A short summary of the difference between the two: “Swedish massage focusses on improving circulation of blood and lymph and relaxing superficial muscles. Deep tissue massage focusses on connective tissue, and the goal is to produce changes in movement and posture.” (Article on the difference between swedish massage and deep tissue massage)
Swedish massage is the most common Western massage technique. If a salon does not specify which massage they are doing, the chances are very big that they are doing Swedish massage. Swedish massage is mostly sliding movements which can be done from light to firm pressure. You should specify to your therapist the kind of pressure you would like.
“Swedish massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph, which has the result of cleaning and nourishing soft tissues--the skin and muscle. It lengthens and relaxes the superficial muscles and stimulates peristalsis in the intestines.” It is good to get a Swedish massage after exercise or playing a sport to get rid of lactic acid build up. It can help shorten the recovery time.
You might ask when I should choose to go for Swedish massage. Choose Swedish massage for relaxation to increase circulation of blood and lymph, for relief of pain, improved mood, improved sleep and sharper thinking, and to relieve stress.
Deep Tissue massage helps to stretch the deeper tissue structure of the muscle especially the fascia. “Deep tissue massage works layer by layer through connective tissue and muscles down to the deepest accessible layers to change posture and create freedom of movement by releasing fascial adhesions and chronic muscle contracture. Adhesions and scar tissue form in muscles because of injury, chronic poor posture, chronic or acute inflammation and repetitive motions.” It helps release the tension that builds up in the muscles with slow deliberate strokes which helps with bad posture.
“Deep tissue work creates micro-tears in the fascia, which fill with elastin and collagen in about three days, creating muscles that are more flexible, supple and have greater range of motion. For the most success, the client must be willing to stretch regularly between sessions to retrain muscles and prevent recurrence of muscle contracture.”
You might ask why I should choose to go for Deep Tissue massage. “Choose deep tissue massage for chronic pain that is muscular in origin, to improve posture and range of motion. To improve athletic performance, use deep tissue massage off-season as it produces changes in movement to which you need to become accustomed before competing.”