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Swedish Massage Vs. Deep Tissue Massage: How Are They Distinct?

Massages have always been the most relieving activities as they reduce stress and relax your mind. Among these massages, Swedish and Deep tissue massages are the most common ones that have many health-related and recreational benefits.

Elisa Mueller
Mar 01, 20233 Shares484 Views
Massages have always been the most relieving activities as they reduce stress and relax your mind. Among these massages, Swedish and Deep tissue massages are the most common ones that have many health-related and recreational benefits.
Getting one of these massages from a professional can improve blood circulation, increase energy levels, and can even give more attentiveness to the body. As the two are very common, people generally consider them similar to each other.
However, both of them are performed in different ways and deal with different issues in the body. Thus, if you want to attain knowledge about both massages then the information is as follows:

A Complete Overview Of Swedish Massage

What is Swedish Massage?

This is a type of massage that provides energy and improves body health. Massage oil or body lotion is basically used as these are truly essential to protect skin from any friction.
Besides relief from stress, Swedish massage can also provide many other benefits. It is considered effective in medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and breast cancer. If you want to achieve positive health benefits then you should take this particular massage on a daily basis.
Swedish Massage
Swedish Massage

8 Benefits You Can Attain From Swedish Massage

Nerve Stimulation

Nerve stimulation is not easy to heal but with Swedish massage, you can improve it. The massage puts pressure on the muscles and aids them to better the stimulation of nerves.
The nerves are present in the whole body and transmit messages to the brain. Thus, Swedish massage can help you manage pain and make nerve stimulation better. That promotes brain functioning and helps people manage any kind of discomfort.

Mood Booster

Swedish massage can also become your mood booster. The massage promotes the production of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Because of more production of these hormones, the person feels more stable. This promotes positivity and offers a pleasant mood to the person. This particular massage stops and minimizes the production of hormones that causes stress like cortisol.

Tension Reliever

When knots are developed in the body then Swedish massage can easily recover your body. Knots are hyperirritable spots that develop in the muscles and tissues. The massage heals the muscles and breaks down binding spots that are gathering to cause muscle tension. If anyone is facing a severe knot condition then they should get more intense massages.

Increases Blood Flow

Swedish massage involves a technique known as effleurage. That directs the flow of blood toward the heart. Thus, this can help you increase blood flow and open up blood vessels. The muscles will be able to absorb more oxygen, nutrients, and minerals that your body removes otherwise.

Higher Flexibility

Once you get the Swedish massage then all your muscle tension will be removed and it will improve your body’s flexibility. One can experience muscle relaxation, and joint relaxation and also increase motion range. Relaxation of muscles and joints will further enhance their stretching capacity.

Lymph Drainage

It is a condition that naturally occurs when you do not use or move your muscles. A fluid called lymphatic fluid accumulates and builds several toxins. The problem can also occur because of any illness or medical treatment. However, one can manage it by getting a good Swedish massage.

Helps in Pregnancy

Swedish massage can be best for a pregnant woman. That is because most of the muscles in the body are tight and tense which causes more pain. Thus, offering this massage will reduce the labor pain. The massage also reduces the production of cortisol which reduces the chances of depression, and anxiety.

Reduces Insomnia

Getting a Swedish massage can help you get better sleep and reduce the chances of insomnia. The massage increases the production of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that indicates the brain enters to get a deep and sound sleep. That is the reason people who do not get a night of proper sleep are advised to get a Swedish massage.

Different Techniques Of Swedish Massage

Swedish massage has different types of massage techniques. All the customers can select their preferred techniques and get their desired massage. All these techniques are unique and are offered to heal the body.


Swedish massage begins with the effleurage technique. This technique is given two times in a massage session. At first, effleurage is done in the beginning as a warm-up then at last when the massage session is about to end.
Either gliding strokes or gentle strokes are done in a circular motion. To lose the body knots different levels of pressure are applied by the therapist. These levels of pressure are further classified into 3 categories. Those are:
  • Nerve stroking: this is the lightest massage from all effleurage approaches. The therapist only uses fingertip pressure and massages the surface. It is given just to prepare the body for further sessions. However, this is uncommon and is mostly used in head massages.
  • Superficial effleurage: it is a frequently used approach of effleurage. The massage session actually begins with this by applying oil and giving a warm-up to muscles. Strokes are given with an open palm across the surface with different degrees of pressure for better blood flow.
  • Deeper effleurage: this approach seems identical to superficial effleurage. But the degree of pressure is higher and it emphasizes certain areas of the body. Especially areas of knots and adhesion.


