Depending on your individual needs and preferences, different types of treatments are available at most massage therapy clinics. They vary in the amount of pressure applied by the massage therapist, the area of focus, and the overall technique.
In case you’re not sure what type of massage therapy is right for you, it’s worth taking a few minutes to understand better the differences between two of the most common options, Swedish massage and deep tissue massage.
What is Swedish Massage
Also known as classic massage, this is the most common and generally the most popular form of massage therapy treatment. Despite its name, the technique did not originate in Sweden – it was actually developed by a doctor from the Netherlands.
The main goal of Swedish massage is to relax the body by releasing tension from muscles. This is done with long, gliding strokes along the body in a technique called effleurage, short and quick strokes that use friction to create heat, kneading motions known as petrissage, percussive motions called tapotement, circular motions, and vibration. Your therapist may also administer some stretching and bending of joints. Therapists typically use their hands and fingers to massage the body.
Swedish massage therapy treatments generally cover the entire body, perhaps paying extra attention to areas of concern, such as the back, neck, or shoulders.
In general, the amount of pressure is firm. It’s more gentle than strong, but enough to stimulate circulation and release toxins. Swedish massage promotes relaxation and improves sleep by easing surface-level stress, which reduces overall tension and anxiety.
What is Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is not especially different from Swedish massage, utilizing many similar stroking and kneading motions. The important distinction is the amount of pressure applied. Rather than light to firm pressure, deep tissue massage uses slow, forceful strokes, sometimes with the elbows, fists, and forearms.
The goal of deep tissue massage is to work deeper into problem spots in muscles and connective tissue, breaking up painful knots, relieving chronic tension and, in some cases, realigning the body.
Deep tissue massage is never intended to be painful for the recipient, but the strong, deliberate pressure can sometimes lead to a tension release that straddles the sensations of both pleasure and pain. If deep tissue massage ever becomes too uncomfortable, or the pressure applied is too intense, be sure to tell your massage therapist what you’re experiencing so your treatment can be adjusted.
Rather than covering the whole body, deep tissue massage therapy treatments tend to focus on specific areas of concern, perhaps to help the patient rehabilitate a sports injury or recover from an accident. Deep tissue massage is also helpful for those who have experienced whiplash, patients with chronic back problems, or people who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Which Type of Massage is right for you?
If you’re looking for a total body relaxation experience and don’t have chronic pain issues, Swedish massage is probably the best choice. If you’ve got a specific problem that needs attention or an injury to overcome, you may need deep tissue massage.
Either way, always communicate with your massage therapist to discuss the type of treatment you’d like to receive and explain any troublesome areas requiring care and attention. Massage Experts offers a special first visit rate to experience either Swedish or Deep tissue massage. Click BOOK NOW to find the clinic closest to you.