Myofascial Release Therapy, Swedish, And Deep Tissue Massages

Myofascial Release Therapy

When do you need Myofascial Release Therapy?  Well for example, it’s Monday morning, and you wake up with a painful, surprisingly-tight shoulder. You don’t remember injuring it, but as you reflect on your weekend activities, you wonder if it could be attributed to playing with your children or working in the garden. The stiffness persists, so you decide to get a massage.

Massages have long been recognized as a great way to relax, relieve stress, and loosen up tense muscles…but not all massages are created equally. There are multiple types of massages, each with different goals and methodologies. How are you to know which massage might be best for you?

To answer these questions, let’s first take a look at three types of massage: Myofascial Release Therapy, Swedish Massage, and Deep Tissue Massage. Then we’ll dig into how they specifically differ from each other.

Myofascial Release Massage

This type of massage, taught by John Barnes, applies gentle, prolonged pressure to tight muscles, which stretches out areas of stiffness. In this hands-on approach, light pressure is placed directly on the skin (without oils, creams, or lotions) and is sustained for 5-7 minutes. When the tissue releases (hence, the name), pressure is removed, allowing freedom from pressure and pain. Myofascial Release Therapy softens muscles from the inside and helps restore movement. It focuses on the fascia, which makes up approximately 80 percent of our bodies.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage is the most well known type of massage, and —as such—is probably what you think of when you think of massages. Devised in Sweden, the goal of a Swedish Massage is to obtain relaxation for the entire body. This is done by rubbing muscles with long, gliding strokes while using massage oil or lotion. These movements warm up muscles, releasing tension.

Deep Tissue Massage

The focus of Deep Tissue Massage is on the deepest layers of the muscle. This type of massage uses deeper pressure to realign muscles and connective tissue. The movements in Deep Tissue Massage are typically slower, and the pressure is deeper, concentrating on specific areas of tension and pain. It ultimately relieves pain and restores normal movement.

Massage Types Compared

While each of these types of therapies are considered massage, they are each unique in their own ways. Let’s take a look at a few specific areas in which they differ.


The focus of Swedish Massage is full body relaxation, so most of your body is worked on. The goal of Deep Tissue Massage is to work on “trouble spots” and to alleviate tension through manipulation of the tissues. Myofascial Release Therapy, on the other hand, massages the fascia (connective tissue that supports 80% of our body) and has been known to eliminate chronic pain. It works with the body to release restrictions, which are often far from where a person is experiencing pain.


Swedish and Deep Tissue Massages utilize massage lotions or oils to prevent friction; Myofascial Release Therapy does not, as lubrication prevents the massage therapist from accurately feeling restrictions.


Practitioners of Deep Tissue and Swedish Massages knead and stroke muscles with gliding movements. Myofascial Release Therapy utilizes sustained, gentle pressure for 5-7 minutes which lengthens connective tissue.

All three types of massage are beneficial for increasing blood flow and relaxing muscles, but it’s important to make sure you are utilizing the best type of massage therapy for your personal goals, including easing pain in your shoulder the next time you wake up with it aching.

Indy Laser now offers Myofascial Release massages! Ready to try Myofascial Release Therapeutic massage? Give Indy Laser a call today to schedule your appointment or free consultation for your  Myofascial Release Therapy appointment.