Swedish vs. Deep Tissue Massage: What’s the Difference and Which One Is Right for You?

Swedish vs. Deep Tissue Massage: What’s the Difference and Which One Is Right for You?

Even people who know next to nothing about the art of massage can still usually name the two most popular options; deep tissue and Swedish. While both of these techniques offer a number of health benefits (depending on what your specific needs maybe), there are also several differences. In today’s post, we will take a closer look at both styles of massage and how they may be able to help patients who are suffering from various issues. Let’s first examine deep tissue massage in further detail:

What is a Deep Tissue Massage?

This type of massage is primarily for providing relief to sore, achy, or stressed muscles. This is especially true of the arms, neck, as well as leg, and thigh areas. It targets the tissues that regular massages fail to reach, thus providing greater relief for less-worked regions.

A hard and thorough pressure must be applied to achieve the desired results. While this technique can sometimes be slightly painful, it should not be exceedingly so. Deep tissue is especially beneficial to:

  • Runners
  • Athletes
  • People who engage in resistance training regularly
  • People with injuries
  • Fibromyalgia patients
  • Those suffering from lower back pain

What is a Swedish Massage?

This type of massage was developed in the early 1800s by a Swedish physiologist. It is performed by executing long, circular strokes. Its primary benefit is in relaxing overused and/or stressed muscles. It also helps increase blood flow and lymph drainage throughout the entire body by stimulating nerve endings. This improves nervous system functions as well.

Swedish massage usually includes the whole body (unlike deep tissue massage which focuses on problem areas). It consists of the therapist using:

  • Long strokes
  • Kneading
  • Passive joint movements
  • Deep circular movements

What Are the Main Differences Between Deep Tissue and Swedish Massage?

Understanding the differences between the two most popular styles of massage can help you determine which one is best for you. These include not only the techniques of the massage itself but also the benefits you can expect afterward. Swedish massage is geared toward relaxation and stress relief while deep tissue massage is more therapeutic and for pain relief.

Swedish techniques are for the entire body as an overall wellness practice while deep tissue is for specific areas with specific problems. The biggest differences can be summed up in 4 points:

  • Amount of pressure
  • Technique
  • Intended use
  • Area of focus

Another difference is what may be required after a deep tissue experience. It is likely that you will feel noticeable soreness for a few days following your visit. Your therapist may suggest using ice, heat, and/or stretching to help loosen up the muscles and relieve discomfort.

Deep Tissue Massage vs. Swedish Massage

To summarize, Swedish massage is a full-body massage to relax stressed muscles and improve blood flow and circulation. Deep tissue massage is for providing pain relief and is focused on the problem area(s). It is also very beneficial for people who stand or sit for long periods. To find out which one is right for you, discuss your options with a qualified massage therapist.

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