The name of Petrissage comes from the French word petrir which means “to knead”. The technique provides deep kneading movements to give relaxation. Swedish massage is given by compressing soft tissues of the body in a rhythmic manner. Kneading, wringing, lifting, and rolling are common practices performed in the massage repeatedly.
  • Kneading: this approach is provided just like the way a baker makes kneading dough. Areas with soft tissues are lifted up and then squeezed and rolled back to their position. The therapist will roll back the tissues slowly in circular motions rhythmically. The amount of pressure applied can vary from person to person. The approach is particularly for deep muscular penetration.
  • Wringing: it also begins by compressing soft tissue areas against the bones. Then a similar process of lifting, squeezing, and rolling is done continuously as the approach is similar to kneading.
  • Rolling: this approach is used for the epidermis (skin rolling) and the muscle fibers (muscle rolling). Soft tissues are lifted and squeezed in a sideways pattern in rolling.
  • Lifting: here massage is not given with palms as in kneading. But it is done by using the index finger, middle finger, and thumb.
  • By Petrissage one can make loose body muscles, increase blood circulation and stretch tensed tissues. It is the longest technique performed in Swedish massage. One can attain various therapeutic advantages from massage and it’s considered best for people who have a muscle injury.


The technique is performed by rubbing the thumb and finger on the surface. Linear and circular rhythm should be followed while giving Swedish massage. Continued practice of rubbing on the sore area will realign muscle tension. People who frequently free joint pain can feel better by doing the friction technique.


The therapist will shake the massage area repeatedly to lose up your body. If the person is getting a massage on the back, then skin and muscles will be shaken by the palms. However, if it is done on areas that do not require much pressure such as the face then they might use their fingers.
As these areas are sensitive, small, and cannot tolerate much pressure. People who have a lot of scars and knots on their bodies must have vibration as it is best in soothing those areas.


The technique is similar to its name as tapotement means drumming or tapping. The surface is tapped in a rhythm for a long period to stimulate blood flow. Tapotement includes different tapping techniques like:
  • Beating: it is also called hammering as the tapping is given by a closed fist. For applying good force on an area like the back this method is used.
  • Slapping: gentle slapping process is performed with palms for muscular stimulation.
  • Cupping: tapping process is done with cupped hands. Cupping is used to relax deep and larger areas thus done by applying high force.
  • Hacking: this is given with the edge of the hands. The process emphasizes applying firm pressure to small areas of the body. Some of you might also know it by the name of karate chopping.
Multiple tapping on the surface increases the production of endorphins which eliminate stress. This will aid in lymphatic drainage and reduction in tight muscles. All the earlier provided massage approaches are done in Swedish massage. Those are highly effective and beneficial for people.

An Important Note - Staying Hydrated is Crucial

Swedish massage works on your body for providing relief and eliminates toxins. However, if your body is not hydrated then it will be hard to remove toxins from the body. Therefore, drinking plenty of water or any herbal tea can help to maintain the effectiveness of the massage. It will increase the hydration of the body and make the body’s circulation better.

A Complete Overview Of Deep Tissue Massage

What is a Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is a revolution in Swedish massage. As the starting procedure is similar in both massages however the strokes of Deep tissue massage are deeper and harder. The deep, firm pressure and slow strokes are used to relieve pain from the layering of muscles. That is the reason Deep tissue massage is highly common among athletes, runners, and injured people.

6 Health Benefits You Can Attain From Deep Tissue Massage

Relieve Stress

Deep tissue massage is a great way to eliminate stress from your life. Stress is like a daily activity that everyone experiences either because of workload, home, or educational issues. Getting this massage will lower cortisol levels and will promote the production of oxytocin. That will improve your mood and offer soothing effects. It will also cope with the physical symptoms of stress like tight muscles, headaches, and shoulder tension.

Reduces Pain

With Deep tissue massage, one can get rid of several kinds of pain. These involve chronic pains in the lower back, stiff neck, plantar fasciitis, and fibromyalgia. All these pains can be easily recreated by getting Deep tissue massage. The massage destroys clusters of tight tissue that cause pain to the body. Massage is a more effective and safe way to deal with chronic pain.

Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Deep tissue massage attacks on reasons causing stress and reduces it which stabilizes blood pressure. It has an impact on 3 different blood pressures that are systolic, diastolic, and arterial blood pressure.

Do Breakup of Scar Tissues

Deep tissue massage is also effective in breaking scar tissues and adhesion breakdown. Adhesion means knots that people feel in muscles; these are painful muscle tissues. Adhesion causes inflammation and swelling that causes pain. Thus, it would be better to get a Deep tissue massage to avoid such problems.

Deal With Symptoms of Arthritis

Arthritis is a problem in which people get severe joint pain and stiffness. That restricts their motion and limits the range of their movements. Some people also suffer from sleeping disorders as they cannot sleep because of the pain. However, getting a moderately pressured Deep tissue massage can minimize the pain of arthritis. That offers a good sleep cycle to the patient.

