Massage is just rubbing muscles until you feel relaxed. Right? Does it matter if I get a Swedish massage or a Deep Tissue massage? What’s the difference? The common perception is Deep Tissue Massage applies more pressure and due to the more aggressive sounding name, that it is more effective. This is not necessarily the case. It is easier to define Swedish massage and Deep Tissue massage by the results they are trying to achieve, rather than by a particular technique, although we will get into that as well.
In a nutshell, Swedish massage focuses on improving circulation of blood and lymph and relaxing superficial muscles. Deep Tissue massage focuses on connective tissue, and the goal is to produce changes in movement and posture.
WHAT IS SWEDISH MASSAGE?
The primary focus of Swedish massage is to increase circulation and promote general relaxation. Swedish massage addresses the entire body. The muscles are first calmed and warmed as oil or lotion is applied. The muscles are then kneaded and stretched with a lifting/kneading stroke and then smoothed, lengthened, and drained of excess fluid with long, firm strokes.
WHAT IS DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE?
The primary focus of Deep Tissue massage is to address specific tight muscles and to correct posture caused by these tight muscles. A practitioner may use very deep pressure to focus on a specific area but may also use lighter pressure to facilitate deep muscle release.
SHOULD I ASK for SWEDISH MASSAGE or DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE?
Many massage therapists use a combination of both. You don’t always have to choose one or the other. The key is to discuss with your massage therapist what your goals are. If you are just looking to combat stress and calm your nerves a Swedish massage should do the trick. If you have a specific complaint about a sore or painful area, you may want a Deep Tissue massage.