Medical News Today: Swedish massage vs. deep tissue massage: What’s the difference?

Swedish massage forms the basis of deep tissue massage. However, there are some distinct differences between the two massage therapies. These include:


a woman receiving either a swedish massage or deep tissueShare on Pinterest
Swedish massage and deep tissue massage have distinct differences.

Swedish massage uses a series of light, long strokes to ease surface tension and stimulate circulation in the muscles.

Deep tissue massage may include strokes similar to those of Swedish massage, but the therapist will apply the strokes more forcefully.

This intensity helps release tension in the deeper layers of muscle and in the connective tissues, or fascia, beneath the muscles.


The massage types also vary in the degree of pressure that the therapist applies.

Swedish massage involves long strokes using light-to-firm pressure. This style generally provides a more relaxing experience, but the pressure may not be enough for some people.

In contrast, deep tissue massage applies much more pressure to release tension deep within the muscles and fascia. It may be too strong for people who simply want a relaxing massage.

Intended use

The massage types also vary in their intended uses.

Swedish massage is a popular massage for relaxation. The light-to-moderate pressure is good for relieving light muscle tension and stress. It can leave a person feeling rejuvenated.

Deep tissue massage is mainly for working out deep muscle tension or aiding recovery from a muscle strain. To achieve this, the therapist must apply greater pressure, and this can cause some discomfort. As a result, deep tissue massage is typically not for relaxation or stress relief.

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