The Swedish massage is the most common and well known massage style in the western world. It is based on western understanding of physiology and anatomy, borrowing from work on sen lines or meridians in Asian massage systems. Swedish massage therapy was started by physiologist, Per Henrik Ling.
It started out as system of movements called ‘medical gymnastics’ which gradually evolved into the Swedish massage we know today. The Swedish massage is simply called the ‘Classical massage’ in many places.
The technique or intensity of the Swedish massage varies from light to heavy intensity. There are five major strokes used by the massage therapists. The strokes are gliding or sliding, kneading, rhythmic tapping, friction and shaking or vibration. The strokes help relax soft tissue, help improve blood circulation, and break down scar tissue.
The question arises – How to perform Swedish Massage? The therapist lubricates the skin with quality massage oil and performs the strokes. These repetitive movements warm up the muscles, causing release of any built up tension and breaking up the knots in the muscles. Swedish massage is a pleasant massage and aims to promote relaxation.
The major difference between Swedish massage and other massages like Thai massage is that in Swedish massages, the therapist asks you to lie down and relax while he goes about his work. In other massages, you may need to play a more active role and give regular feedback to the massage therapist.
Plus a number of massages can be performed with most of your clothing still on, but Swedish massages are normally done on a bare body. Beginners can leave their underwear on if they fell uncomfortable but most regulars strip down to their birthday suits. The therapists are well trained and do their best to keep you comfortable. There are a number of advantages of Swedish massages which make it extremely popular.
The most obvious benefit is the relaxing nature of the massage. It recharges your batteries and does away with any knots in your muscles. It has been shown to be extremely effective in reducing joint stiffness, pain and has been credited with improving function in people with osteoporosis.
Stress release is an important part of massage therapy and it can lower the heart rate and control insulin and cortisol levels to help coax the body into a stress free state.
It regulates blood pressure and promotes blood circulation throughout the body. The gentle kneading of the muscles causes the release of lactic acid; this process can prove beneficial for the lymphatic system. The regulation of blood pressure can help lower feelings of depression, anxiety etc. Swedish massage is also beneficial for one’s immune system as it controls certain hormone levels in the body. People love Swedish massages both for the health benefits and the feeling of total rejuvenation that accompanies the massage.