There are lots of different types of massage, each offering its own unique health benefits. I like looking at different types of massage and seeing how they compare. Two of the more popular types of massage I’m looking at in this article are Swedish massage vs Deep Tissue massage.
The main interesting difference between these two forms of therapy is that Swedish massage is a great all-around therapy, while deep tissue massage can be used to target specific injuries and issues with much firmer pressure.
There is a lot more to these therapies than just this however. Let’s take a look at what you can expect, the health benefits, and more.
What Is a Swedish Massage?
Swedish massage is probably the most common form of massage therapy. It’s responsible for lots of the other forms of massage developing and is the best massage for beginners to get started with.
It’s very effective at stimulating blood flow around the body, releasing muscle toxins, increasing flexibility, and giving patients a huge boost in well-being. The therapist uses a range of techniques that include tapping, kneading, percussion, stretching, and bending, all performed with their hands, and sometimes elbows.
What to Expect from a Swedish Massage
Not knowing what to expect is always a huge block for people who need or want a massage. There is absolutely nothing to be concerned about however. Only good things happen during and after a massage!
If you’re going for you first ever massage the therapist will sit with you beforehand to discuss your health, what you can expect, and what they can do for you. Everything will be explained, and you have a chance to ask any questions at this point.
During the massage the therapist will use a range of hand motions and techniques. Massage oil is used to make the techniques more fluid, and a typical session will last 30-45 minutes.
Health Benefits of a Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is incredibly relaxing. You will be on a table in a calm room, they may be essential oils being diffused, and even some soft music if you want. The process of massaging the body is to relax the mind and body, and this form of therapy does this very well.
Swedish massage is very effective at relieving stress, giving you a boost in natural energy, and leaving you feeling mentally rejuvenated.
On the physical side aches and pains in your muscles can be worked out. Your body will release hormones, blood flow increases, your immune system will strengthen, and you’ll feel rejuvenated in ways you can’t experience without something as special and as hands-on as a massage.
If all of those health benefits isn’t enough to convince you to have a massage, I don’t know what will!
What Is a Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage. The main difference is the amount of pressure from the therapist, and deep tissue therapists often have more experience dealing with muscular injuries.
This form of massage reaches the deeper layers of muscle tissue, such as the fascia, tendons, and connective tissues. You can be referred by a doctor or health professional for deep tissue therapy to heal certain injuries.
What to Expect from a Deep Tissue Massage
If you are booking a session yourself and you have not been referred by a healthcare professional you need to give as much information about your injury as possible to the therapist.
Talk through how and what you’re feeling exactly. The therapist will advise you of the best course of treatment. Be prepared however, this is not like a Swedish massage with a setting designed to relax you.
The pressure applied by the therapist can be very uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to break down the muscle tissues to stimulate them to repair stronger and heal. You will feel sore afterwards, try having a warm bath and doing some light stretching in the following days to reduce the discomfort.
Health Benefits of a Deep Tissue Massage
If you’re suffering from pain in your day-to-day life or dealing with an injury, a deep tissue massage might be exactly what you need. Here are some of the health benefits to having a deep tissue massage:
Improves blood pressure – Relieving stress and built up tension can have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
Reduces the appearance of scar tissue – A lot of people feel self-conscious about scarring. Deep tissue massage can help reduce the appearance of scar tissue by improving blood flow and lymphatic circulation.
Reduces chronic pain – If you live in pain there are a few things you can do to help manage the pain. One of the more natural and effective approaches is to have a massage.
Relieves stress – Massage therapy doesn’t just have physical benefits. There are many mental benefits, such as reducing stress, anxiety, and helping to improve your focus and concentration.
Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage
Looking at these two forms of massage therapy side-by-side you can see they are similar, but provide some differences specific to a person’s needs.
Swedish massage is a better choice if you’re new to massage or are just looking for a general body massage to give your wellbeing a boost. The benefits at a glance are:
- Stress relief
- Resolves muscle knots and pains
- Mentally relaxing
Deep tissue massage is a form of therapy that you will often be referred for by a physician or doctor. It helps with specific injuries and can reach much deeper into the muscle tissues than a Swedish massage. The benefits at a glance are:
- Reduces chronic pain
- Improves blood pressure
- Relieves stress
- Rehabilitates injuries
Maybe I’m bias, but I think massages are the best natural way to relax and improve your overall wellbeing. It’s all too easy to pick up aches and pains from our daily lives and not take the time to listen to our bodies and do something about it.
If you can start having Swedish massages you will feel the improvement in your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Leave the deep tissue massage for attending to specific muscular issues.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.