Difference Between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage (With Table)

Massages have played a pivotal role in healing injuries and certain health conditions. They promote overall wellness. There are various techniques involved in different methods of massaging. The difference in pressure and movements has to lead to over 80 types of massage therapy styles. The two most common styles are Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage.

Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage

The main difference between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage is that Swedish massage uses long strokes which are light and tapping, and usually stimulate circulation only on the upper and superficial layers of the muscles while deep tissue massage uses harder, slow, and forceful strokes, and usually stimulate circulation in the inner deeper layers of the muscles.

Swedish massage is a gentle massage technique. It is also known as the classic massage. The experience of Swedish massage is relaxing and rejuvenating. The pressure is light to moderate. There are five basic strokes in Swedish massage, which are effleurage, friction, petrissage, vibration, and tapotement.

While deep tissue massage is a forceful and firmer massage technique. The massage releases tension in the deeper layers of muscles. It also benefits connective tissues. Deep tissue massage can remove knots, chronic tension, or even long-term muscle injuries. Deep tissue massage can have physical as well as psychological benefits.

Comparison Table Between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage

Parameters of ComparisonSwedish MassageDeep Tissue Massage
Aim To provide relaxation and reduce muscle tension To treat chronic pain in muscles or injuries which are sports-related
Pressure amount GentlerHarder
Technique Effleurage, friction, petrissage, vibration, and tapotement Cross fiber friction, active release technique, muscle energy technique, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release
Intended use Best for people with sedentary lifestyle Best for athletes, runners, or people with injuries
Areas of focus Outer layers of the muscleInner layers of the muscle

What is Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage is one of the most popular and common massage techniques. It is also known as the classic massage. The main focus of this type of massage technique is to promote relaxation as the technique releases muscle tension. Swedish massage is best for people who want relaxation and tension relief. The massage helps to increase the oxygen level in the blood and improves flexibility and circulation.

People having a sedentary lifestyle gain the maximum benefit from Swedish massage. Job profile which involves sitting at the computer, often experience tension and pain in the lower back, neck, and shoulders. There are four main techniques involved in Swedish massage – kneading, long strokes, passive joint movements, and deep circular movements.

The four techniques aim to stimulate nerve endings, relax the muscles, increase blood flow and lymph drainage. The traditional techniques of Swedish massage involved the entire body. The pressure is gentle. The preference of pressure can be adjusted on light, medium, or firm. Any area of particular concern can be given more time by the therapist.

The massage given is usually through oil or lotion for smoother strokes. Some people also chose aromatherapy. The strokes in Swedish massage are long, soft, light, tapping, rhythmic, and kneading. It works on the topmost layer of the muscles. It helps in recovery from injuries. The massage is energizing and relaxing. The massage is combined with the movement of joints.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep Tissue massage is the type of massage that involves pressure with slow and deep strokes. The main focus of Deep Tissue massage is on musculoskeletal issues. It helps to recover strains or any sports injuries. The massage usually targets the inner layers of the muscles. Injuries or tension in muscle or tissues reduces through Deep Tissue massage.

Deep Tissue massage increases blood flow and reduces inflammation. It can have physical as well as psychological benefits. It does not solely focus on relaxation, but also on treating muscle pain or improving stiffness. It also has reduced chronic lower back pain and the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also reduces.

Deep Tissue massage helps individuals with previous health history of fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, sports injuries, high blood pressure, tennis elbow, or others. During deep tissue massage, the therapists include palms, knuckles, and fingertips to massage and may also include elbows and forearms to increase the pressure.

The pressure application in deep tissue massage is slow and firm. The strokes often break the muscle adhesion which is called knots and are rigid and painful and other scar tissues. During deep tissue massage, the therapist begins with lighter pressure to warm up the area and then moves onto deeper pressure and this promotes circulation.

Main Differences Between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage

  1. Swedish massage is gentler while deep Tissue massage is harder in pressure.
  2. Swedish massage works over the superficial layers of the muscles while deep tissue massage works on the inner layers of the muscles.
  3. Swedish massage provides relaxation and reduces the tension in muscles caused by a sedentary lifestyle while deep tissue massage treats chronic pain and other injuries from sports or accidents.
  4. Swedish massage provides physical benefits while deep tissue massage has physical as well as psychological benefits.
  5. Swedish massage is comfortable and relaxing while deep tissue massage is a bit more uncomfortable as the pressure is forceful.

Conclusion

Massage therapy has been done since ancient times to ease injuries and muscle tension. It has proven benefits in stress relief, fatigue, arthritis, high blood pressure, bursitis, depression, diabetes, and treat injuries and pain. The most popular types of massage are Swedish massage and Deep Tissue massage. Both types are popular types of massage therapy.

Massage helps in reducing muscle tension, stimulates the lymphatic system, improves circulation, reduces stress hormones, increases joint mobility and flexibility, and helps in the recovery of soft tissue injuries. The immune function of the body increase with regular massage.

Every massage technique has a different pressure application and has a different objective. It is important to evaluate the parameters before choosing the massage so that the technique suits the needs of the body.

References

  1. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2007.0665
  2. https://www.offpeakluxury.com/picstore/spa/70440_Down%20Hall%20Eden%20Spa%20Treatment%20List.pdf
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