Whether your muscles are aching or you're just looking for a little pampering, massage therapy can give you relief and relaxation. But with all the different types of massage out there, it can be hard to decide which type of therapeutic massage you're looking for. Here we examine two of the most popular massage techniques, deep-tissue and Swedish, in a little more detail to help you understand which option best suits your needs.
When most people think of therapeutic massage, they're likely thinking of Swedish massage. Available for specific areas, such as the hands or neck and shoulders, or as a full-body treatment, Swedish massage techniques are designed to promote circulation, relieve everyday aches and stiffness, and generally encourage relaxation and physical / mental health. In this type of massage therapy, five different classifications of strokes / movements are used to dispel tension and eliminate stress: sliding / gliding (effleurage), kneading (petrissage), tapping (tapotement), friction, and vibration / shaking. Although Swedish massages can be somewhat intense at times, the overall goal is to work in the topmost layers of muscle to work out those day-to-day knots and stiffness.
For many people, Swedish massage treatments can be a key tool in stress relief and whole-body relaxation.
While Swedish massage techniques are a relaxing tool perfect for relieving general muscle aches and stress, deep-tissue massage targets more underlying problems. Working below the top layers of muscle, deep-tissue massages work to provide healing benefits to fascia, joints, and deep muscle tissue. These massage treatments are ideal for individuals with frequent pain, aches stemming from injury, or even chronic conditions such as arthritis and other muscloskeletal disorders.
Deep-tissue massages focus on concentrated areas, utilizing sustained pressure and intense strokes that can be uncomfortable or even somewhat painful during the treatment. However, when performed properly by a professional massage therapist, the ultimate outcome of a deep-tissue session will be relief of aches and pains and overall support for healing and physical well-being.
If you're looking for general relaxation and relief from everyday tension, Swedish massage is probably the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you're interested in promoting healing for an injury or finding relief from ongoing muscle pain, deep-tissue massage treatment may hold the answers you're seeking. Of course, you'll want to discuss your physical condition and goals with your massage therapist prior to any treatment to make certain you get the optimal outcome and the maximum relief.