counterproductive to the process. You have to speak up if the pain is too much.

Additionally, soreness after deep tissue massage is common to happen. Your therapist may suggest treating with:

  • heat
  • ice
  • stretching

What To Do Before The Massage

Here are some tips you can do before getting a massage treatment:

  • Ensure you get a therapeutic massage from a trained therapist who knows how to deal with particular conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, sports injuries, or pregnancy.
  • Inform your therapist about any injuries you have, how long they have been healing, and your present pain level.
  • Talk about your comfort levels. You can tell your massage therapist if you have areas you do not want to touch.
  • Discuss your goals and expectations with your therapist. Inform them if you just want to relax or trying to recover from an injury.
  • Talk about the level of pressure that is best for you.
  • If possible, warm up your muscles by taking a warm shower or soaking in a hot tub.
  • Drink a lot of water before your massage.

Which Is Best For You?

Swedish massage and deep tissue massages are practically the same. The main distinction between the two is the degree of pressure involved. Generally, Swedish massage is best suited for people who want some relaxation and relief from tight muscles.

On the other hand, it would be better to choose deep tissue massage if you are recovering from an injury. This massage can be a valuable part of your treatment plan. Feel free to ask a massage therapist before booking an appointment with them.


Swedish massage.


What to know about deep tissue massage.


Credentials for the Massage Therapy Profession.


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