What’s the Difference Between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage?


If you are looking for a massage service near you in the Portland area, you may find yourself asking the difference between Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. Fortunately, you came to the right place. We’ll help define the two most popular massage services.

Swedish Massage vs. Deep Tissue Massage

Both types of massage have a specific purpose and will feel different to the person on the receiving end. In a nutshell, Swedish massage is more for relaxation and deep tissue is for removing knots. This, of course, is an oversimplification. We will provide more details and differences further down. First we will talk about how they are similar.

At the beginning of each massage session, Swedish and deep tissue feel similar. Both types of massage start with light gentle strokes over the top of the skin to acclimate you to the massage experience. That is where the similarities end.

What Is Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage is the classic relaxing massage you would expect at a spa. It is based on a technique by a Dutch doctor named Johann George Mezger. It is defined by the three types of strokes used; effleurage (sliding movements), petrissage (kneading movements), friction (rubbing). It can also include vibration and percussion techniques.

What Are the Benefits of Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage reduces physical and emotional stress. It can also increase oxygen to the blood, stimulate the nervous system, and release toxins. Toxins like lactic acid, uric acid, and other types of metabolic wastes get flushed out your body tissue. This is also why hydrating after a massage is very important.

What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

Just as Swedish massage can be defined by the strokes, so can deep tissue massage. In the case of deep tissue, the strokes are called stripping and friction. Stripping applies deep pressure along the length of a muscle or muscle group. The pressure can be applied by an elbow, forearm, or hands. Friction strokes are used to generate heat and can go with the muscle, against the muscle, or in a circular motion.

What Are the Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage can loosen what most of us refer to as knots and stiffness. More technically, it loosens the deeper muscle structures and connective tissue called fascia. It can be used for smaller muscle injuries and chronic pain issues. Good candidates for deep tissue are whiplash, sports injuries, postural alignment, and even muscle spasms.

How Do I Choose the Right Massage?

Your massage therapist will help you. They will ask about your needs and may offer a blend of techniques based on your needs. The key components for Swedish massage are relaxation, improved mood, and better sleep. The key components for deep tissue massage are chronic muscle pains, improved posture, and improved range of motion.


To inquire about receiving massage, yoga, or energy healing services,