Swedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West, and the foundation for sports massage, deep tissue massage, aromatherapy massage, and other popular Western-style massages.
Based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, therapists utilize this type of massage to stimulate circulation, flush the circulatory system, release tight muscles, restore range of motion, and to relieve pain. Through the release of muscular tension there is a reflex quietening of the mind, leading to a state of profound relaxation.
A Swedish massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist's personal style and what he or she is trying to achieve. In all Swedish massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes, including the basic techniques for a traditional Swedish massage: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, vibration/nerve strokes, and Swedish gymnastics.
This method influenced Swedish massage, moving it toward a lighter relaxation massage. If you really want results, the thinking goes, you should book a deep tissue massage. Swedish and deep tissue massages are the most commonly requested type of massage at spas today. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communicate with your therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.
Difference Between Swedish and Deep Tissue Massages
While the most commonly requested massage is the Swedish variety, deep tissue massages are best for small muscle injuries and chronic muscle problems, but that's not the only way these two versions of massage are different.
Deep tissue massage, as the name would imply, focuses on deeper tissue structures of muscles, and massage therapists apply deep tissue massage will apply a strong, constant pressure against the muscle until it pushes back and relaxes, providing relief to deep areas of tension in specific muscles.
Deep tissue massages are better than Swedish massages for treating sports injuries, soreness from poor posture (sitting at a desk all day), and chronic spasms, but Swedish massages are often more comprehensive and relaxing than deep tissue massages.