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,




Seeking Help with PTSD in Portland

Man and woman holding hands at a table

How Many People Experience PTSD in Portland?

Currently there is no data for the prevalence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for Portland, Oregon, so the best things we have to look at are the national data, estimates, and other relevant information. Some of the research shows that between 55-70% of the U.S. population will experience a trauma during their lifetimes; and that about 8% of the American population will develop PTSD in their lifetimes, with about 5% of the population experiencing PTSD right now. Current data suggests that cis-women develop PTSD at higher rates than cis-men, though some argue that this is a result of the fact that cis-men are more reluctant to report symptoms compared to cis-women. There is a lack of comprehensive data about non-binary and trans-folk with regards to gender statistics. Additionally, most researchers believe that due to stigma, mental health symptoms are under-reported. If we were to use the national estimates as conservative guidelines, it would suggest that over 32,000 people in Portland experienced PTSD in the last year.

What is the Difference Between Trauma and PTSD?

Trauma is simply an event that is beyond a person’s capacity to cope. Common traumatic events include: violence, abuse, sexual violence, acts of war, and natural disasters. There are many reactions that people may have to traumatic events, and not all result in PTSD. Common mental health issues that arise as a reaction to trauma include: anxiety disorders, depression, adjustment disorders, panic attacks, and agoraphobia, as well as PTSD.

PTSD is a condition that develops in response to a trauma, which includes 4 major types of symptoms: intrusive thoughts, avoidance behaviors, distortions in mood and cognition, and arousal symptoms. Sometimes PTSD has other symptoms as well, which are referred to as dissociative symptoms. The vast majority of people who experience a trauma do not develop PTSD, though some estimate that up to 20% of traumatic events lead to developing PTSD.

I Thought Only Soldiers Got PTSD

There is a long and extensive history of reactions to combat stress. Some of the earliest mentions of flashback-like dreams were documented in Ancient Greece, and there have been notations about this phenomenon throughout history. Psychology as a science developed in the 19th century, and in the aftermath of WWI the symptoms of PTSD were listed as shell shock.

As awareness throughout the 20th century grew and began including studies of holocaust survivors, victims of domestic violence, survivors of rape, and veterans of other wars, the scientific understanding has learned that severe reactions to trauma are not specific to combat, and can happen with any severe trauma.

Treatment for PTSD

With a supportive, trauma-informed therapist you can get great results with treatments. No two individuals are alike. This means that you should receive the care that is specific to you. Whether you have experienced trauma or are dealing with PTSD, therapeutic support can be life changing.

Do I Need Insurance to See a Therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with PTSD and Trauma,