Massage Treatments Deep Tissue Massage and Swedish Massage


Do you think about your relationship with a client as a partnership? If you don’t, the New Year is a good time to start rethinking how you work with clients. Of course, it’s a given that you want to give clients the best service you can in order to resolve whatever issues they have.  Whether those issues involve physical pain or they are experiencing anxiety and stress. So being a partner in a client’s health and well-being goes one step beyond treating a problem. Partnering involves sharing a body of knowledge and understanding.

The benefit of a partnership to clients means that they get a provider who understands and truly cares about their specific needs and will work with them to set goals and meet those needs. The benefit to you and your business is that a partnership with clients can be very effective in building the loyalty that results in long-term relationships.

Since partnership involves sharing knowledge, now is a good time to make sure that clients understand the various types of massage you offer and why you recommend what you do. This is especially important for new clients. Although new clients may be familiar with the various names of different massage techniques, they may not understand what’s behind them and why you choose one over another. This means you’ll want to take time to explain different massage techniques starting with some of the most common -- Swedish and Deep Tissue.

Getting Down to Basics

There are essentially four different key points you’ll want to discuss with new clients about Swedish and Deep Tissue massage:

  • Pressure
  • Technique
  • Purpose
  • Area of focus

Swedish Massage

Not all clients know that the massage you are providing to release tension in muscles to promote relaxation is called Swedish massage or classic massage.  Even if they do know, they most likely will not know that Swedish massage is not really Swedish but was invented around 1868 by a Dutch doctor Johann Georg Mezger. However, it is Pehr Henrik Ling, who is often, and inaccurately, credited with inventing Swedish Massage. Ling (1776-1839) was a Swedish educator and a medical pioneer in Physical Therapy.[1]

They may be seeking massage to alleviate the pain and discomfort of muscles tightening in shoulders, neck or lower back from bad ergonomics while sitting at the computer or even exercising improperly. Regardless where the tension is, you’ll want clients to understand that Swedish massage involves the entire body in order to provide relaxation, stimulate nerve endings and increase blood flow and lymph drainage.[2] You’ll want to explain that you’ll be relieving muscle tension through soft, long, kneading strokes and deep circular movements.  These strokes will be combined with passive movement of the joints. Throughout, you’ll be using a massage lubricant for the long, smooth strokes.

Deep Tissue Massage

Some new clients may have heard that compared to Swedish massage, Deep Tissue is some form of torture. Kidding aside, since it’s not the gentle massage some clients may expect, they need to be prepared.

You’ll want to explain that you are recommending deep tissue massage to address chronic aches and pain and contracted areas such as a stiff neck, upper or lower back pain, leg muscle tightness and sore shoulders from an ailment or injury. Unlike Swedish massage, which targets the superficial layers of muscle, clients should be prepared for the deeper pressure you will be applying to release knots and strains in the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue.

While the differences between the two types of massage are second nature to you, they may not be to new clients. That’s why taking time to educate clients is important to build their confidence and trust in your professional expertise.



[1] “How did Swedish Massage Get its Name,” Acupuncture and Massage College, accessed January 1, 2021.
[2] O’Keefe Osborn, Corrinne, “What’s the Difference Between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue,” Healthline, August 14, 2019.
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