Swedish Massage versus Deep Tissue Massage

Submitted by chris parker on January 15, 2013

Choosing the best massage therapy can often be quite confusing. What with the several different types of therapies available each with its own benefits, its important to understand the difference between massage therapies and how each one can help. A common confusion is the difference between Swedish massage and Deep Tissue massage.


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Swedish massage is a popular type of therapy and refers to a procedure where the strokes include a combination of kneading, percussion, gliding, friction and vibration. The therapist alternates between quick and slow movements and switches from light to deeper pressures as he works all parts of the body. A Swedish massage stroke matches the natural flow of blood from the body to the heart and stimulates the body’s lymphatic system.

The benefits of Swedish massage include improved blood circulation, reduction of muscular tension, removal of metabolic waste and relaxation. Many people report a release of emotion tension after a Swedish massage therapy session adding to the overall positive experience. If you suffer from joint problems such as osteoarthritis, muscular pain and reduced flexibility due to a past injury, Swedish massage can help.

Deep tissue massage on the other hand works on the fascia or connective tissue. The strokes used in deep tissue massage are performed slowly and with a light or deep pressure. If the strokes are too fast, the fascia is not manipulated and the benefits of this type of therapy are not maximized. Regular deep tissue massage therapy can help break up old scar tissue and improve oxygenation to various parts of the body. Though the strokes used in deep tissue massage are similar to those used in Swedish massage therapy, the strokes in deep tissue massage work against the muscle grain. Accessories such as wooden or glass tools may also be used in addition to fingers, hands, and elbows for optimal manipulation. Deep tissue massage can help treat injuries, release emotional and physical stress and tension, and resolve long-standing medical and physiological problems.

If you are looking for a therapy to help you relax and unwind or suffer from sensitive skin, Swedish massage is your best bet. On the other hand, if you have a higher tolerance for pain or need to treat an injury or long-term medical condition, deep tissue massage may be necessary.

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