Sports massage vs Deep tissue massage first ill explain Sweedish massage then I’ll go into Deep Tissue Massage
Swedish massage, also known as classic massage, employs various techniques such as delicately and rhythmically stroking and kneading top layers of muscles and applying pressure to them while stroking towards the blood flow in the direction of the heart, which relaxes muscles.
Arguably, the Swedish massage is the most popular one offered at many spas as it alleviates a variety of problems including arthritis, stiffness of neck and joints, lower back, and shoulders pain. The Swedish massage relaxes the human body and increases the levels of oxygen in the blood and decreases muscle toxins and tension. It is also prescribed as a stress management tool.
In the 1830s, Swedish fencing instructor Per Henrik Ling invented the Swedish massage. Ling suffered from various physical problems, including lung disease, rheumatism, and gout. To help alleviate the ailments he was experiencing, he pursued fencing but later realized that along with active movements performed in fencing, passive movements like pressing, kneading and stroking must be applied to the body to cure the disease. He called the passive movements “medical gymnastics” and collectively called his program the “ Swedish Movement System”.
Dutch physician Johan Georg Mezger later developed and refined the Ling’s Swedish Movement System’s techniques, and thereafter, the system was renamed as Swedish massage.
Some basic strokes used during a Swedish massage are:
1- Effleurage: It is a French word which means skimming or touching something lightly. It is gentle stroking of muscles or skin using palms, thumbs and fingertips to warm the muscle up before deep tissue work using petrissage.
2- Petrissage: It is massage movements like, Kneading, wringing, skin rolling, and pick-up-and-squeeze, applied with deep pressure that compresses the underlying muscles.
3- Friction: Friction is doing circular pressures using palms of hands, thumbs, and/or fingers.
4- Tapotement: A rhythmic tapping done with the edge of the hand, a loose fist or fingertips. Various types of tapotement exist, including cupping, slapping, beating, and tapping.
5- Vibration: Muscles and tissues are pressed and released in vibrating movements that shake the muscles.
Unlike Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, as the name suggests, stimulates deeper layers of your muscle and tissue by applying stronger pressure while maintaining slower movements.
Deep tissue massage therapy is extremely helpful to treat a variety of issues including, chronic pain, muscle and tendon injuries, stiffness, sciatica, and postural problems. To reach those deep layers of tissue and muscles, the massage therapist uses hands, fingertips, knuckles, forearms, and elbows.
While the Swedish massage is appropriate for people who want to relieve stress and relax their bodies, deep tissue massage, on the other hand, is excellent for athletes, or people with injuries or having chronic pain issues.
Initially, lighter pressure is applied to prepare and warm up the muscles for massage. Later, stripping and friction are done to massage the muscles.
While doing Stripping, deep, gliding pressure is applied over the fibers of muscles using the forearm, knuckles, elbow, and thumbs. Whereas, while doing friction, therapists apply constant pressure across the grain of a muscle to realign tissue fibers and release adhesions.
After undergoing the deep tissue massage, expect a little stiffness or soreness, and keep yourself hydrated to excrete from your tissues the lactic acid produced during the therapy. If you have any medical condition like blood clots or underwent any surgery, you should first consult your doctor and undergo the therapy only when your doctor allows it.