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.
Luxury Nail Bar & Spa lives up to its name with treatments that leave hands and feet feeling and looking well groomed. Nail technicians start many appointments with a massaging exfoliation done with sugar or coconut-scented scrub. But the options that make their manicures and pedicures so soothing don't end there. A special foot mask and a heated stone and oil treatment calm feet, making it easy for technicians to remove calluses. Most treatments include a light massage that adds an extra soothing touch before nails are clipped, filed, and buffed. Finally, clients can select their favorite nail polish hue in regular or chip-resistant options.
An aesthetician gently scrubs a mixture of Dead Sea salts and moisturizing oil over a client's skin, revealing younger and fresher layers of cells; in another room, a massage therapist places heated stones onto tense muscles, dispersing the stress they've been harboring for months. Scenarios such as these are common at Evene Day Spa, where the staff specializes in both relaxation and beautifying treatments. The spa's menu also includes European facials which allot one hour to eliminate dirt and exfoliate to clear the pores. In addition to improving skin condition, the spa's aestheticians keep faces looking polished with permanent cosmetics for the eyes, eyebrows, or lips, leaving time in the mornings for more important endeavors, such as baking homemade Lucky Charms.
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.