Whether you are a newbie to spa life or a veteran bodywork client, you’ve probably wondered at least once what difference there is between Swedish massage and deep tissue besides the depth of pressure. The short answer is that they are not too different overall, since both modalities work to increase circulation and broaden the muscle tissue. However, in deep tissue massage therapists often introduce other methods of pain relief like trigger point release or myofascial release in order to address specific complaints. The benefits of deep tissue massage are obvious- if your hip or shoulder has been giving you trouble, therapeutic massage can often correct it. But my feelings about the necessity of massage for holistic health changed when I decided to give medium pressure Swedish massage a shot, with no specific goal other than chilling out.
When thinking back to the first massage I booked myself, I was still waiting tables and my shoulders and hips always hurt from the demands of my line of work. I remember asking for a deep pressure massage therapist because, well, everything hurt, and I know my constitution to be dense. I went for a year or two getting regular massages never having tried anything else, since I didn’t think it was “worth it” to just get a massage to relax. The interesting thing about the mind-body connection that bodyworkers are always talking about is that you kind of have to be relaxed in order for the therapeutic work to make a difference in how your muscles behave. Your mind has to be calm enough to let your body heal itself; put another way, you have to get out of your own way. The mind-body connection is so strong that most of what I deal with as a massage therapist is stress-related chronic tension: shoulders, low back/hips, and facial tension are all directly related to stress. So the logic follows that you don’t need your massage therapist to hammer on your muscles for an hour, you need your massage therapist to give consistent firm pressure for long enough for you to relax. Do you feel like you don’t let yourself slow down in your day to day life? Are you also the kind of person who comes in for a massage and tell your therapist to go deep enough that it hurts the whole time? I was, and after giving Swedish a try, I was a convert. See what relaxing your way to comfort can do. [Protip: If you want a failsafe medium pressure massage, Katie, Kate, and Nanette are the stars of the cozy massage]
– Colleen/ Sacred Hour Massage Therapist and Staff