Proper Bodywork and Massage – Deep Tissue or Swedish?

Swedish vs deep tissue

As a massage therapist who gets a LOT of massage myself, I go back and forth from receiving deep tissue and relaxation massage.  I understand the difference so I change accordingly.   Lately though, I am noticing that many clients are not quite understanding what type of massage they need when they come in.

There are ton of massage modalities but we focus on the main ones in our office – ones that you might find in an upscale spa or resort:  deep tissue massage and Swedish or relaxation massage.  I will go into the basic differences between the two but first, I will share a little about a client who came a few days ago.

My New Client

The client that I worked on is a delightful man who is a business owner.  He does a lot of weight training pretty much every day and his body is a bit beat up.  He is in excellent shape but because he has been getting the WRONG type of massage, he has several areas where I could barely use any pressure because it caused him too much discomfort.  You see, he has been getting lots of massages but he is getting RELAXATION massage.  He kept saying he probably needed more “rubbing” and eventually it occurred to me that he is used to a simple Swedish relaxation massage that did not involve reaching the deeper layers of muscle.

In working on him, I did REAL BODYWORK and combined deep tissue with various levels of relaxation massage and hot stone therapy.  Since he could not take much pressure in certain areas, I combined a bit more relaxation massage and hot stone therapy to begin the healing process.  Despite him asking for more “rubbing” I did what I do best – found several areas of his body that are super tender and in need of further work.  I did real therapy (light deep tissue, hot stone deep tissue, stretching) and when he walked out, he said he felt awesome.  He went on to say he has never had bodywork like that before!  He was sold on getting deep tissue work and said he would like to come in every two weeks.

What is Swedish Massage and What is It’s Purpose?

Swedish massage is the most recognizable type of massage and the type offered at most spas.  It consists of:

  • Petrissage (kneading)
  • Effluerage (sliding movements)
  • Friction (more like rubbing)
  • Compression
  • Vibration and percussion movements
  • Joint movements

Swedish massage is usually done with a lighter or medium pressure.  Some places call it relaxation massage as it’s main purpose is STRESS RELIEF.  It can also increase circulation, and ease muscle tension.  But, because it greatly affects the skin, it is great at reducing both physical, mental, and emotional stress and it’s effects on the body.  It also helps to improve your mood and helps you to sleep better at night.

The effect of Swedish massage is controlled by the amount of PRESSURE being used.  The light to medium pressure affects the nervous system and brings about a relaxing effect.  The moment you start doing the same movements but with much deeper pressure, then you are getting into DEEP TISSUE…

What is Deep Tissue and Who Is It For?

Deep tissue massage is a collection of various massage therapy techniques designed to reach the deeper layers of muscles, tendons, fascia (connective tissue), and ligaments to help rid the body of chronic muscle tension, pain and discomfort.

Deep tissue work is needed when you have chronic areas of pain, discomfort or muscle tension that needs to be worked out.  It is also used when you have pulled or strained a muscle from a particular activity.  It usually takes 2-3 sessions for you to see the BEST results.  Massage therapy was never meant to be a one and done deal.  Your muscles did not get tension or dysfunction over night so (even though you might feel awesome after your first session), it generally takes several sessions for your trouble spots to really respond well to skilled massage therapy and to see more permanent changes in the tissue.

Our Sessions Are Different

We combine deep tissue and relaxation massage techniques:  The majority of our sessions contain varying levels of Swedish/relaxation massage and deep tissue.  The reason for this is most clients have some stress and most also have some pain or discomfort so we provide the best of both worlds.  For a list of our main sessions CLICK HERE.

We have LEVELS of deep tissue:  Unlike most places that seem to only want to do one super deep level of pressure, we customize our deeper work to the client.  You see, if you have never had deep tissue you should not be getting super deep work done because it can make you really sore.  Deep tissue is something that you need to adjust to.

We add in hot stone therapy to make the deeper work SOOTHING:  We add in hot stone therapy to EVERY single session that we do.  The warmed stones help the muscles to relax quicker and the stone work helps the deeper work to not appear to be deep.  Clients are often blown away at how wonderful the massage feels with the stones added in.  It is one of the things we are known for.

To Schedule Your Appointment

To set an appointment, please call or text Donna at 216-640-6851.  We see texts FIRST.  We offer daytime, evening and weekend appointments including some Sundays but WE NEED TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME.  We are only at the office if an appointment is scheduled so NO WALK-INS.

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Donna Agrinsonis

Donna Agrinsonis is a massage therapist licensed through the Medical Board of Ohio. She serves clients through her massage practice – Heavenly Healing Hands Massage Therapy – located in the heart of Beachwood, Ohio. She and her staff specialize in couple’s massage, deep tissue, relaxation massage, and sports massage. Donna is also certified in prenatal massage. Donna has a background working in high-end spas, chiropractic clinics and she used to head up the massage services at a prominent country club in Beachwood. All sessions offered through her practice are super therapeutic and contain some form of hot stone therapy and real bodywork designed to have clients moving better, experiencing less pain, and feeling like a brand new person…

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