What is a Swedish massage?
Swedish Massage is a modality that promotes relaxation by releasing muscle tension through a series of several techniques like long strokes, kneading, friction, deep circular movements, tapping, percussion, vibration, and shaking motions. The pressure applied should be between the muscles and bones, towards the direction of the flow of blood returning to the heart.
The techniques used in a Swedish massage helps relaxing the client by stimulating the nerve endings and increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
What happens during a Swedish massage
Traditionally, Swedish massage involves the whole body. The therapist starts on either the back or the stomach and flip over at the halfway point. If there is a particular concern like a tight neck, the therapist can spend more time working in this area. Also, the therapist can adjust the pressure from light, medium, or firm depending on the client’s preferences.
Most full-body Swedish massage, the expectation is that the client is appropriately undressed. However, it will be up to him or her if he or she wants to keep the underwear on. The therapist will drape a sheet over the body, which they will adjust as they massage the client. In addition, therapist uses lotion or oil to allow smoother strokes.
The following are the sequence of techniques typically used in Swedish massage:
- Effleurage which involves gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips
- Petrissage which involves kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingertips
- Friction which involves circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingertips
- Vibration which involves oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body
- Percussion which involves brisk hacking or tapping
- Passive and Active Movements which involve bending and stretching
What is a Swedish massage good for?
The main purpose of having a Swedish massage is to increase the flow of oxygen in the blood and thereby releasing toxins from the muscles. The various techniques used in this type of massage is devised to improve circulation, soothe muscles, and make the client feel more relaxed.
Swedish massage uses stronger strokes on thicker muscle coverage while softer strokes are used on the bonier and more delicate parts of the body. The adjustment of pressure becomes an ideal massage for relaxation.
Aside from the calming benefits, Swedish massage is said to be good for:
- Easing muscular strain by removing toxins
- Improving blood circulation by increasing oxygen flow
- Helping to keep tendons and ligaments supple
- Reduces physical and emotional stress
What are the benefits of Swedish massage?
There are several benefits associated with Swedish massage:
- Loosens tight muscles and stretches connective tissues
- Relieves cramps and muscles spasms
- Decreases muscle fatigue
- Increases muscle strength
- Calms the nervous system
- Stimulates blood circulation
- Firms up muscle and skin tone
- Relieves symptoms of various disorders like asthma, arthritis and chronic and pain syndromes
- Speeds up healing time from injury or illness
- Improves lymphatic drainage
Additionally, there are several mental and emotional health benefits that can be gained from Swedish massage such as:
- Mental relaxation
- Promotion of better sleep
- Relief from stress, anxiety, depression, and irritation
- Increased concentration
- Improvement of sense of well-being