Have you ever felt confused which massage to ask for, Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage?
Ok lets break it down. Every body is unique and different in what it likes, what it needs, and what it doesn’t. You deserve to have what you want and need when receiving a massage.
As massage therapists, we encourage you to share your specific needs with us during the intake process. Are you looking for more of a Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage? Please speak up at any point during the session if you need something adjusted. We are grateful when clients feel comfortable enough to tell us if there is anything we can do to improve.
Let’s start with a Swedish massage and what it entails.
It’s a common term you may see when looking into getting a massage. It is the foundation for most other massage modalities, but what does it really mean?
Swedish massage is the most commonly offered massage technique, utilizing a light to firm pressure on the muscles.
It uses a combination of techniques such as long flowing strokes,kneading movements, friction, vibration and percussion. This massage will often include passive and active joint movements (gentle stretching and bending of the joints). It is customizable to each client’s specific needs and desired pressure. Swedish massage generally provides a more relaxing experience, but the pressure may not be enough for some people.
In contrast, deep tissue massage applies much more pressure to certain areas to release tension deep within the muscles and fascia.
Deep tissue massage is a specific type of massage that targets deeper structures of muscles and fascia.
It is best used on smaller muscle injuries and chronic problems. Most often the massage therapist will work layer by layer, starting out with some Swedish massage to warm up the muscle groups, in order to get in deeper on specific areas that need releasing. This creates changes in posture and makes room for movements after releasing fascial adhesions and chronic muscle contractures. Deep tissue massage may focus on stretching fascia, releasing trigger points, and softening deep muscular adhesions.
The pressure given should not be painful, but border the line of pleasurable release of tension and the pain blocking response.
If you are cringing, or otherwise tensing up during your session, your massage therapist will likely back off the pressure a bit. We are looking for that sweet spot, often explained as “it hurts so good”. Breathing slowly and deeply during your session will help your body to receive the deeper massage work. We also welcome you to speak up if the pressure is too much, not enough, or needs to be adjusted in any way.
It is important to understand these two different types of offerings, to help your massage therapist understand what your needs and expectations are for your massage that day.
Often people will be more prone to prefer one type of massage pretty consistently, but your needs can change from session to session.
Swedish massage is more about deep relaxation, increasing circulation of blood and lymph, and relieving discomfort. Deep tissue massage is usually more focused on specific areas/needs that the client wants to address. Such things as chronic headaches, pain, injuries, and postural issues.
More often than not, an Integrative massage is what a client ends up needing/wanting. These sessions integrate various modalities to offer the relaxing effects from a Swedish massage as well as the focused deeper work from deep tissue massage.