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What’s the Difference Between a Swedish Massage and a Deep Tissue Massage?

January 12, 2016

Two popular massage techniques, Swedish massage and deep tissue massage, have different purposes and results. It’s worth knowing the difference so you can get the most relief for your particular issues. Here is a little background information on these two massage techniques.

Swedish Massage is Perfect for Relaxation


Developed in the early 1800s by Per Henrik Ling and others, Swedish massage may be the most commonly used massage technique. Swedish massage promotes relaxation with light to vigorous strokes, including:

  1. Effleurage (sliding)
  2. Petrissage (kneading)
  3. Tapotement (rhythmic tapping)
  4. Friction
  5. Vibration or shaking

Swedish massage increases blood circulation and moves metabolic waste out of the body. It boosts the nervous system, which helps relieve pain and reduce tension. Clinical studies show that Swedish massage reduces lower back pain, arthritis, and joint stiffness. It lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

For relaxation and stress relief, Swedish massage is the technique to choose.

More Than Just Athletes Choose Deep Tissue Massage


As the name implies, Deep Tissue Massage uses deep pressure to reach areas of tension and pain within the muscles. With an injury or chronic tension, adhesions develop in muscles, tendons and ligaments. Adhesions block circulation, limit movement, and cause pain and inflammation.

Deep tissue massage uses direct deep pressure to break down adhesions in the back, neck, arms, and legs. The massage therapist uses massage oil and intense pressure to reach and unknot inner layers of muscle. It isn’t painful, since an experienced massage therapist is attentive to a client’s tolerance.

Deep tissue massage is often used to relieve chronic pain, such as back pain, tension headaches, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Athletes who maintain an intense training program use deep tissue massage to ease the effects of demanding workouts. It can be helpful to reduce fluid retention, too.

Areas of stiffness also benefit from deep tissue massage, and it’s used to relieve stiff neck and upper back, sore shoulders, and tight leg muscles. Deep tissue massage is most often used in cases of injury or chronic tension.

Both Forms of Massage Have Many Benefits


Whether you choose Swedish massage or deep tissue massage, your massage will help flush toxins out of your body. To assist that process, drink fluids, especially water.

Both deep tissue massage and Swedish massage can leave you with sore muscles temporarily. But this will pass quickly and leave you feeling better.

For a massage that’s customized to your individual needs, call Coastal Massage at (910) 208-4161  or sign up online. We look forward to helping you find the perfect massage for your needs.