Shiatsu vs. Swedish Massage

Woman enjoying Swedish massage

It’s spa day! What kind of massage do you usually get? When I had my first trip to the spa, I was given the choices and two sounded most familiar: Swedish and shiatsu. I didn’t know the difference back then, so I just let the masseurs have her way with the massage session. Recently, I’ve read articles about the different effects of different massages. Here’s the difference between shiatsu and Swedish massage so you can choose the one you prefer for spa day:

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage works on pressure points to alleviate tension where it hurts. It is usually performed near your energy channels to allow your energy to flow more freely. Shiatsu massage comes from Japan and shiatsu practitioners follow the belief of Chinese medicine that when someone feels bodily pains, it is because of blocked passage ways of energy. Sometimes, shiatsu may feel ticklish and light and at other times it may deliver sharp pain followed by the relief of released tension. This kind of massage can be performed over loose clothing and does not require oils.

Shiatsu Massage

Swedish Massage

Compared to the point pressure approach that shiatsu has, the Swedish massage uses long strokes all over the body. It is enhanced with the use of oils to make the gliding motions better. Think of it as someone kneading and pressing on your back in long glides. Initially, the masseurs will make your body feel warm, slowly progressing to more pressure being applied. Swedish massage tends to focus on the muscles of your body compared to shiatsu which pays attention to points and nerves. Since it requires oil, it is done with minimal amount of clothing. I’ve heard that some people fall asleep when they get Swedish massages!

Swedish Massage

Now that I’ve come to think of it, I think what I got was Swedish massage since the masseurs used some oil on my back and used gliding strokes. Maybe next time I’ll try shiatsu for a change and see which one I enjoy more! Both can help release tension and can definitely help us relax, so they’re both worth the shot for me.

Shiatsu vs. Swedish Massage
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