Learn the difference between two popular and commonly used massage techniques: Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage! “Swedish massage” is a popular form of massage therapy that was developed in Sweden in the 18th century. Swedish massage consists of effleurage, petrissage, friction and percussion. Effleurage is a French word that means to “touch lightly on,” and is composed of long, stroking movements. “Petrissage” is a French word that means “to knead” and this is a massage therapy technique that involves- literally- kneading the body. “Friction” massage is a deep and specific technique achieved by rubbing the area in a particular manner in order to create the friction effect. “Percussion” is also known as “tapotement” and is most frequently administered with the edge of a cupped hand. The cupped hands use alternating soft taps to the body in order to relieve tight or tense muscles.

A deep tissue massage is a technique applied by a massage therapist that goes beyond a superficial level of tissue in the body. In general, the layers of tissue begin with the skin as the most superficial. The myofascial component is located between the skin and muscles, and the muscle is usually considered to exist at a deeper level. Therefore, it makes sense that deep tissue massages are focused at the level of the muscles and structures that lay deep to the skin’s surface.

Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage

Generally, Swedish massage is considered a gentle and relaxing massage therapy technique. The pressure is performed in a relatively light manner and the client is not normally sore afterwards. Deep tissue massage therapy is deeper pressure, more invigorating or stimulating, and focuses on deep muscular releasing. The client may feel a bit sore or sensitive after the massage due to the effects of the deep pressure. Both massage therapy techniques are very popular, and the client’s goals for the massage should be considered as well when determining which techniques to apply.

Swedish Massage: Percussion 

Swedish Massage: Petrissage 

Swedish Massage: Friction 

Swedish Massage: Effluerage