Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage

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There are a lot of different styles and techniques of massage, and two of the most common types are the Swedish massage and the deep tissue massage, both of which have great benefits, and also share some similarities.

Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage

The Swedish massage, known in most countries as classical massage, ranges from soft to more vigorous techniques, whereas the deep tissue massage is known for its vigorous style and heavy pressure techniques.

Swedish massage is the foundation of many other massage techniques and aims to ease tension, encourage circulation, and ultimately relax and relieve stress.

Deep tissue massage requires more pressure to be applied to reach the deeper layers of the muscle tissue, often used to help manage chronic pain and relieve muscle tension.

The techniques employed by both styles are very similar, deep tissue massage essentially builds on the Swedish massage style, but emphasizes more pressure being applied to reach the deeper layers of the muscle.

Below I have laid out the benefits of both massage styles, take a look to see how they compare.

What is a Swedish Massage?

So, what is Swedish Massage? Well, the team over at Skin Apeel says Swedish massage employs the use of 5 strokes, effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, and vibration. 

A practitioner will often use their palms and fingers to knead and massage your muscles with long, flowing circular motions, sometimes employing the use of elbows although the use of elbows is more often seen with deep tissue massages.

These motions are performed in the direction that your blood flows to the heart, this helps encourage circulation and detoxify the muscles.

A Swedish massage therapist will work out tension in the muscles, which helps you become relaxed, passive joint movement techniques are also utilized to help improve flexibility.

An average session tends to last between 60 and 90 minutes and can utilize gentle or vigorous techniques.

Benefits of Swedish massage:

Improved Circulation

Practitioners massage in the direction that the blood flows to the heart. This helps improve circulation by forcing blood out of the area quicker allowing new nutrient-filled blood to enter and speed up healing and recovery.

Reduces Stress

Kneading and massaging of tense muscles allows the practitioners to work out knots that have appeared due to overuse or strain, with the release in tension causing less pain, your body will be under less stress.

Also, massage has been shown to increase serotonin release which helps to improve mood and relieve stress.

Improves Posture

Tight muscles can cause imbalances throughout the body, these imbalances can affect your posture and cause a great deal of pain.

Through massage, you can alleviate some of this tightness and over time this will allow your posture to correct itself.

What is A Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage involves applying more pressure than you would during a typical Swedish massage, this is so they can reach the deeper layers of your muscles.

Deep tissue massage is quite vigorous and can sometimes cause a little pain especially to those not accustomed to massage.

Often used to treat chronic pain or relieve deep layers of tension, deep tissue techniques will aim to disperse knots and correct muscle imbalances caused by tight muscles, very similar to the objectives of a Swedish massage.

A practitioner will use their fingers and palms to perform the massage along with heavier use of the elbow compared to Swedish Massage, the use of the elbow helps apply more pressure to the muscle.

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage:

Eases Pain

Tense muscles can be a major factor when it comes to body aches and pains, tight muscles in the neck can cause headaches, migraines and muscle pain, so when a trained deep tissue specialist works on the knots in these muscles, they start to relax, with them not being strained constantly any more the pain can ease off, often relieving you of tension headaches and chronic muscle pain.

Improves Posture and Circulation

Just like the Swedish massage, the deep tissue massage also improves circulation and posture, this comes from the way the techniques are performed.

The massage therapist will massage in the direction that the blood flows to the heart to help with circulation and pushing toxins from the muscles.

The release of tension between the muscles helps restore normal posture, which for some may ease a lot of pain, the strain caused by bad posture can be agonizing.


I hope you have enjoyed reading Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage and can now understand the very slight differences utilized with each technique.

In terms of picking a winner, I would say they are both winners and can both be used for different aches and pains, I would recommend Swedish massage to those with sore tight muscles who want to ease into the world of massage and have a great relaxing experience.

For those with more chronic pain or recurring aches, I would recommend a deep tissue massage, as sometimes the extra pressure can help relieve some stubborn aches.


  1. July 13, 2020 / 10:04 pm

    It is the blog is very great information Swedish massage vs deep tissue is looking helping. thank you for share this blog

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