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Swedish vs. Deep Tissue Massage: What’s the Difference and Which to Choose

Swedish vs. Deep Tissue Massage Jul13th 2021

All massages come with great benefits, but different types of massages can help you in different ways.  The two most common types of massages are Swedish and Deep Tissue.  Whether you’re new to massage or live for your weekly appointment, knowing more about the difference between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage can help you choose which will be the best for you!  (Hint: it might change day to day!)

What to Expect with Swedish Massage:

  1. Effleurage: the massage therapist moves palms in circles, gliding over your muscles to increase blood flow and relaxation
  2. Petrissage: the massage therapist kneads and rolls your muscles, or even lightly wrings or lifts them, relieving muscle tension
  3. Friction: the massage therapist creates friction to break down scar tissue and create heat, helping to relieve tension
  4. Topotement: the massage therapist performs rapid percussive movements, almost like playing the drums, to improve movement in your muscles and soft tissues
  5. Vibration: the massage therapist uses both palms, face down, to create a vibrating motion to wake up and engage the nervous system

What to Expect with Deep Tissue Massage:

  1. Cross Fiber Friction: the massage therapist, often without oil or lotion, uses hands to create heat to help loosen up tense muscles
  2. Active Release Technique: the massage therapist releases muscle tension through a combination of manipulating your body into different positions and applying coordinated pressure to target tense muscles
  3. Trigger Point Therapy: the massage therapist works with you to identify tender/sore spots, then applies direct pressure and breathing techniques to relax muscles, including deeper layers of muscle tissue
  4. Myofascial Release: the massage therapist, often without oil or lotion, pinpoints restrictions of tissue and muscles, applying targeted pressure to release tension and improve movement

How to Choose a Massage Type:

All types of massages will have the same basic benefits, but different types of massages emphasize different aspects.  Swedish massages are best if your primary goal is relaxation or reducing stress.  Deep Tissue massage is best for targeted tension relief.  If you have an area that is especially tight or sore, Deep tissue massage can get deeper for increased relief. To get the best of both, some massage clients also like to choose a combination of the two!  This can be especially effective for longer sessions.

Schedule a Massage at TherapyWorks!

No matter which you prefer, our massage therapists can help you get the most out of your session!  Call us at (785) 749-1300 to schedule your massage or request an appointment online.

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