What Is The Difference Between A Swedish Massage And A Deep Tissue Massage?

We often get clients who are looking for pain relief, an escape from the stress and tension of everyday life, or just a relaxing hour in a tranquil environment. No matter what brings a client into our office, we hear one inquiry more than any other – what kind of massage is right for me?

The answer? It truly depends.

Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage: What's the Difference?

There are many different types of modalities that can be used individually or combined to create the massage therapy experience that will provide the most benefits depending on your lifestyle. Some are more well known than others. All have unique benefits that can play a role in pain relief or simple relaxation. Let's go over a few.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is by far the most widely recognized technique in massage therapy. This modality offers more flexibility in pressure, speed, and cadence than others and uses the fingers, knuckles, and palms to create pressure that works into the superficial layers of connective tissue. Many massage therapists will start off a massage therapy session with the Swedish technique to warm the tissues up, making them more responsive to other techniques that may be used in a session.

Who Should Get A Swedish Massage?

First and foremost, Swedish massage is great for beginners. If you are not sure what kind of pressure feels good to you or provides you the most relief, getting a Swedish massage will expose you to a variety of different touches to help you determine your preferences. Additionally, this technique will help your massage therapist explore the needs of your body to better craft a treatment plan that offers the most benefits.

Swedish massage is also great for those who are getting a massage strictly to promote relaxation. Because the technique works primarily in the superficial layers of tissue, those who are seeking massage therapy for pain relief may see better results with a more targeted modality.

Deep Tissue Massage

There are a lot of misconceptions around what exactly a deep tissue massage is. It is not just a massage with added pressure. In fact, deep tissue massage is a unique approach that allows the massage therapist to break up scar tissue and adhesions that have formed in the connective tissue through a process called stripping.

Stripping is a specialized type of stroke that uses slow, deep pressure to release and elongate deep layers of muscle. The goal is to increase blood flow to the specific area to reduce pain. It is through this deep, targeted manipulation of tissue that you start to see recovery and healing.

Who Should Get A Deep Tissue Massage?

Those who suffer from chronic muscle pain are ideal candidates for deep tissue massage. In order to get the most out of your deep tissue massage, though, you will want to consider a long-term treatment plan. It can be a slow process to work into and manipulate the deepest layers of connective tissue so you will want to commit to this type of massage therapy for an extended period of time to truly reap the benefits.

Cranio-Sacral Massage

We talk about cranio-sacral massage therapy a lot at Wayfare Wellness. It is an extremely gentle treatment that often gets overlooked by patients. Cranio-sacral massage focuses on the central nervous system at the head, spine, and sacrum and uses a slight amount of pressure to promote pain relief.

This technique is focused on the the manipulation of the cerebrospinal fluid, as opposed to connective tissue. This fluid is what cushions your central nervous system so limited mobility of the cerebrospinal fluid can lead to excessive tension in the nervous system.

Who Should Get A Cranio-Sacral Massage?

This technique is much more gentle than other types of massage therapy modalities, so it ideal for patients who have experienced a trauma that lead to a shift in their equilibrium. Patients who suffer from spinal cord injuries, PTSD, migraines, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain disorders may benefit from cranio-sacral massage.

Getting A Massage In Downtown Denver

Whether you want to relax or you need on-going pain relief, massage therapy can play a pivotal role in your regular self-care routine. Our massage therapist at Wayfare Wellness can help you determine the difference between Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and other modalities to create a treatment plan that is best for you.

Contact Wayfare Wellness to schedule an appointment today.