Swedish is the western standard in massage therapy – and one of the most popular. Using longstanding and influential techniques, Swedish massage is proven to optimise circulation, release toxins and address tendon, ligament and joint problems. Long, gliding strokes are combined with kneading and various classic pressure applications to relax the entire body. The steady pressure of a Swedish massage has many associated benefits including an increased range of motion, pain relief and long-term tension release.
How is it different from other massage?
Swedish massage is renowned for both its relaxing and energising effects. Targeting the upper muscle layers, Swedish is aimed at relieving muscle tension across the body – rather than focusing on a specific area. The famous long and kneading strokes are combined with joint movement and a rhythmic, tapping motion to increase blood flow, reduce toxins in the muscle tissue and create a body-wide sense of welling. While other massage therapies target existing injury, regular Swedish massage can help to prevent injury occurring. Regular treatments, in tandem with your exercise regimen, can both minimise the risk of muscle strain and decrease recovery time by flushing lactic acid and metabolic waste from your system. Like all massage treatments, this works best when performed on a regular basis.
What happens on the day?
Prior to treatment your therapist will ask about your general health, the type and intensity of your exercise and what you are hoping to gain from the massage. Once it’s confirmed a Swedish is best suited to your needs – as opposed to a more targeted deep tissue or remedial – the treatment will begin. The room and massage table will be warm and initial strokes and movements will be aimed at muscle warming and relaxation. Neutral massage oils will be introduced and your therapist will move through some of the following classic strokes: Effleurage is a gliding movement designed to relax soft tissue, Petrissage is the typical Swedish kneading or rolling motion, Friction is a firm, circular movement which encourages blood flow and targets scar tissue – and Tapotement is the well-known ‘tapping,’ either with the sides of the hands or fingers.
What are the benefits?
Swedish massage is usually chosen for its relaxing properties – but it can have more specific benefits. Athletes or very active people can use Swedish to help them perform at their peak potential, as well as improve their recovery time post exercise. Therapeutically, Swedish can be useful in reducing very high stress levels, anxiety, chronic pain and persistent
muscle tension. Additional benefits include improvements in skin health and a general sense of both physical and emotional wellbeing.
As a complementary therapy, Swedish massage can help people cope with serious illnesses like cancer, fibromyalgia, and heart disease – although a doctor must be consulted prior to commencing treatment.
Pre and Post Treatment
As with any massage treatment, being as relaxed as possible on the day will increase the benefits. Keeping well-hydrated, both before and after, will optimise the detoxifying effects of the treatment.