*This page is a work-in-progress. More to come on deep tissue techniques!*
My specialty is inducing relaxation and relieving pain and tension. I use several techniques, or massage modalities, to achieve this. When it comes to Swedish vs. Deep Tissue, I don’t think of my massages as either/or, as the lines between these techniques are almost always blurred. They are tools in my toolbox, and I will use the best tool or tools I have for the job at hand.
- Deep Tissue
- Neuromuscular Therapy
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Myofascial Release
- Stone Therapy Massage
Massage terminology isn’t always universal. For example, the Myofascial Release techniques and philosophy I learned might be different from another program or instructor’s definition.
Swedish massage is most likely what someone thinks of when they think of massage.
Swedish massage was developed by a Dutchman who named all the stroke techniques in French! It is characterized by five different strokes: effleurage (long, broad strokes with an open palm), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber or with the fibers) and vibration/shaking.
It is the foundation of all massage. In massage, we work on two principles: broad to specific, and superficial to deep. Swedish massage’s characteristic strokes are the perfect way to begin broadly and superficially. Even in a “deep tissue” session, we begin with Swedish massage first, as it warms and prepares your muscles for deeper work.
A misconception about Swedish massage I often come across is that it can’t be deep work. But it can! There are many massage therapists who can give a heavy-handed full-body massage. I often use my elbows (a deep tissue tool) during a friction stroke (a Swedish technique) when I have a client who likes deeper pressure in their full-body massages.