Difference Between Swedish Massage & Deep Tissue Massage

Massage is one of the most common and probably one of the best ways of treatment for different kinds of health problem. If you’re suffering from muscles and joint pain, if you have poor circulation problem or knot, if you’re stressed or tensed and need to get relief from all these, then massage is the most reliable and easiest solution in front of you.

Difference Between Swedish Massage & Deep Tissue Massage

We have three common types of massage those are close to get in use any of your available time. One of them Acupressure belongs to Asia. It mainly focuses on the pressure point of your body and also helps the movements of energy through your body. The second one is Swedish massage targets the circulation of blood and lymph and makes your superficial muscles relaxed. The third one is Deep Tissue massage that works on your connective tissues and helps to change the movements and the posture.

Here I have taken Swedish massage and Deep Tissue massage for discussion to find out the differences between these two in their process and the benefits what they offer to us. So, before you decide to take massage, at first you need have a clear view of your problems which can be cured by massage and then you have to choose the right one for you.

Swedish Massage

Unlike its name, this massage does not directly come from Sweden, but it was generally referred as classical massage in old days in Europe. It focuses on improving circulation of blood and lymph, easing the tension, lower blood pressure, and improving the flexibility of muscles. Besides that, Swedish massage helps to increase the flow of oxygen in the blood, releasing toxins from your body muscles and to flush out the metabolic wastes like lactic acids, uric acids from your body tissues. Even you can get relief from muscle strains in no time. Swedish massage is the formation of five specific set of massage movements. Now let’s have a close look at the ways how the Swedish massage techniques are performed.


This is a technique where you see the long strokes of sliding, gliding, and sweeping are in action with the help of the forearms of your masseuse. In this technique, oil or other lubricant is in use for spreading through relatively slow and soothing strokes. This technique has to be repeated several times to make your muscles relaxed.


“Petri” means “to knead”. Just think about the process of making a dough, you’ll get the idea how this technique is done. The kneading, rolling and squeezing these three strokes help to stimulate the nerves, remove the impure substance in the muscles and increase circulation. In short, this technique prepares your body to get ready for the other following Swedish massage techniques.

Tapotement or the Rhythmic Tapping

This technique of Swedish massage is a combination of rhythmic tapping, patting and pounding on your body using the fists of your massager. Moreover, the motion which little like drumming which is created by cupping, hacking, and chopping with the help of your hands to give you the desired result what you’re actually looking for.


This massage technique can be done by rubbing back and forth on your body using the palms of both hands. In this way the movement which provides you the much-needed heat for warming up the muscles in your body. This massage makes your body ready for the Deep Tissue massage.

Vibration or Shaking

This is one of the Swedish massage techniques that shakes and vibrates your body by the oscillatory movements. This movement can be done rapidly or slowly which is both effective for loosening up your muscles. In this way, the technique gradually works to release tensions and make you relaxed.

The Benefits of Swedish Massage

Swedish massage therapy is well known and widely practised for good reasons. It focuses on muscle relaxation, targeting superficial muscles and increasing blood circulation. Let’s check out some of the benefits that you can get for taking Swedish massage.

Pain Management

If you have sciatica or osteoarthritis and suffering from chronic pain, then you can take the Swedish massage that helps you to get relief from the pain effectively in a natural way.

Increase Blood Flow

If you have a need to increase the blood flow towards the heart in order to open up the vessels then your massage therapist must follow the effleurage technique upon you. The increase of blood flow helps to supply more nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. In this way, your body will start removing toxins more effectively.

Increase Flexibility

A combination of Swedish massage and regular stretching is the great way to come over from the work out related injuries. Besides that, this massage gets your muscles more relaxed only to experience a wide range of motion.

Reduce Stress

Swedish Massages are meant to maximize relaxation. Just imagine yourself on a massage table, in a peaceful environment with your massage therapist giving you massage. The combination of massage and environment is bound to create relaxation by lowering the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. As a result, your mind and body get more energy and you’ll have a better sleep to get much- needed freshness.

Deep Tissue Massage

It is commonly believed that Deep Tissue Massage means heavy pressure on your body. This is simply a misconception. This style of massage is not too far from the basic of Swedish massage. Often you feel the pressure might be deeper, but it takes a different direction for a different purpose. This kind of massage targets deeper layer of muscles and tissues, stretching the fascia and interconnecting the tissues that support the muscles, nerves, and bones. Massage therapists use their fingers, hands, forearms, and elbows to give you the Deep Tissue Massage.

Deep Tissue Massage is helpful for those who are suffering from chronic muscle pain, stiff neck, and upper and lower back pain, leg muscles tightness tennis elbow, and sore shoulders. This is used to break up scar tissues and perfectly break down muscle knots that are the main reason behind the disruption of the blood circulation which cause you pain and inflammation.

