Relaxation Massage versus Deep Tissue Massage

Posted: March 30th, 2023

Scheduling a massage therapy appointment for the first time can be daunting. It is difficult to figure out which style of massage is going to fit the needs that you are looking for.

Massage therapy, by definition, is “the systematic manipulation of soft tissue with the hands that positively affects and promotes healing, reduces stress, enhances muscle relaxation, improves local circulation, and creates a sense of well-being.”1 If you are novice, like me, that definition means absolutely nothing and it doesn’t help answer the question Relaxation or Deep Tissue?

The “styes used in massage therapy range from long, smooth strokes to short, percussive strokes.”2 There are a variety of styles to choose from that vary in pressure, movement, and technique; but, they all involve manipulating the muscle with hands and fingers, sometimes even the forearms and elbows as well.2 Before you decide which style of massage you are looking for; you need to ask yourself, do you simply want a massage for relaxation and stress control or do you need symptom relief.2

Swedish Relaxation Massage is one of the most common types of massage. Many clients prefer a relaxation massage because it relieves muscle tension and is both relaxing and energizing. Massage therapists use soft, long, kneading strokes on the topmost layers of muscles.2 Swedish Relaxation Massage is a style of massage that is recommended to clients who are looking for an overall feeling of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Deep Tissue Massage is best when you are trying to focus attention on certain painful, stiff trouble spots in your body. The therapist uses slow, deliberate strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles, tendons or other tissues deep under the skin. These strokes that the therapist uses are less rhythmic than other types of massage. Deep Tissue Massage can be more therapeutic for the client, relieving chronic tension and helping with muscle injuries.2

Ideally the full proof way of finding out which type of massage is best for you is to schedule your first massage and talk to your therapist. Every massage therapist knows how to listen to your concerns and customize your massage to help fix your problems. They will recommend the best style for you!

Take the leap and schedule your first massage therapy appointment and find out what a life changing experience massage can be.



1Koren, Y., & Kalichman, L. (2017). Deep tissue massage: What are we talking about? Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 22(2), 247–251.

2Stuart, A. (2008, August 14). Massage Therapy Styles and Health Benefits. WebMD.