What Is A Swedish Massage?
Swedish massage is the best known and most widely used form of western-style massage. It is the foundation of a variety of other forms of massage, such as aromatherapy, deep tissue, and even sports massage. This form consists mainly of long strokes and working the outer muscle layers of the body.
It is classified by its 4 techniques:
- Effleurage (stroking) – stroking to relax gentle tissue
- Petrissage (kneading) – Squeezing, rolling, or kneading that usually follows after effleurage
- Friction (rubbing) – Increasing blood flow and breaking down scar tissue. It is characterized by deep, circular movements causing layers of tissue to rub against each other
- Tapotement (rhythmic choppings) – Short, rhythmic tapping done with cupped hands, fingers, or the edge of a hand.
These movements altogether releases tension, warms up muscle tissues, and breaks up muscle knots. The goal is to relax the entire body by relieving muscle tension. Altogether, Swedish massage is very simple but the combination of these techniques help the body attain a state of bliss and relaxation.
Benefits of A Swedish Massage
Swedish massage has been closely associated to a decrease in anxiety, decrease in tension, and relief of depression. These aren’t just uncorroborated opinions either. A recent study by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences from Los Angeles, CA researched the biochemical effects of Swedish massage. They determined a link between Swedish massage and a decrease in the levels of Arginine Vasopressin (AVP). Specifically, AVP is hormone that plays a key role in water retention and regulating blood pressure, and an increase in white blood cells (Lymphocytes). These Lymphocytes are cells that fight off diseases and control immune responses. In addition, they discovered that massage therapy causes a decrease in Cortisol, the hormone directly associated to the body’s stress levels.
Swedish massage can:
- Improve your body’s ability to fight disease
- Regulate Blood Pressure
- Reduce Water Retention
- Decrease Stress
- Alleviate pain from cramps or spasms
If you are experiencing any form of muscle cramp, or spasms, Swedish massage may be able to help you alleviate your pain. Most people find a 60-minute massage is the most common, but giving your therapist 90-minutes will enable them to work the muscle tissues and pain centers giving you a more complete holistic experience.
Whenever you see a massage therapist, always communicate with them areas of where there is tightness or pain. Also let them know of your allergies, medical conditions, if you are pregnant, or any recent major injuries. Your therapist will have your best interest at heart and they will try and make sure you get the best experience that you can. In order to ensure a fulfilling session, be open with your therapist your preference between light and firm pressure. In addition, you should communicate if you are feeling any pain during the session. Our therapists are all knowledgeable with Swedish massage and will be able to personalize your session to however you and your therapist see fit.