Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are two of the most popular types of massage. Although they have certain similarities, the two types of massage are different. The two types are different in terms of the amount of pressure applied, how they are used, the technique used and which part of the body the massage is performed.
If you’re trying to decide which of the two is more effective, we’ve listed down the main differences between the two massages and a few tips on choosing a therapist.
A Swedish massage is one of the most popular massage techniques. In fact, it is even sometimes referred to as the classic massage. The massage helps you to relax by releasing muscle tension.
Swedish massage is also more gentle than a deep tissue massage and is a better option for you if you want to relax, rather than relieve pain. Swedish massages loosen up tight muscles that are caused by daily activities like working on your computer or working out. This massage is beneficial for people that get a lot of muscle tension in their shoulders, lower back, or the neck.
During a Swedish massage, a massage technician will do the following: passive joint movements, kneading, circular movements, and long strokes. These massage techniques aim to boost the flow of blood and eliminate lactic acid build up. It also helps to relax you and stimulate your nerve endings.
Traditional Swedish massages involve massaging your whole body. The massage therapist will have you lay on your back and then ask you to lay on your stomach halfway through.
If you have tightness in a specific area, like your lower back for example, you can ask your massage therapist to focus a bit more in this area. Depending on your level of comfort, you can also request that your therapist use a gentle, medium or heavy pressure.
As with most full-body massages, you are expected to be undressed for the session. Your massage therapist will wait outside while you undress, you can keep your underwear on.
The massage therapist will then cover your body with a sheet, and pull the sheet back and adjust it around your body as they work on your muscles. You will be covered for most of the time. They will pull back and adjust it as they work their way around. You will be covered most of the time.
The massage therapist will either use a massage lotion or body massage oil to enable them to do long, smooth massage strokes. If for some reason you can’t schedule an actual massage, you can get the same benefits by using a self-myofascial device like the Hydragun massage gun.
Deep tissue massages share similarities with Swedish massages, but have enough differences and are done for different purposes. Deep tissue massages are ideal for people recovering from injuries, runners, athletes. It is also best for people that have chronic pain such as lower back pains and fibromyalgia.
Deep tissue massages target your connective tissues (fascia), tendons, and your muscles. It also uses pretty much the same kneading and stroking as Swedish massages but uses more pressure. So much so that it can be a little painful sometimes.
For a massage therapist to reach deep into your muscle tissues, they would need to massage every layer of your muscle and use more pressure with their fists, fingers and sometimes even their elbows to get to the deep muscle fibers and stretch them.
A deep tissue massage releases muscles releasing tight muscle and tissue. It improves the flow of blood to the soft tissues and can reduce swelling.
Before actually getting a massage, you will have to talk to the massage therapist about your problems. Deep tissue massages can be done on specific areas or full-body. As with Swedish massage, you will be asked to lay either on your back or on your stomach with a sheet covering your body.
A deep tissue massage starts as more of the traditional, relaxing massage. When your muscles are relaxed and warmed up, the therapist then starts to work on the problem areas.
Apart from using fingertips, knuckles, and palms, the massage therapist may also have to use their elbows and forearms to add pressure.
You need to be honest with the massage therapist about how much pressure you’re able to put up with. The discomfort may be different for certain areas throughout the massage session. So, make sure that you let your massage therapist know about this before you start the massage.
After the massage, it is normal to feel some soreness. You can ease discomfort by doing stretches, applying ice, and a hot compress on the sore area. As with Swedish massages, self-myofascial release devices like the Hydragun massage gun can be used for the same results.
Deep tissue and Swedish massages are quite similar. Their main difference is in the amount of pressure applied when doing the massage. So, if you need to relax and get relief from tight muscle knots, go for a Swedish massage. On the other hand, if you need help recovering from an injury or help warm up and cool down your muscles pre and post workout, then a deep tissue massage is your best option.