Rehabilitates Injuries of Muscles

This massage can help you to recover from twisted and stretch tight muscles. Deep tissue massage has been practiced in sports for a long time. Muscle stretch, stiffness, and muscle tensions are common sports injuries that are because athletes are adding massage into their recovery protocols. They are also useful in preventing muscle injuries, fatigue, and soreness.
One can take Deep tissue massage from healing websites like Moongchigo(뭉치고)to recover from their injury. Moongchigo is a Korea-based website that provides information about healing services such as massage, spa, skincare, and a lot more. Here customers will be able to check reviews of people about different healing places. Images of places are also provided to have a look at them. Thus, buyers can select the place which they find more appealing. Thus, if you ever visit Korea then you can easily get all the healing places on your fingertips with this particular trusted online platform.

Different Techniques of Deep Tissue Massage

All the massages include different techniques and approaches in them as the massage is performed in different steps. These are called additional techniques that are used to provide relaxation to various layers of muscles. A few different techniques are given below.

Cross Fiber Friction

This approach of Deep tissue massage is given to clients who had some serious injury and need quick healing. Scar tissues are essential for repairing fibers and muscles around the area of injury. But because of injury it becomes tough and restricts the movements of the person.
Thus, cross fiber friction technique is used to reduce fibrosis and increase flexibility. The therapist will not use any lubricant as it is a non-oiled stroke that will generate friction against ligaments and muscles.

Active Release Technique

This approach also deals with the rigidness and restriction of scar tissues. Therefore, applying this approach with higher pressure on a tendered injury can help them recover easily. People who have suffered numerous muscle injuries or cumulative injuries must get these massage sessions.

Myofascial Massage

The therapist will use his knuckles and closed fist to give this massage. Myofascial massage is great for releasing tension from numerous points of the body. Through this approach, people can overcome their long-term pain and any other severe symptoms of traumatic injuries.

Trigger Point Therapy

This approach is slightly different from others. Firstly, manual manipulation is done. That means at first all the tensed spots and tight nerves are located. Then fingers are pressed firmly on the targeted area. By the repetition of this approach, the tight muscles become loose and the area of injury becomes less rigid.

5 Ways of Giving a Deep Tissue Massage

Sacrum Push

This is a method that can be used in every full-body Deep tissue massage. The massage is given by placing a hand on the lower back of the person. That is exactly above the sacrum and then place the second on the first.
Now the therapist will try to lean his body to apply pressure on your back. Applying weight to a certain position will help you get rid of adhesion and tension in that area. Once the therapist applies the needed pressure, he will hold that position with the same pressure.
At that time both client and therapist need to take deep and slow breaths. This will provide a warm and deep healing to the core of the body. The muscles around the spinal cord and the area of the sacrum will be free from any pain.

Elbow Pressure

Another way of getting a Deep tissue massage is elbow pressure that begins when the therapist bends his arm to 90 degrees. Then the elbow is placed in the area of muscle tension. Once the therapist finds the position correct, he will increase the level of pressure. If the therapist is not professional then they cannot figure out the right position.
Placing pressure on bony areas can be highly painful and discomforting. The client can even face short-term swelling in the area. Thus, make sure you are choosing the right therapist. Therefore, pressure should be applied slowly until the therapist gets the trigger point.
Most therapists choose this way of massage for retreating aching shoulder muscles. The elbow should be bent completely as putting weight on a sharper elbow will not be comfortable for the clients. This will be safe and will not cause any damage to the client and also to the therapist’s thumb and fingers.

Knuckle Pressure

The massage is given by forming a tight fist by the therapist. The knuckles are placed on the area and slowly pushed toward the body with pressure. The pressure will be backed by the body weight of the therapist. This is a great technique to transfer force from your skin to the soft tissues.
Different fisting practices such as rock, rotate, and roll will be added while massage to push the muscles correctly and lose the tension between the ligaments. This technique is used on fleshy areas to spread the effect to a larger area. Clients who are expecting vigorous therapy should choose this technique.

Double Finger Press

Some of the clients do not prefer to get the massage with sharp instruments like elbows and knuckles. Therefore, they prefer double finger press over other techniques. However, it is challenging for the therapist to offer such a massage.
Because he has to give the same level of pressure from the fingertips that are otherwise given from the elbow. But professional therapists are trainers to offer such massages too. The approach is somehow similar to sacrum push as it includes both hands.
By placing one hand over the other with crossed fingers the therapist offers this massage. Putting the interlaced fingers on the targeted area and then applying power will provide healing to the area. A wide area is covered as all 10 fingers will spread even more forcefully.
Thumb Rolls
Thumb rolls can help the therapist to offer deeper healing to certain muscles. These are more often provided to tired and strained calf muscles. Another benefit of this technique is that clients can endure more pressure easily with a soothing effect.
The therapy can become more offering healing if the entire body is in an equal position. Thus to elevate the legs towels and pillows are offered by the therapist. The first leg above the ankle is gripped with both hands and thumbs are placed over the calf muscles.
The fleshy tips of the thumbs will grab the skin and both thumbs will move in an opposite circular direction. As the process continues for some time then the grip of the leg will reduce and then the process will get repeated to the calf.

