Difference between Swedish massage vs Deep tissue?[Full Guide]

The most common question one thinks of at the time of getting a massage is whether to get a Swedish massage vs Deep tissue as both are very beneficial and can quench your thirst for a good massage.

Both the Swedish massage and Deep tissue are popular massage therapies, and so to help you in the decision, we would like to discuss some Swedish massage benefits, deep tissue benefits, and lastly, Swedish massage vs deep tissue. Hopefully, by the end of the article, we would have helped you make your decision.

Swedish massage therapy

Swedish massage is the most common massage therapy. The Swedish massage is also sometimes known as classic massage. The general technique of the Swedish massage is to release muscle tension and promote relaxation.

Swedish massage is generally for the people seeking relaxation and relief from tension.

At some point or another, we all have been a victim to stiff muscles. Sometimes the wrong posture during sitting or wrong exercises also leads to stiff muscles and muscle pain. Swedish massage therapy deals with these muscles.

For whom the Swedish massage is most effective?

The muscles that suffer the most are the ones that are most affected by Swedish massage therapy. Hence, the people suffering from back pain, shoulder pain, or neck pain will be most satisfied with this massage.

What are the techniques used in Swedish massage?

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

The therapists often use these techniques to perform Swedish massage

1. Kneading:

This is a commonly used technique. In this technique, the pressure is applied to tissues. Kneading refers to compressing the soft tissues and kneading them in a circular motion. In this technique, the muscles are lifted, rolled, and squeezed in a compressive action. The collagen fibers of the flesh are broken down in this technique and then reconstructed, which then decreases pain and increases flexibility in the fabric.

When is kneading mostly used?

Kneading is mostly used in treating high tone muscles. High tone muscles are when the muscles become tense, even in a relaxed state. The overuse of a muscle or long sessions of stress leads to the high tone muscles. Kneading helps in reducing this tightness by increasing the blood flow in these tissues.

This technique increases the temperature of the fabric by using friction against the skin. When the temperature of the tissue rises, the tightness reduces and makes the tissue much flexible and easy to move. Kneading reverts the muscles to the standard form. Kneading also stimulates the nervous system, which helps in stress release and promotes calmness.

Most common parts to get kneading treatment:

The most common parts where the kneading technique is used are:

  • Neck
  • Shoulder
  • Back
  • Thigh

CalfHowever, these are not the only parts where the kneading technique is used; kneading can be used in other places as well.

Benefits of kneading:

Kneading increases the blood flow in the tissues. It softens the masses, which causes the muscles to get more flexible fabrics. Kneading also helps in:

  • Decreasing tension
  • Increasing flexibility and freeing the muscle movement.
  • Decreasing muscle pain. 

2. Strokes: 

Different types of strokes are used in the Swedish massage. These are:

(a) Effleurage:

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

Effleurage, otherwise known as long strokes are a type of massage therapy where gliding and stroking of hands motion are used on the body. These strokes help in releasing the muscle pain, and it also reduces tension. The pressure of the long strokes varies between light and medium.

(b) Petrissage: 

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

This technique is used to work on the muscles on a much deeper level. The knuckles and thumbs are mostly used in this type of stroking. 

(c) Friction:

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

In this technique, heat is produced by using friction. The therapist might be warming his hands by rubbing them together and then placing it on the body or by rubbing the skin in a manner that creates friction and heat. This technique increases the blood flow and releases the tense muscles of the body.

This technique is particularly useful in the area around the joint where the muscles are stiff, or there are knots in the muscles and tendons. Friction can also be defined as penetrating pressure applied through fingertips.

(d) Tapotement:

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

These are the most popular and most common strokes used in the Swedish massage. It is also characterized as tapping, drumming, and patting. This massage is particularly helpful for athletes. This massage can also relieve certain muscular and digestive diseases and also clear up the respiratory tract. This massage also releases stress.

(e) Vibration:

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

  In this type of stroking, the heel of the hand is mostly used. However, this can also be performed using the fingertips. As the name suggests, this is back and forth motion, which helps to loosen and relax the muscles.

The vibration massage is mostly used before athletic events and for tight muscles. This massage also produces heat, which heals in increasing the blood flow and flexibility in the muscles. This massage, like others, can release the stress and retrieve the muscles back to the normal form.

(f) Deep, circular motion:

This process is similar to the kneading; in this technique, the thumbs of the hands are mostly used. The thumbs perform a circular motion on the part of the muscle that helps in much continual blood flow. This technique also helps in removing the muscle knots.

(g) Passive joint movement: 

In this technique, the joints of the patients are moved by the external force while the person getting the massage keeps the muscle and joint relaxed. This massage is also in the domain of exercising. This massage helps in relieving the pain in the joints and helps in the movement. The joints are often injured due to injury, surgery, or immobilization for too long. 

The passive joint movement helps in exercising these joints. This is a very effective technique that is often suggested to older people or patients having joint pain. A study conducted on this test also showed that candidates showed an immense improvement when they were given passive joint movement therapy.

