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The difference between a Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Differences between Swedish Massage & Deep Tissue Massage

When it comes to Deep tissue and Swedish massage these are the two commonly known massages. A Swedish massage usually uses long stokes and a light to medium pressure which provides a gentle relaxation. Whereas a Deep tissue massage is a usually a more vigorous and firmer technique that releases tension deep in the muscles and connective tissue. Swedish and Deep tissue do share similarities, but they are some key differences which are usually the pressure, technique and the intended benefit of the massage (either relaxation or release of knots and tension).

A female client having a soothing massage

Swedish Massage

A Swedish massage is made up of long gliding strokes, kneading and friction to release surface tension. Swedish massage uses five basic strokes, which form the basis of many other types of massage therapy.

The five basic strokes are:

  • Effleurage: This massage movement involves long, gentle, rhythmic strokes across the skin. Besides being deeply relaxing, these strokes allow the massage therapist to feel the general muscle tone and identify any problem areas that need focus.

  • Friction: Friction strokes are short, fast strokes that create heat as the hands or fingers rub against the body. This heat promotes circulation in the area and eases tension.

  • Petrissage: Petrissage is a squeezing technique and lifts the muscle to help release and break down tension.

  • Vibration: Vibration is a stroke that involves rapid, superficial movements of the fingertips or palms. If the therapist performs it correctly, it can feel very relaxing for the entire body.

  • Tapotement: Tapotement is a series of strikes to the body that helps relax and relieve a tense muscle. Many people are familiar with the “karate chop” massage technique, which is one form of Tapotement.

Swedish massage is a lighter form of massage therapy. The massage is usually best for people who simply require stress relief. Swedish massage can usually help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. Some of the symptoms that can be managed by massage therapy include back pains, headaches, muscle issues and other chronic pains. Massages are also associated with boosting immunity. Swedish massage alleviates the tension, helping the muscle relax and removing the imprint of physical stress. This can also help with the improvement of your posture, as your muscle are no longer overcompensating. A lot of people also find that Swedish massage relieves tension headaches.

A client having a Deep tissue massage

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is made up of slow vigorous strokes this helps with the release of knots and strains in the deeper layers of the muscles and connective tissue. The overall aim of a deep tissue massage is to realign the muscles and release chronic muscle tension from injuries and aliments.

Deep tissue massage can be uncomfortable at times especially on areas of tension, where there are knots. Deep tissue massage offers physical and psychological benefits. Unlike other massage which focus on relaxation, Deep tissue massage is to help treat muscle pain and improve stiffness. Deep tissue massage can also help you unwind mentally. This massage is usually for people recovering from muscle injuries due to sports or an accident.

Deep tissue benefits

  • Stress & pain relief.

  • Deep tissue massage is a great stress reliever.

  • Reduces pain.

  • Lowers Blood pressure an Heart rate.

  • Breaks up Scar Tissue & makes movement easier.

  • Reduces Arthritis symptoms.

  • Aids sleep.

  • Improve flexibility.

  • Rehabilitates injured Muscles.

People who have structural abnormalities of the spine and muscles may also benefit from deep tissue massage. This form of massage can often help release chronic muscle tension and promote correct muscle function. Deep tissue massage uses some of the same technique as Swedish it is just more of a vigorous massage with a firmer pressure. With this style of massage, you will find your therapist may use their knuckles, forearms and elbow as well as there hands.

You can enjoy both Swedish, Deep tissue and a combination of a Swedish and Deep tissue massages here at Touch of Paradise. Please click the button below to book in online, or email us at



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