Swedish Massage or Deep Tissue?


One hurts the other one doesn’t, right? Not necessarily. While most people think ‘the more pressure the better,’ that’s not necessarily the most effective strategy on an unprepared or unaccustomed muscle. I typically discourage deep tissue work on a client who has never had a massage before because it could be counterproductive for both client and therapist if the muscles are fighting against the deeper pressure. This could lead to an unpleasant first experience and outcome for the client.

While both can result in deep relaxation, the aim of each is somewhat different. For instance:

back massage near me

Swedish Massage

  • affects circulation via long gliding strokes toward the heart
  • improves sleep and mood
  • helps improve joint flexibility and range of motion
  • eases muscle tension
  • significantly reduces stress hormone levels
  • boosts the immune system
  • can ease anxiety, boosting the body’s natural mood enhancers

Deep Tissue

  • relieves chronic patterns of tension by affecting deeper layers of muscle, fascia and other connective tissue
  • uses slower more targeted massage strokes
  • pressure can be gentle but sustained on one area for longer periods
  • helps promote healing to muscle injuries
  • requires minimal lubricant in most cases
  • can be done over clothing or client’s work out or sports attire
  • therapist most often employs the use of elbows, knuckles, fists and massage tools.
  • can require active participation from the client

Still don’t know which one to choose? You need the relaxation but also have a couple of areas that have morphed into chronic pain? Most therapists incorporate relaxation techniques as part of a deep tissue session. On the other hand, a relaxation session will not involve the deeper bodywork.

Whichever you choose, remember that relaxed muscles and tissues are less likely to become injured than tense ones so you can never go wrong with a relaxation massage. While your therapist may have the knowledge, you as the client also have an active role in communicating your likes and dislikes during a session. We are partners in your wellness!

I welcome your questions or comments at  info@monicaleague.com or leave a comment below.
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