Swedish Massage vs Therapeutic Massage: What Are the Differences


April 30, 2022


Derrick Allen

Swedish massage vs therapeutic massage: How much do you know about the differences between the two? Read on to learn more.

Did you know that as of 2018, 47.5 million Americans had 214 million massages? Massage therapy can improve your life by reducing the pain and stress you’re experiencing. 

If you’re feeling the pain, you may be looking at a Swedish massage vs. therapeutic massage. So, how do you choose? It all depends on what type of massage you’re looking for and what medical conditions you have.

Keep reading to learn about the differences between a Swedish massage and a therapeutic massage to figure out which one is right for you. Before you know it, you’ll be among the millions of Americans enjoying the benefits of massage therapy!

What Is a Swedish Massage?

A Swedish massage is a gentle full-body massage that helps to ease muscle knots all over your body. Swedish massages are great for people who are new to massage and would prefer a massage with a gentle touch.

For a Swedish massage, your massage therapist will use a combination of different techniques such as:

  • Kneading using their fingers and palms
  • Long strokes 
  • Circular motions
  • A combination of vibration and tapping

Many people turn to a Swedish massage therapy session as a way to unwind after a stressful week at work or to relax while they’re on vacation. In short, Swedish massages simply make you feel good. A Swedish massage can also give you temporary relief from back pain, shoulder pain, and muscle stiffness. 

How a Swedish Massage Can Benefit You

Getting a Swedish Massage has many benefits and is well worth your time. Benefits of this type of massage include:

  • Decreases pain temporarily from conditions like arthritis
  • Increases blood flow to your muscles
  • Increases your flexibility by stretching your muscles
  • Helps with existing muscle injuries by relaxing the layers of your muscles
  • Reduces the stress you feel in your body
  • Improves your immune system
  • Improves your quality of sleep

A Swedish massage is also great for lymphatic drainage. When you’re sick with a cold or virus, you’ll find that certain lymph nodes around your body will swell. 

Your lymphatic system moves fluid around your body every day and is a critical part of your immune system. It also helps to deliver nutrients to your bloodstream and keeps your body healthy. 

If you don’t get out to exercise, lymph fluid can get stuck in certain areas of your body. A Swedish massage is a fantastic way to get things flowing again and boost your body back up to where it needs to be.

What Is a Therapeutic Massage?

A therapeutic massage involves focusing on the soft tissues of your body like the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A therapeutic massage has more of a medical focus to treat a specific condition and isn’t only intended to relax you.

A therapeutic massage involves deeper strokes, muscle trigger point work, and more aggressive stretching techniques than a Swedish massage.

Your doctor or physical therapist will often recommend a therapeutic massage to go along with other therapies you’re already receiving. In this case, your massage therapist will create a treatment plan to address certain areas of your body.

Conditions Therapeutic Massage Can Treat

Therapeutic massage is effective in treating both chronic and acute medical conditions. Common conditions you can get a therapeutic massage for include:

  • Whiplash
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic sinus headaches
  • Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder
  • Sprain and strain injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Low back pain

Therapeutic massages are also used to help people heal after surgeries. Many times your doctor will recommend therapeutic massage to help to break up the scar tissue and eliminate muscle stiffness that occurs after surgery.

Therapeutic Massage Benefits

Therapeutic massages will make you feel more relaxed, but they also have long-term benefits. Many people who suffer from chronic migraines notice an overall decrease in how often they experience migraine attacks.

People with TMJ also notice a decrease in jaw pain and stiffness over time, as therapeutic massage helps to restore normal muscle balance and muscle tone.

If you have chronic pain you’re more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety due to the constant pain and discomfort you’re experiencing. Therapeutic massage also decreases the symptoms of depression and anxiety overall and improves your day-to-day life.

Swedish Massage vs. Therapeutic Massage

So, how do you choose which type of massage to get? It’s important to remember that you’ll benefit from either type of massage at the end of the day.

To decide, you’ll want to think about what type of results you’re looking to achieve. If you strictly want to relax or don’t want to experience any deeper trigger point work on your muscles, then a Swedish massage may be the way to go. A Swedish massage is also a good choice if you’re not experiencing a lot of muscle pain or discomfort normally. 

On the other hand, if you have a lot of chronic muscle tension or specific areas of soreness you would like addressed, then a therapeutic massage might be better for you. A therapeutic massage also may be better if you’re looking to improve your range of motion and get back to your regular physical activities.

Before you book a massage therapy session, talk to your massage therapist about any symptoms you have and what type of massage experience you’re looking for. They will help guide you towards the best type of massage for your particular situation.

Book Your Massage Today

Now that you know the differences between Swedish massage vs. therapeutic massage, you’ll be ready to book your massage appointment and finally relax.

If you’re looking for a massage therapist, then it’s time to turn to the professionals at Allen Therapeutic Massage. Derrick Allen is a licensed massage therapist and a medical massage practitioner with over 20 years of experience. 

No matter what type of massage you’re looking for, the team at Allen Therapeutic Massage has the right skills to help you reduce pain, and unwind from the stress of your everyday life.

Make sure to visit us today and book a massage session online so you can feel better tomorrow!