The Swedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West, and the foundation for sports massage, deep tissue massage, aromatherapy massage, and other popular Western-style massages. Based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, therapists utilise this type of massage to stimulate circulation, flush the circulatory system, release tight muscles, restore range of motion, and to relieve pain.
If you’re new to massage, then Swedish massage is a good fit for beginners. It can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist’s personal style and what he or she is trying to achieve.
If you want deeper work and can tolerate more pressure to get relief from chronic muscle pain, it’s better to book a deep tissue massage. If you have pain, it will likely take a series of massages to get results.
What happens during 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 gymnastics.
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.
Before your treatment
Things you would want to 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, then will make sure your comfortable and warm before starting the massage.
What are the benefits of 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.
Difference Between Swedish and Deep Tissue Massages
While the most commonly requested massage is the Swedish variety, deep tissue massages are best for small muscle injuries and chronic muscle problems, but that’s not the only way these two versions of massage are different.
Deep tissue massage, as the name would imply, focuses on deeper tissue structures of muscles, and massage therapists apply deep tissue massage will apply a strong, constant pressure against the muscle until it pushes back and relaxes, providing relief to deep areas of tension in specific muscles.
Deep tissue massages are better than Swedish massages for treating sports injuries, soreness from poor posture (sitting at a desk all day), and chronic spasms, but Swedish massages are often more comprehensive and relaxing than deep tissue massages.
See Swedish massage in action
- Don’t eat just before your massage
- Drink water prior to, and after your massage to remain hydrated
- Be thorough in completing your consultation form.
- Swedish Massage Session