Swedish massage is the quintessential relaxation massage ideal for those seeking a great way to relieve stress. It typically involves gentle, light strokes; however, the strokes can be rather vigorous depending on the individual needs of the client. Swedish techniques usually include long languid strokes known as effleurage, kneading type strokes that lift and grasp the soft tissue known as petrissage, tapotement that involves percussive type movements across the soft tissue in which both hands are used in a swift drumming fashion, and also light friction type strokes that work the superficial soft tissue of the body. Swedish massage is beneficial from the standpoint of increasing the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid in the body. Also, depending on the methods being used, it can reduce joint stiffness and increase range of motion.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage can be viewed more as a therapeutic type massage modality from the standpoint that it is used for treating chronic conditions that are sometimes brought on by injury or overuse. Deep tissue massage typically focuses on specific problems such as chronic muscle pain, tension, and soreness. This type of modality is intended to reach the deep muscle layers and the fascia (the connective tissue that encapsulates the muscles) in the body. With injury and/or chronic muscle tension, adhesions (also known as restrictions) may be present in muscles and other soft tissue in the body. These restrictions can cause inflammation, pain, and limit circulation as well as movement. Deep tissue techniques are quite effective in breaking down these adhesions to restore the affected tissue to a more functional state. Some of the methods used involve strokes that transverse the muscle fibers known as cross fiber-friction, localized pressure (compression) of varying degrees that can be rather intense, and slow sustained gliding strokes all of which specifically target the areas of dysfunction.