Swedish Massage or Deep Tissue Massage?
This can be a confusing question to answer. When presented with the two options, it seems to indicate that Swedish Massage simply lacks pressure. This is not true. A Swedish Massage can be performed with a great deal of pressure or as light as the client may wish. Deep tissue on the other hand is typically a deeper stroke.
Swedish Massage is a systematic and scientific manipulation of the soft tissue of the body. This manipulation is performed to promote good health. There are five primary strokes involved in Swedish Massage. They are the effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and vibration. Effleurage strokes are long flowing strokes that allow the therapist to spread the lubricant and feel the muscle tone. Petrissage is a kneading stroke that lifts and squeezes the tissue and it helps flush out metabolic waste in that area. Friction is a strokes that involves fast short movements to create heat. This is good to bring blood flow to that area and is great for loosening ligaments. Tapotement is a series of light blows to the body designed to relax a muscle. This is the stroke most people are familiar with and sometimes looks like alternating karate chops. Vibration is a stroke that is used to create movement in the entire body and when done properly, is very relaxing.
Deep Tissue is a series of slow, specific and deliberate strokes and is best suited for postural deviances and abnormal muscle tone. The Massage Therapist will choose between several strokes depending on the size of the muscle that they are working on. They will “hook in” and start a slow moving down the muscle as it lets them. A good Massage Therapist will never force pressure into the muscle. They will continue to apply pressure until the muscle pushes back against them. The muscle will then slowly begin to release and allow the therapist to move along it. The pressure used should not be painful, but should walk a fine line between pleasurable release of tension and a pain-blocking response from the body (tensing up). The standard misconception in Deep Tissue work is “No Pain, No Gain”. This is simply not true. Pain causes the muscle to tense up and actually makes the massage less effective.
Unless you have an injury to a specific muscle or have postural concerns, I recommend you book for a Swedish Massage. You should communicate with your therapist about how much pressure you like. It is much more difficult to ascertain how much pressure a client needs in Swedish Massage than in Deep Tissue. Some clients have expressed that they don’t ask for more pressure because they feel like they are asking the Therapist to work harder. This is not the case. A Massage Therapist will use proper body mechanics to use leverage instead of strength to apply pressure. Our Therapist want you to have the best experience possible. To achieve this goal requires education and communication. Never be afraid to ask a Massage Therapist to back off of pressure or to apply more.
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Tags: Massage Therapy
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