Which Should I Choose?
Deep Tissue vs. Swedish Massage
It consists of specific strokes including efflurage (sliding movements), petrissage (kneading movements), friction (rubbing), vibration and percussion techniques.
This massage will usually include passive and active joint movements, stretching and bending of the joints with the assistance of the therapist.
Swedish massage is the most commonly offered massage technique, utilizing a firm or lighter pressure on the muscles. It will involve long yet gliding strokes.
Swedish massage is mainly used to increase blood flow, easing tension in the body's muscles and improving their flexibility. It is very stimulating to the skin, helping reduce emotional and physical stresses in the body. This is one of the main reasons this type of massage is paired amazingly with aromatherapy. This type of massage stimulates the nervous system as well. The body builds up different types of toxins including lactic acids, uric acid and other types of metabolic wastes that Swedish massage targets and with the increase of oxygen to the blood, is filtered out.
TL;DR Flow Chart at the bottom
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a specific type of massage that targets deeper structures of muscles and fascia, which is more commonly known as connective tissue.
It is best used on smaller muscle injuries and chronic problems. Whiplash, sports injuries, postural alignment, treating spasms as well as tension in the muscles are very good examples of what would best be targeted for deep tissue. This massage will focus on stretching fascia, supporting and penetrating all the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. It will work layer-by-layer releasing tension in the connective tissue going into the deepest accessible layer to create changes in posture and make room for movements after releasing fascia adhesions and chronic muscle contractions. Deep tissue massage therapist will use fingers, thumbs, fist, elbows and forearms to help penetrate all these areas. The massage therapist will also be focusing on releasing chronic muscle tension as well as knots and adhesions in the muscles. A series of slow specific and deliberate strokes are applied. The strokes will be best suited for postural deviance and abnormal muscle tone due to any of the previously mentioned injuries above. The therapist will use "hooking in" approach and slowly start moving down the muscle as it lets them in. Pressure should never be forced into the area. The muscles need to push back when pressure is applied, letting the therapist know that they are achieving releases, so they can continue throughout the rest of the muscle. This should never be painful but border the line of pleasurable release of tension and the pain blocking response (what we call tensing up).