An Important Note – Take Care of the Applied Pressure

It is true that the therapist will apply a lot of pressure while the massage. But it is not necessary that you will feel severe pain after it. The pressure is strong but the therapist knows what amount of pressure is needed for which area. That means the pressure and force of massage will not bother you and only offer to heal.
But one needs to tell the therapist if they feel inappropriate in any terms. Keeping yourself quiet can create problems as the pain can damage the muscle areas. Therefore, always share your discomfort with your therapist if you feel any.

How Are They Different From One Another?

On the Basis of Technique

Swedish massage is done by providing long strokes and applying light pressure. The pressure will increase the stimulation of muscles and relax the surface tension. On the other hand, Deep tissue massage strokes are applied with higher force.
The pressure tends to increase as the process continues and further becomes firm. That is because it is done to release the tension among the layers of fascia, connective tissues, and muscles. These massages do not have any side effects therefore one can get them from professional providers like Moongchigo.
Moongchigo is a Korean website that works as a guide for everyone. Here they provide information regarding stores like massage parlors, waxing, and skincare. The website offers location-based information and provides you with options that are around you.
Both massages involve a distinct degree of pressure that they can decide by consulting their therapist. Swedish massage is generally done with a lower level of pressure. As it is done only to relieve the surface thus the pressure will be light. People who usually get a higher degree massage can feel the pressure low for them.
However Deep tissue massage’s effect should go under the layering of muscles which is why the degree of massage is higher than Swedish one. Some people might not feel comfortable due to greater pressure as it can be stronger for them if they are expecting a relaxing massage.


Swedish massage: The major purpose of getting this massage is to rejuvenate your body. People who are tired of day-to-day stress take their massages to remove stress and tension to revive their bodies.
Deep tissue massage: People who are suffering from any muscle strain must get this massage. Because applying pressure on muscles can be the best possible way to get rid of strains. The purpose of massage is to help in quick recovery from muscle strain.

Things to Consider Before Getting Massage

Find the Right Therapist

When you are taking any recreational therapy or massage then the selection of a good provider is crucial. One needs to take complete information about the place before they book an appointment. Check the packages on the website and see if they offer your desired massages or not.

Explain Your Injuries

Before you get the therapy it’s better to explain the injury for which you want to get the massage. Making the injury clear will help the therapist to apply pressure on injured areas. This will also help them to adjust pressure if they have severe pain in certain areas.

Level of Comfort

Every person has their own comfort level thus if you do not want to get a specific massage or avoid a specific area while massaging. Then you need to tell them beforehand. You can also select the level of pressure to avoid anybody inflammation and swelling.

Make Budget

Before you make an appointment with the therapist you need to certain a budget amount. There are a lot of people who do not research or disclose their budget and get in trouble after getting the services. Thus, it would be better to tell your budget and find a massage package that falls under your budget.

Check the Credentials

Booking a creditable massage place is necessary because these will stretch your body muscles. That means you cannot take any risk of getting a massage from a non-credentialed person. Thus, you can ask for the credentials from the therapist. They will show you their license or any practice certificate. Thus, make sure you choose a professional to get a Deep tissue massage.


What will be the time duration of the Swedish massage session?

Generally, the session is from 50 to 60 minutes for a full body massage. However, the time can fluctuate if the client wants any additional massage.

What are the things you should avoid while doing a deep tissue massage?

One should avoid heavy meals and drink a lot of water. Because while the massage you need to lie on your stomach and endure intense pressure. Thus, for an effective Deep tissue massage, you must take a small meal.

Which body parts are included in a Swedish massage session?

The back, arms, legs, feet, shoulders, neck, and head are included. Clients can add other body parts also if they wish to get the message on full body.

How long does the Deep tissue massage take to heal?

It will take a minimum of 24 hours to ensure complete recovery of muscles. Although for maximum recovery one needs to give time as post-massage soreness needs at least 48 hours or more in some cases.

Can Deep tissue massage irritate nerves of the body?

It is possible to damage your nerves while Deep tissue massage sessions. However, it is a rare thing but to avoid it one can choose a professional therapist.

Final Words

Swedish massage and Deep tissue massage share some similarities and dissimilarities too. Thus, it becomes hard to decide which one to pick if it’s your first time. However, to decide that one just needs to set their ultimate goal that what they desire to achieve from a massage.
If you are someone who is just seeking a recreational activity to ease their mind then opt for a Swedish massage. But if your goal is to target any pain or chronic disease then you need Deep tissue massage.
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