Swedish massage vs Deep Tissue Massage: Which suits you best?

Swedish massage and deep tissue massage are both incredibly healing ways to promote your overall health and wellness. However, they are each used to treat very different conditions. This means your best option might not be deep tissue massage if all you want is a little stress reduction! So, keep reading to learn the answer to the question: Which suits you best? Swedish massage or deep tissue massage?

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage, known to promote overall wellness by employing techniques that relieve stress, increase blood flow and lymph drainage, and stimulate nerve endings. If you're looking for a nurturing technique that leaves you feeling calm and at peace, this is the one for you.

However, Swedish massage does more than reduce stress levels. People suffering from various afflictions have found it to be healing, providing much-needed relief from persistent symptoms.

The following can be managed with a program involving Swedish massage:

  • Depression and anxiety: People suffering from depression and anxiety use Swedish massage to manage their symptoms, as the technique promotes the release of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine
  • Headaches: Headaches and migraines often result from stress and poor circulation. Both issues are addressed during a Swedish massage, as it mobilises blood and lymph, reduces blood pressure, and triggers the release of serotonin.
  • Chronic pain: Chronic pain is reaching epidemic levels, leading to morbidity, disability, and a decreased quality of life. Swedish massage is one of the most common techniques used to help with pain management. Studies have shown that massage helps with musculoskeletal issues such as chronic back pain and post-operative chronic pain.
  • Asthma: Swedish massage helps manage asthma symptoms by releasing tension in the upper body muscles, reducing chest tightness. Furthermore, a trained masseuse can use massage to help drain and relax the airways, reducing coughing and wheezing in those afflicted.
  • Insomnia: Swedish massage promotes the release of serotonin, which leads to the formation of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Melatonin is essential as it regulates your sleep-wake cycles, making you feel energised during the day and sleepy at night. For this reason, research has shown that Swedish massage is an effective treatment for insomnia. 
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes often suffer from arterial damage and circulatory issues, especially in their extremities. Swedish massage helps to increase circulation, allowing for more efficient transport of oxygen and nutrients in the blood vessels, even in hard-to-reach areas. In addition, research has shown that Swedish massage may positively affect blood glucose levels by helping the cells absorb insulin.
  • Breast cancer: Swedish massage can significantly improve the quality of life of women with breast cancer, helping to offset the effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments such as nausea, anxiety, and insomnia. Furthermore, a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that massage therapy increased white blood cell counts in women diagnosed with breast cancer, improving their immunity.
  • Heart disease: In those suffering from heart disease, symptoms such as decreased exercise capabilities are common and can lead to more severe issues such as obesity. Swedish massage enhances cardiovascular and muscular function, allowing for a higher peak blood-oxygen level (VO2) and respiratory function.
  • Joint pain (Rheumatoid arthritis): Swedish massage improves local circulation in problem areas to reduce muscle tension and joint pain. For instance, recent studies observing the impact of Swedish massage in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have found that it can be incredibly helpful in reducing the severity of symptoms and the need to supplement care with painkillers.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage treats chronic pain and musculoskeletal issues such as strains and sports injuries, best suiting those who engage in taxing physical activities, have an injury or experience chronic pain. It involves slow, deep strokes to target deeper muscles and connective tissues to break up scar tissue, promoting recovery in injured areas. This can be painful for some people; however, when used properly, deep tissue massage delivers excellent results.

If you suffer from any of the following afflictions, deep tissue massage may be the best option for you: 

  • Sports injuries and strains: Deep tissue massage helps those suffering from sports injuries recover by relieving pain and stiffness and improving circulation to the area. This reduces swelling and fluid buildup around the injury and, ultimately, leads to a quicker recovery.
  • Plantar fasciitis: Deep tissue massage can be an effective strategy to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis. This form of massage helps to break up scar tissue, increase blood flow and release tension in the calf muscles, Achilles, heel and sole.
  • Chronic pain: Studies have shown that deep tissue massage is a great option to treat chronic pain, especially chronic lower back pain. In fact, it has proven to be even more effective than Swedish massage (although both deliver results).

Other chronic conditions that may be improved with deep tissue massage treatments include tennis elbow, sciatica, and fibromyalgia.

See for yourself: Book your next massage session with Bigtoe!

Are you curious to try Swedish massage, or are you partial to deep tissue? With Bigtoe, we bring the massage to you with our mobile massage services, and we offer both! Download the Bigtoe app to book your next massage session or learn more!

Please ensure you check with your health provider for clearance before booking a massage with Bigtoe.

Let's begin!