Swedish Vs. Deep Tissue Massage

What is Swedish massage?
Swedish massage is a basic massage used primarily for relaxation, but which also delivers a multitude of health beneifts, many of which we’ve covered here.

Muscular Anatomy of the BackThis kind of massage works the superficial muscle groups, or in other words, the muscles closest to the skin. It helps to circulate blood and lymph throughout your body using strokes that will move those fluids back up to the heart. The result is that some people report feeling like they’ve just had a good workout after a massage, only they didn’t have to do anything.

The intensity of this massage can vary broadly, from intense and uncomfortable to light and smoothe. It all depends on your taste and what you feel is most beneficial to you. For this reason, it’s crucial that you keep the lines of communication open with your therapist both before and during your session.

Why is it called Swedish massage?
Like many successful innovations, Swedish massage has many fathers.

For several years it was believed that a Swedish practitioner, Henri Peter Ling, was the originator of Swedish massage as we know it. It is now believed, however, that a Dutchman named Johan Georg Mezger bears more of the credit. But there’s really nothing particularly Swedish about it, as such. It incorporates techniques and methods that have been used in different parts of the world, and which go back much further than either Mezger or Ling.

In Europe, what we know as Swedish massage is referred to as a classic massage. If you think about it, this label makes a lot more sense, but for some reason, the “Swedish” name has stuck in our culture. It may be that since so much of our culture is dictated by marketing and advertising, calling it a Swedish massage makes it sound more exotic and continental. In any case, be aware that the name is just that: a name.

Deep tissue massage
This kind of massage is intended as a treatment to help improve posture or soothe chronic pain. Deep tissue massage aims to work down below your superficial muscle groups to treat muscles and tissue deep inside your body.

Contrary to the popular misconception, this kind of massage is not merely a high-pressure version of the ordinary Swedish massage. Rather, this is designed for treatment of a specific area or muscle group. It is not intended for work over your whole body, nor would you want it to be. This kind of massage over your full body would actually be harmful.

Our LMPs have been thoroughly trained and know human anatomy extremely well. As they work on you, or even as they watch you walk in the door, they’re able to identify areas that could use extra help or attention. But they’ll only treat you if you ask for it.

This kind of massage is often used as a medical treatment, and we tend to see a lot of that for those clients who have been referred by their physician. Are you billing workers comp or making a claim against an auto insurance policy? This may be the kind of massage you need.

Which should I choose?
If you’re like most people, Swedish massage would suit you just fine. If you have chronic pain or posture problems that you want resolved, we may choose to use some deep tissue therapy to address those, but only if you discuss it with us first.

It’s important to start your session with a detailed conversation with your therapist. This should be more about what kind of pressure you like or what music you want to listen to (though that’s important too). This conversation is your chance to ask for help.

  • Are you having a pain in your back that just doesn’t go away, no matter how you adjust or try to get comfortable?
  • Is there an injury they should be aware of?

Even if you’ve mentioned something on your intake form, it’s a good idea to address it with your practitioner verbally to make sure your concerns are heard.

If you have questions about any of our treatments, please feel free to email us at TheGoodLifeMassage@gmail.com and a licensed massage practitioner will address any concerns you may have.

To book a massage, please visit our website or give us a call at 425-243-7705.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. Find him on the Internet at http://www.tgunnwriter.com

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