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What’s the Difference Between Remedial and Deep Tissue Massage?

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

remedial massage

Deep tissue massage targets the deeper tissue structures of the muscles throughout the body. In contrast, remedial massage focuses on a specific area of the body that requires rehabilitation.

Both of these massages provide therapeutic benefits for conditions such as soft tissue injuries, chronic muscle tension and pain relief through muscle tension release. However, there are differences in the massage strokes and techniques massage therapists employ for this purpose.

Let's have a look at the differences between remedial and deep tissue massage to find out which one is best for you.

What is Remedial Massage?

Remedial massage is a therapeutic technique that addresses specific injuries, muscle tension, chronic pain and dysfunction resulting from injuries, stress or other conditions. Albeit often confused with deep tissue massage, remedial massage is meant as a more targeted treatment for pain and injury.

Through various remedial massage techniques, your therapist aims to promote muscle recovery by releasing excessive tension that accumulates within these multiple layers of muscles, allowing them to function more effectively.

Remedial massage is a versatile and effective massage therapy that can be used in many ways. During the session, your remedial massage therapist may use various techniques such as trigger point therapy, myofascial release, stretching, thermotherapy and cryotherapy.

What Does Remedial Massage Treatments Involve?

Your therapist will discuss your health and lifestyle with you. This massage therapy typically begins with a thorough assessment of the problematic posture, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The massage therapist will request you to lie on a couch or massage table. They will use towels to safeguard your privacy and keep you warm.

Similar to deep tissue massage, it may involve the use of firm pressure that can vary in strength and intensity. This pressure can be firm and deep or it can be shallow and soft. Massage therapists may also perform stretching on various parts of your body.

Benefits of Remedial Massages

Remedial massage can address various conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. It's great for:

  • common injuries

  • sports injuries

  • tight muscles

  • tension headaches

  • sciatic pain

  • neck pain and

  • back pain

Remedial massage therapies help improve flexibility and increase blood flow to your muscles, which can accelerate the body's natural healing processes.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is a complementary therapy similar to Swedish massage, which concentrates on establishing a rhythm and employing smooth, flowing strokes to apply pressure throughout the body. The main difference between Swedish massage and deep tissue massage is that the latter involves using more pressure to reach deeper into the muscles.

Deep tissue massage focuses on treating specific problems such as chronic pain, limited mobility or recovery from injuries.

The extra pressure may feel somewhat uncomfortable for some, but fans of the technique often describe it as a "good pain." This added intensity enhances the therapeutic benefits of the massage, reduces tension throughout the body, and aids in the recovery of patients from exercise and injuries.

The result of a deep tissue massage is an overall relaxing whole-body treatment.

What Does Deep Tissue Massages Involve?

deep tissue massage

Before your deep tissue massage, your therapist will speak to you about your problem areas. When you're ready, you'll be requested to lie on your back or stomach. Your level of undress will be up to you but the problem areas must be exposed.

The therapist will warm up your muscles with a gentler touch. When you're warmed up, they will begin addressing your problem areas.

Massage therapists will use their fingers, thumbs, or sometimes even elbows to apply the necessary pressure. They will use some of the similar massage techniques used in a traditional massage. However, the movements are slower, and the pressure is deeper and focused on areas of tension and pain.

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massages

Deep tissue massage offers psychological and physical benefits. In contrast to other massage methods that concentrate on relaxation, deep tissue massage aids in relieving muscle pain and enhancing flexibility. With that said, it can also promote mental relaxation.

Deep tissue massage can help people with:

  • sciatica

  • plantar fasciitis

  • fibromyalgia

  • sports injuries

  • high blood pressure, etc.

Which is Better for Relieving Body Pain?

massage for body pain

Image Source: Pexels

In reality, both remedial and deep-tissue massage can help relieve body pain. They provide support to the muscle tissues and help:

  • muscles recover after an injury

  • relieve extreme tension in the muscles

  • acute and chronic pain conditions

  • athletic individuals recover faster

The key difference between remedial and deep tissue massage is stroke type.

Remedial massage employs kneading techniques directed at specific muscle groups. It's most effective for musculoskeletal pain in one area of your body.

Deep tissue massage uses slow strokes that reach deep into the muscle layers. It offers a whole-body experience and can also serve as a relaxation treatment.

Is Remedial Massage or Deep Tissue Best for You?

Each individual is unique and needs a tailored treatment based on the specific issues in their muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Remedial massage treats specific problem areas often triggered by postural imbalance, muscle tension and soft tissue injury. It's excellent for individuals with chronic pain or injuries requiring specialised treatment.

Contrastingly, deep tissue massage is ideal for those seeking a whole-body massage experience and the therapeutic advantage of firm pressure. It's a powerful yet soothing massage that aids in muscle tension release and promotes post-exercise recovery.

Book in Your Remedial or Deep Tissue Session Today

Do you feel like you could use some relief? Interested in discovering more about these massage techniques? Get in touch with our clinic to see which one may be best for your body.


What is better: deep tissue or remedial massage?

Deep tissue massage is ideal for individuals seeking a full massage experience with the therapeutic advantages of strong pressure. On the other hand, remedial massage is ideal for those with chronic pain and injuries that need proper diagnosis and targeted treatment.

How is remedial massage different?

Remedial massage targets damaged, knotted, tense or immobile muscles. It is beneficial for various issues affecting muscles, tendons and bones.

How do I know if I should get a deep tissue massage?

General aches, pains and stiffness are clear indications that a deep tissue massage may be necessary.


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