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Swedish Massage Therapy VS Deep Tissue Massage: What You Need to know


Patient receiving a swedish massage therapy from a therapist from Inspine Therapy

Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage therapy are two different types of massage therapy. Swedish massage is gentler than deep tissue massage and better suited for people interested in relaxation and tension relief.


With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, different people try to find the most efficient methods to relax and unwind. While there are also other massage techniques out there, these two methods are typically the most common ones that would be suggested. However, understanding the benefits of both is important to truly understand what your body needs to heal.


In this article, we’re going to discuss the benefits of both methods for your overall well-being. However, it’s still highly necessary to consult a medical professional in case there are more serious complications that need to be addressed. Being well-informed and getting the proper medical help is still the best key to recovery.




What is Swedish Massage?


A type of massage therapy called Swedish massage therapy is particularly renowned for its calming effects. With this method, a massage therapist uses a combination of friction, gliding strokes, and kneading to target specific muscles.


This method, also referred to as classical massage, is the most widely used type of massage therapy in Western nations. It is also regarded as a foundational method that inspired the development of further massage therapy specialties.


Swedish massage may loosen up tight muscles caused by daily activities such as sitting at the computer or exercising. It can be very helpful for people who hold a lot of tension in their lower back, shoulders, and neck.


During a Swedish massage, therapists use kneading, long strokes, deep circular movements, and passive joint movements to relax you, stimulate nerve endings, increase blood flow and lymph drainage.


Some of the most impactful effects of Swedish massage therapy are including:


  • Generalized relaxation- Swedish massage is one of the most relaxing methods of therapy. Many people who undergo a session may feel very relaxed and even fall asleep.


  • Breaking down of scar tissue- Scar tissue is a type of connective tissue that forms when an injury occurs. It can be caused by surgery, injury, or repetitive motion. Swedish massage can help break down scar tissue by increasing blood flow to the affected area and promoting the growth of new tissue. This can help reduce pain and improve range of motion .


  • Improved circulation- After a Swedish massage therapy session, the body may experience speed the healing process and reduce swelling from an injury. This can also have an overall positive effect on the body.


  • Reducing symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety- Swedish massage can help reduce depression and anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It can also help increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body, which are neurotransmitters that help regulate mood.


  • Managing symptoms of back pains, headaches, muscle issues, and other chronic pains- Swedish massage can manage symptoms of chronic pain by reducing muscle tension and increasing blood flow to the affected area. This can help reduce pain and improve range of motion. It is important to note that Swedish massage may not be effective for all types of chronic pain and that it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment for chronic pain.


  • Boosting immunity- Swedish massage can boost immunity by increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage. This can help remove toxins from the body and improve the function of the immune system.


  • Improving body flexibility- Swedish massage can improve flexibility by increasing blood flow to the muscles and reducing muscle tension. This can help improve range of motion and reduce the risk of injury.




What is Deep Tissue Massage?


Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage but goes farther and is intended for a different purpose. Deep tissue massage is best suited for athletes, runners, people with injuries, and those with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and lower back pain.


It targets the inner layers of your muscles, tendons, fascia or dense connective tissue. Deep tissue massage uses many of the same stroking and kneading movements as Swedish massage but there’s far more pressure.


This pressure can sometimes be painful. In order to reach the deep muscle tissue, a therapist will massage layer by layer of muscle, applying more and more pressure and employing special techniques with the fingers, fists, and maybe even elbows to reach and stretch that deep tissue.


A 2017 study looked at the effects of deep tissue massage in 31 males with ankylosing spondylitis and found that it may help back pain. Research shows that sports massage may reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. Deep tissue massage may also aid recovery after injury.


Deep tissue massage offers both physical and psychological benefits. It can relieve muscle pain and stiffness and provide stress-relieving relaxation for the body and mind. Deep tissue massage is a massage technique that’s mainly used to treat musculoskeletal issues, such as strains and sports injuries.


Some of the main benefits of deep tissue massage include:


  • Pain relief- Deep tissue massage can provide pain relief whether you're recovering from a sports injury, have plantar fasciitis, or have a persistent illness like sciatica or fibromyalgia. Massage has been shown to be an effective pain relief.


  • Reduces inflammation- Deep tissue massage can help alleviate pain-causing inflammation. It can assist increase circulation and promote healing, just like Swedish massage therapy.


  • Improves posture- Deep tissue massage can help improve posture by releasing muscle tension that causes the body to be out of alignment. This can result in an overall improvement in posture.


  • Increases flexibility- By stretching stiff or twisted muscles, deep tissue massage can assist increase flexibility. This is especially helpful for patients who have experienced mobility-decreasing injuries in the past.


  • Reduces stress- Much like Swedish massage therapy, deep tissue massage can help reduce stress by lowering heart rate and blood pressure.


It’s important to note that it’s not unusual to have some lingering soreness for a few days following a deep tissue massage. Using a heating pad or a cold pack wrapped in a towel may help to relieve soreness.


Though different types of massage therapy is generally safe, deep tissue massage uses very firm pressure and may not be safe for everyone. Consult your therapist before having a deep tissue massage so they can properly advise you on steps and precautions you might need to take before a session.

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