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

Apart from this, the Swedish massage is also known for its effectiveness in patients of blood pressure. This is an effective massage that can relieve you of your worries. This research has got you covered in reports. The Swedish massage health benefits are countless when you add all these exercises and their benefits. The Swedish massage works on your whole body giving you a much healthier lifestyle.

Deep tissue massage therapy

The deep tissue massage therapy is similar to the Swedish massage. The place this massage this differs is that this massage is more intensive and it is intended for the people who have much higher physical activities. The deep tissue benefits are best seen in:

  1. Runners
  2. Athletes
  3. People with injuries

However, this massage is not limited to these people, and this massage also works on the people who have chronic pain like lower back pain.

This is a much deeper muscle massage, and it targets a much deeper level of your muscles, tendons, and connective tissues.

Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to the Swedish massage in the sense that Deep tissue therapy also uses the same techniques of kneading and stroking. 

Although the method is identical, the pressure applied in this is much more. The pressure used in this technique can also be painful for the people.

For the massage to work on a deeper level, the therapist also uses many different methods and applies more and more pressure.

 This technique can also be known for its work in targeting the muscles layer by layer. As the process works on a deeper level, the therapist uses his palm, fists, and even elbows to reach a much deeper level to stretch the muscles. 

This technique increases the blood flow in the muscles, and it helps in reducing the inflammation in the flesh.

This research will also help you in better understanding the effectiveness of deep tissue therapy and its benefits.

How deep tissue therapy starts?

Before getting to the therapy, you must first tell your therapist about your problem areas. The deep tissue therapy alters between a full body massage and a point massage. You can even choose the level of undress you want to do in this type of massage.

This therapy takes place slowly. For a person to exercise, he must first warm up his muscles to not injure himself. 

Likewise, this massage starts as a more traditional massage, which helps in warming up the muscles first. After the muscles have been warmed up, the therapist then starts to use much more pressure to work on a more in-depth level of muscles.

The therapist uses different techniques for different layers of flesh. Depending on the tissue, the therapist may use these palms, knuckles, and even elbows. This massage is all about communication.

As the therapist applies more pressure, the pain also increases. You must always open up to your therapist about your discomfort and pain.

However, a fair amount of pain and sourness in the muscles is to be expected in the days following the deep tissue therapy.

 Swedish massage vs Deep tissue

Treatment after deep tissue massage:

As this therapy is too much to handle and may lead to a fair amount of soreness in the muscles, the therapist suggests you ease up the muscles by treating it with:

  1. Ice
  2. Heat
  3. Stretching

(a) Choose the best therapist:

As this therapy is more about communication, you must very carefully choose the therapist that you feel at ease with. 

Choose a therapist that identifies the type of massage that you will need and also has extensive experience in the field of that therapy. It is often suggested that you look for someone with an extensive background in the sports injury department. 

You must also check if the therapist is licensed as a lousy therapist may lead to an injury that lasts for a long time. This is a deep tissue massage, and you must take all the precautions you can to ensure that you don’t get yourself severely injured in the process.

(c) Talking about injuries:

As discussed before, you will be in the hands of your therapist, so be sure that your therapist knows about any injuries that you may have beforehand. This will help your therapist to know which type of pressure to use on your muscles.

(d) Comfort level:

You must also talk to your therapist about what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with. Many people are not satisfied with others touching their buttocks or other private body parts.

(e) Expectations:

Are you looking to relax through this massage, or are you doing this massage to heal your injuries? This will also give your therapist a good idea of how to apply pressure on your body.

(f) Discussing pressure:

Sometimes the therapist goes overboard with using too much trouble, which makes you uncomfortable, or sometimes it may also lead you to have a bad injury on your muscles.

(g) Warm-up:

For you to not injure yourself, you must warm up your muscles. This is what most athletes do before doing an intensive exercise to relieve themselves from the worries to get themselves injured. It is suggested for the people to take a warm shower or soak themselves in a hot tub or spend some time in the sauna. These techniques will relax your muscles.

(h) Hydration:

You must also drink excessive water before your massage.


Deep tissue treatment is the same as the Swedish massage. The critical difference that we saw in Swedish massage vs deep tissue is that the Swedish massage pressure, which ranges from light to medium, and it works on the top layer of the muscles. 

Whereas the deep tissue therapy works on a much deeper scale, and for that to happen, this technique uses elbows and much more pressure to get to the deep layer of the muscle. This is also a reason that people injure themselves from deep tissue therapy, and some people have sore muscles after deep tissue therapy.

The Swedish massage benefits are extended to all the people who want to get the massage as this massage betters the circulation of blood. 

Whereas, the deep tissue benefits are seen in people who have much higher physical activities like runners, athletes, and inured people.

Another difference that we noted in Swedish massage vs deep tissue is that Swedish massage leaves a person with a smile where the deep tissue therapy leaves a person with sore muscles and pain.