At the beginning of Deep Tissue Massage, a lighter pressure is applied for warm up and prepares the muscles. After that, the common techniques including stripping and friction are applied. This massage technique provides you much- needed relief from osteoarthritis pain fibromyalgia without taking regular medicines. At certain times during the massage, you may feel some discomfort or even some pain. But it doesn’t last long. And it is better to suffer a pain for a few hours than to suffer for a longer period. Now it is the time to take a look at the different techniques that applied to deep tissue massage.

Cross- Fiber Friction

This kind of Deep Tissue massage you need not apply any types oils, creams, or lotions on your skin. Importantly, it is necessary to find out the right structure before your massage session begins. The pain will be gradually gone, once your muscles and tendons start working again.

Active Release Technique (ATR)

First examined and then be treated- this is all about Active Release Technique. If you go to a therapist, applying his or her hands to assess the composition, he or she will measure the development of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Finally, he or she will start putting pressure on the point to give the tissues a fresh strength that starts working all again.

Muscle Energy Technique (MET)

MET is a type of Deep Tissue massage that works mainly on stretching. This is a technique that is generally used by the sports massage specialists, orthopaedics and few physical therapists. This is a technique which is accepted to be useful especially in stretching. This technique is performed by your under the close guidance of your therapist who creates a resistance by an isometric compression to reinforce your muscles.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point technique helps you to get relief from pain through cycles of pressure. This massage works to find out the place and power of the discomfort with the help of deep breathing. Then it helps to loosen the tight muscles and in this way, it reduces the pain. After having just one session of massage you can see the decreasing of pain gradually.

Myofascial Release

Fascia means the protective layer that surrounds the muscles, bones, and joints. In this technique of Deep Tissue massage, a therapist put direct pressure on your skin without using any kind of oil or cream. As a result, the pain of fascia is started reducing gradually.

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Massage therapy is always followed for the betterment of your health. There are different types and techniques of massage and each of them has its own healing touch. Same thing we can say about the deep tissue massage. Let’s get an idea what benefit you’re going to get for taking this kind of massage.

Stress Relief and Mood Boost

When your Deep Tissue massage is underway, oxytocin and serotonin hormones started releasing to give a feeling of relaxation even helps to boost your mood. Stress hormones have also shown to reduce when you follow this kind of massage.

Improve Blood Flow

Rubbing deep tissues and relieving pressures have been shown to improve the blood flow in your body. Following Deep Tissue massage can also be lowered your blood pressure and heart rate. Besides that, new research shows, through Deep Tissue massage an improvement in circulation is seen in both athletes and non-exercisers. Even it helps to recover muscle injury and soreness.

Chronic Back Pain

A Deep Tissue massage provides proper blood circulation and also loosens muscles in the back areas. In this way, this massage technique helps you to recover from chronic back pain.

Recovery after Workout

Most of the time you feel pain on your body after intense physical training or workout. At this point of time, your body needs to recover and reduce any kind of inflammation. A Deep Tissue massage is the best solution for all these problems. It will give you the pain-free relaxation in a very short time.


Using Deep Tissue massage for arthritic pain is quite common. This massage technique proves very effective for those who are suffering from arthritis. But if needs to deal with sensitive joints then the approach should be more gentle.

After considering most of the features of both Swedish massage and Deep Tissue massage, now it is the right time find the difference between these two and decide which one is the better option for you.

  1. Swedish massage is all about calming and relaxing the body, removing tension and toxins to create a euphoric feeling. Deep Tissue massage is for those who are suffering from chronic pain, soreness or want little more intense pressure.
  2. In Swedish massage therapists will work from the head down using gliding strokes combined with light pressure to relax tensed muscles. But in Deep Tissue massage, therapists use firm strokes to release tension in the muscles.
  3. The central focus of Swedish massage is to reduce stress and keep you calmer so that you can control your emotions. Deep Tissue massage is focused on to release muscle pain and stress.
  4. In Swedish massage, therapists use some essential oils to reduce friction on the skin. Unlike Deep tissue massage where therapists apply firm pressure deep in the muscle structure working the fascia, or connective tissue.
  5. Swedish massage is good for those suffering from bad circulation, or nervous disorder. Deep Tissue massage is beneficial in helping with car related or sports related accidents.

Maybe there are some differences between these two types of massage, but it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. Both have a lot of benefits to offer you. You can select one on the basis of your need or your problem. No matter which one you’re going to choose, but one thing I must say that getting a massage is a great way to maintain serenity and reduce stress in your life.

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