Differences Between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage

If you enjoy going for a massage, or have yet to experience your first massage, you might not realize the many different types of massage available out there. And even if you are presented with a menu of options prior to booking, you might be so overwhelmed with the choices that you just point to the first thing that jumps out at you, with no idea what to expect! 

So, in this blog we are going to look at two of the most popular types of massage so that the next time you go to book a massage, not only will you know what to ask for, but how to ask for it, and both you and your massage therapist know what to expect. The key word here is – communication. 

A Good Massage or a Great Massage? 

How do you ask for what you want in a massage before you get into that all-vulnerable position, lying on the massage table? 

Part of the job of the massage therapist is to communicate clearly to the client and ask: What are the goals of the massage? Here, at Your Body Needs, we have a saying: “The difference between a good massage and a great one is communication.” It is so important to set those expectations before the session begins. 

Let’s discuss two of our most popular, or most requested, types of massage. Regardless of where you get your next massage, this information should be the same. If the massage therapist doesn’t ask you questions, or gets stuck in their own routines, you’ll have the knowledge, and confidence, to ask them, so that you get what you want—and have a great massage! 

Swedish Massage 

Swedish massage is an all-over wellness massage, often called a full Swedish massage. You might be familiar with this traditional type of massage as you’ll see it portrayed in spas on the television! 

The goal of a Swedish massage is to provide a soothing massage that promotes relaxation. The pressure you’ll feel is typically anywhere from light to moderate. However, you can ask for firmer pressure in certain areas. 

A Swedish massage covers your head, neck, arms, hands, back, legs and feet. You have the option to ask to skip an area or focus more time on another area. You can also ask for abdominal work. This is not an area that massage therapists always address unless you specifically ask for it. Make sure that your massage therapist understands your request to massage this area if you specifically want it. 

Deep Tissue Massage 

Deep tissue massage is not about pressure. This can be confusing as the name often suggests a strong, deep, firm massage to most people! 

A deep tissue massage is a massage technique focused on corrective work. So, for example, if you have a chronic issue or muscle ache in a particular area, the massage therapist would focus on correcting the muscle adhesion. The goal here is not to attempt a full body Swedish massage. The goal is to focus on the affected area until there is movement or a correction. This may take a just few minutes or it may take the full session or even several more sessions. 

The pressure in a deep tissue massage is often light, or moderate to firm, with some light strokes or trigger point strokes. Again, the goal is corrective work. This is not about pressure

How to Ask for What You Want 

Often when people ask for a deep tissue massage what they really want is a full body massage with firm pressure. Neither of these techniques has a particular pressure rule. If you want a certain pressure you need to ask for it. Don’t be shy! Communication is very important and if you don’t communicate clearly with your massage therapist, you most likely won’t get what you want. 

Here's some examples of what you might say to your massage therapist before your massage session starts: 

  • “I want a Swedish massage. I really do like firm pressure and would love more concentration on the lower back!”
  • “My neck has been giving me a hard time. Can we work deep tissue massage on the neck today. Just work as much as you need and if there is time left you can continue to other areas. Feet first because I love my feet being massaged!”

Swedish Massage or Deep Tissue Massage? 

This handy little table summarizes the main differences that we’ve talked about in this blog between a Swedish massage and a deep tissue massage. Print it out, save it on your phone, and remember to take it with you the next time that you book a massage. And then you can be sure of not just a good massage, but a great massage! 

Head on over to our Relaxation Massage Menu and confidently book your next massage with us! 


Swedish Massage

Deep Tissue Massage

Body Parts

All over

Specific point/issue


Varies – ask for what you want

Varies – ask for what you want


Soothing massage that promotes relaxation

Corrective work more important. Relaxation secondary. 



How much is the Swedish massage ? Or can you send me your price list please, thanks

Nov 16, 2022

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