Swedish Massage or Relaxation Massage is the style that comes to mind when most people think about massage. It is the most common and best-known type form of bodywork performed today. It refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to relax the body by applying pressure to superficial muscles and pressing them against the deeper muscles and bones.This goal of relaxing the entire body is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of the blood returning to the heart. Other techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Lotion is often used to reduce friction and stimulate the skin.
Swedish massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist’s personal style and what he or she wants to achieve.
Swedish Massage Techniques
The therapist uses firm but gentle pressure, aided by oil or lotion to reduce friction, to compress and relax muscles. The usual sequence of techniques is:
- Effleurage: Long gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips
- Petrissage: Kneading movements designed to relax muscles and increase circulation
- Friction: Strong, rapid circular motion to release muscle
- Vibration: Oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body
- Tapotement: Brisk hacking or tapping
- Passive and active movements: Bending and stretching
Swedish massage is exceptional for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues metabolic wastes. It reduces both physical and emotional stress, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management. It also has many specific medical uses.
By far, the most popular benefit of Swedish Massage is that it is both relaxing and invigorating. It is an excellent way to help rid the body of tension and to achieve a sense of overall well-being.
What Happens During A Swedish Massage
Before the massage, the therapist will ask you about any injuries or other conditions that they 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 up front 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, and then leaves the room. They will knock or ask if you are ready before entering. You may undress to your level of comfort, some prefer to leave their underwear on and others do not. At all times you will be properly draped and only the area that is being massaged will be uncovered.
Be sure and drink plenty of water after your massage, you may also wish to take a hot Epsom Salts bath.