With all the different types of massage therapy available it can be hard to know which is best for you. Swedish massage and therapeutic massage are probably two of the most common forms of massage and often used as a general term.
Looking at Swedish massage vs Therapeutic massage, each of these therapies has its own unique health benefits. While all forms of massage are great for your body, there are specific techniques that can achieve certain things, like deep-tissue work, centering your body’s energy flow, being mentally relaxing, and so on.
Therapeutic massage is very similar to deep tissue massage and combines many of the same techniques. It’s great for resolving injuries and muscle stiffness, while a Swedish massage is more of an all-around well-being therapy.
Let’s take a look at these two popular forms of massage in more detail and see which would be more beneficial to you.
What Is a Swedish Massage?
As mentioned in the opening comments, Swedish massage is probably the most common form of massage. A lot of other forms of massage therapy were derived from Swedish techniques, and as an introduction to massage you can’t beat it.
Long, sweeping strokes are used, a range of tapping, kneading, and deep pressure is applied to areas that require it. There is a lot of rhythmic motions that are incredibly relaxing, and you’re going to feel mentally and physically rejuvenated afterwards.
What to Expect from a Swedish Massage
Being unsure what to expect, or if it will hurt is one of the main reasons for someone not booking that first massage. I can tell you right away that only good things are going to happen, so if you’re on the fence it’s time to book a session.
The therapist will always have a discussion with you before your treatment to make sure you’re happy with everything that’s going to happen. Additionally, you can speak up at any moment during a massage if you want.
During a Swedish massage the therapist will apply some massage oil to your skin and start using their hands to perform all the techniques. Techniques known as tapotement, petrissage, and effleurage, all designed to give you a thorough and satisfying massage.
Health Benefits of a Swedish Massage
There are lots of reasons to have a Swedish massage:
- Great at relieving stress
- Relaxes your mind and body
- Releases muscle tension, knots and pains
- Can be enjoyed as a couple
- Increases blood flow throughout your body
What Is a Therapeutic Massage?
Therapeutic massage encompasses several forms of massage therapy, such as:
It’s a combination of the techniques in these therapies that are used in a therapeutic massage. Which is why it’s a general term used to describe a massage that’s relieving pain in the body and helping to reduce stress.
Health Benefits of Therapeutic Massage
If you have a specific injury, like a frozen shoulder or a pulled muscle then you will seek out a therapeutic massage. The deep-tissue work is very effective at resolving and rehabilitating muscular injuries.
It’s a great way to manage pain. Unlike a Swedish massage that is perfect for an all around pampering session and working out small knots and pains, therapeutic massage is used to target specific painful issues.
Side Effects of Therapeutic Massage
Everyone is affected differently after a massage, there aren’t any real serious health concerns but you should always be aware of potential side effects. But due to the nature of a therapeutic massage being used to manage pain and heal injuries there are some precautions to be aware of.
Deep-tissue work can feel uncomfortable. It shouldn’t be painful, but if you have a very low tolerance to pain you may feel like is it. You will feel a ‘dull’ sensation in your muscles for the next few days as the tissues repair.
You may also feel light-headed after a session. You need to drink plenty of water afterwards as a therapeutic massage can dehydrate you. The increased bloodflow to the muscles in your body stimulates your body to flush toxins. This can also leave you feeling a little weak for a day or so.
Swedish Massage vs Therapeutic Massage
As you can see these two forms of massage therapy are very different.
Swedish massage is a better choice if you’re new to massage or are just looking for a general body massage. The benefits at a glance are:
- Stress relief
- Resolves muscle knots and pains
- Mentally relaxing
Therapeutic massage should be considered if you are suffering from a painful condition or injury and want the therapist to work on this issue. The benefits at a glance are:
- Deep-tissue work
- Helps to rehab injuries
- Can target specific muscular pain and injuries
- Promotes all-around better health and wellbeing
Massage therapy has a wide range of wonderful health benefits. If you’re suffering from any kind of muscular pain then you should have a consultation with a therapist to find out what they can do for you.
Most of us work jobs that cause us to have bad posture for most of the day. If you start to feel the ‘pinch’ in your back or neck you should address it sooner rather than later.
If you can fit Swedish massages into your life to keep your body operating well and your muscles supple and healthy, then all the better. If you are already experiencing pain then seeking the appropriate therapeutic massage might be the best answer.
Whichever you choose, I hope you take the first step and book yourself in for a treatment. Your body will thank you for it, and if you’re new to massage you’ll be hooked – I guarantee it.
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.