The Swedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West, and the foundation for more advanced forms of tissue manipulation. This massage stimulates circulation, flushes the circulatory system, releases tight muscles, restores range of motion, and relieves general pain due to stress.
What Happens During a Swedish Massage
In all Swedish massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes, including the basic techniques for a traditional Swedish massage: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, vibration/nerve strokes, and Swedish stretching.
These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up muscle “knots” or adhered tissues, called adhesions. Swedish massage promotes relaxation, among other health benefits, but before the massage, the therapist should ask you about any injuries or other conditions that he or she should know about.
Things you would want tell a therapist include areas of tightness or pain, allergies, and conditions like pregnancy. You can also tell them upfront if you have a preference for light or firm pressure.
After the consultation, the therapist instructs you how to lie on the table—face up or face down and underneath the sheet or towel or not—and then leaves the room. He will knock or ask if you are ready before entering.
The Benefits of Getting a Swedish Massage
Even going to the massage therapist and getting a Swedish massage once will calm your nervous system and promote a sense of relaxation and well being, reducing anxiety and tension in the body, which has been known to help relieve depression.
Swedish massages improve blood circulation, which helps you feel more energetic by increasing the flow of nutrient-rich oxygen to the muscles in your body. Additionally, it stimulates the lymphatic system, which carries the body’s waste products, meaning you’ll process the good and the bad much quicker.
If you’re experiencing muscle cramps and spasms, a Swedish massage with a focus on your problem areas can help relieve this pain. Massage therapy can also help with managing the pain from conditions such as arthritis and sciatica.
Massage is not a good idea if you have a fever, infections, inflammation, osteoporosis, and other medical conditions—at least not without consulting your doctor first—and it’s best not to get a massage if you are ill. If you have any doubts about whether or not a massage would be right for you, speak to a medical professional before booking a Swedish massage.