Swedish massage is the type of massage usually chosen to facilitate relaxation and produce a general feeling of well being. The practitioner massages the major muscle groups to stimulate circulation and help create balance in the musculo-skeletal system.
There are five basic strokes in Swedish massage: effleurage, a long stroke used to warm and sooth the muscles; petrissage, a kneading movement which stimulates the muscles more deeply; friction, or small circular motions in a localized area; tapotement, a rapid tapping used to bring blood to the surface, and vibration, a rhythmic rocking of long muscles to increase freedom of movement.
Swedish massage benefits the body primarily by increasing circulation of both blood and lymphatic fluid. It can provide soothing relaxation, increased energy, and reduction in muscular pain from strain, repetitive use, or stress.
Deep tissue massage is a version of Swedish massage in which the therapist uses a deeper, more focused pressure. Some people benefit more from this deeper pressure, others from a lighter touch.
For further reading: Sandy Fritz, Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, 1995
Therapists with training in Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage: