Swedish and deep-tissue massage are two bodywork approaches that render very different benefits. Read our guide to choose the best option for you.
The relationship between deep-tissue and Swedish massage is much like that between DayQuil and NyQuil. Both are designed to help you feel better, but the one that makes the most sense depends on your individual needs. Here's what to expect from each of the two modalities:
Swedish massage combines four distinct motions?effleurage, petrissage, friction, and tapotement?to help relieve muscle tension and stimulate blood flow, thereby energizing the body and soothing the mind during a single relaxing session. The four phases are easy enough to distinguish. Effleurage refers to the smooth, gliding strokes that help relax soft tissues at the beginning of the treatment, followed by the squeezing, rolling, or kneading gestures of petrissage. Deep, circular motions make up the friction phase, in which layers of tissue rub against one another to boost circulation. Therapists conclude the massage with tapotement, a rapid cadence of percussive taps performed with cupped hands, fingers, or the edge of the hand.
Whereas Swedish massage focuses on relieving mental and physical tension, deep-tissue massage has more specific concerns. Due to stress and other factors, the layer of connective tissue that covers and interpenetrates the body's muscles and bones?the fascia?often tenses up, resulting in muscle knots and a painful buildup of lactic acid. Deep-tissue massage aims to warm up the fascia and release the accumulated toxins. To achieve this, the therapist?s fingers, thumbs, and elbows move along the body in slow, deliberate strokes, applying pressure to penetrate beyond superficial muscle layers. Although the intensity can produce some discomfort, deep-tissue massage should still be relaxing; the goal, after all, is to relieve the tension between muscles and their weird roommate, the skeleton.
Tali Pariser came all the way from Israel to New York in a journey that led her to study chiropractic medicine. After another big move to Georgia, her dream became a reality in 2002 when she graduated from Life University of Marietta as a doctor of chiropractic; she has practiced her craft ever since. For more than 10 years, she's used her skills to quell a slew of common aches, such as migraines, sports injuries, pregnancy pains, carpal tunnel, and whiplash. Her team at Radiant Health Chiropractic includes two licensed massage therapists who further her mission, quieting chronic aches by pressing the hard-to-reach mute button at the top of the spine.
After beginning her massage therapy career in Grenada, Tinasha Gray decided to a bring a piece of that calming, tropical oasis environment to Douglasville by founding Source of Wellness Massage. She and her fellow massage therapists provide their clients brief escapes from everyday life, helping them discover a sense of holistic balance in their lives. Drawing from a wide array of specialized modalities?including everything from Swedish strokes and aromatherapy to reflexology and trigger-point therapy?the team alleviates the chronic aches and discomfort that can be caused by pent-up stress or injury. Though massage is the spa's main focus, the aestheticians also pamper visitors with indulgent cosmetic services, such as personalized facials, back facials, and waxing treatments that leave skin as smooth and hair-free as a freshly shaved manta ray.
Total Life 360?s massage therapists melt tension with more than a half dozen kneading modalities, including trigger-point therapy and reflexology?all performed either in the soothing studio or at the home or office of clients. Swedish massages incorporate gliding strokes, graceful circles, and gentle taps. The intense, therapeutic pressure of deep-tissue strokes extract chronic pains and missing car keys from the muscle tissue?s innermost layers, and reflexology targets key points in the hands and feet in an effort to ease aches throughout the body. Other specialties of the studio's skilled therapists include hot-stone treatments as well as fitness training and nutritional guidance.
Though its beauty experts fine tune bodies with such services as Brazilian butt lifts and face-lifts, Body Sculpt is not a plastic surgery center. Rather than reaching for the scalpel during Brazilian butt lifts, med-spa techs rely on a combination of triangle- and lymphatic-massage. Similarly, they deploy non-invasive radio-frequency energy to smooth and tighten skin during face-lifts.
The med spa's staffers also help people lose weight through nonsurgical treatments, including ultrasonic cavitation body sculpting and weight-loss plans that introduce clients to low glycemic-index foods. Plus, they administer relaxing spa services, including facials and seaweed wraps. For folks who'd rather learn to beautify themselves, aestheticians lead classes where they teach patrons that blue eyes look best with copper eyeshadow, green eyes with purple eyeshadow, and yellow eyes with red face paint.
The experts at Fountain of Youth MD know that looking youthful also means feeling energized. In this spirit, their facials combat signs of aging, while also incorporating luxurious extras, from blackhead extractions to the eyebrow cleanup that prevents brows from growing into a sweatband. Their microdermabrasion also brightens complexions, buffing away the outer layer of dead skin with a diamond-tipped Viora Pristine apparatus. However, the face is not their exclusive focus?the team also fosters full-body wellness with acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and custom diet plans.