What are the Differences Between Shiatsu and Swedish Massage?

What are the Differences Between Shiatsu and Swedish Massage?


Massage therapy has a lot of varieties for you to choose from. Two of the most common types of massage are Shiatsu and Swedish. You’ll often see these options offered in physical therapy clinics as well as day spas. Both massages only need an hour or two to promote a deeper sense of relaxation improve your mood, and rejuvenate your energy level. While these massages have similarities, they are not the same. Understanding the differences between them and their modalities can help you choose which one is best for your needs. So don’t just look for spa promotions and consider these factors:


Different Strokes

In shiatsu massage, the therapist will put pressure and rub in a circular motion at certain areas on your body. During the massage, the meridian point is rubbed for about 5 to 6 times before the therapist transfers to another meridian point. On the other hand, Swedish massage uses 5 foundational strokes during the treatment. One of them is effleurage, which refers to the long and gliding strokes that are spread down starting from neck to lower back and then back up to the shoulders and neck. After this, the technique will also be applied to your limbs. Another technique is called petrissage. It involves lifting the fasciae and the muscle gently through the process of kneading and compressing them. The friction applied deeper is designed to transverse movements to the joints like the spine and the knee. Tapotement technique is light percussion. It involves chopping, tapping, and cupping. Lastly, vibrating or shaking technique involves the gentle rocking of the body parts to stimulate circulation.


To Drape or Not to Drape

One of the most common concerns of first-time spa goers is nudity. Some people are not really comfortable with this, while others are fine with it. Truth be told, you may have to completely undress to get a Swedish massage. However, rest assured that you may only undress to your comfort level. Plus, spas have drapes and sheets to cover your body. But keep in mind that having more skin exposed lets the therapist to work on you more efficiently. As for Shiatsu massage, you can get it with your clothes on.  Some spas even provide light and comfortable clothing layer enough to keep you warm and help the practitioner to feel your while giving you massage.


Massage benefits

The outcome of both massages is different. Swedish massage targets on alleviating tension. Its goal is to ease away all of the stress that your body is allowing in a specific muscle group. Swedish massage boosts circulation to muscle groups. This is also the reason why Swedish massages are a great way to relax and is commonly selected if someone’s goal is just to unwind. On the contrary, Shiatsu massage is actually designed to boost energy flow throughout the body. It is also used to alleviate fatigue and will help you feel revitalized over all. In short, Swedish massage is advisable for people who want to ease tension and relax, while shiatsu massage is perfect for those who want to reduce fatigue or increase energy.


With these in mind, it will be easier for you to choose the right massage for your needs. Both type massages feel absolutely great and will reduce your stress levels.



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