Professional massages are always considered as leisure by many. After all, these do not come cheap. There are many types of massages available. Examples of relaxation massage are Swedish massage, Thai Massage, Shiatsu massage, and hot stone massage. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, it can be a combination of any two. More medical-grade massages are also available. This includes sports massages, deep tissue, lymphatic massage, and myofascial release to name a few.
The focus of this article, however, is the Swedish massage.
What is a Swedish Massage?
It is the most popular type of massage in almost everywhere, the East or the West. Therapists make use of different parts of the arms apart from the hands, such as forearms and elbows to penetrate more layers of muscles.
In Sweden, of course, Swedish massage therapy is only called a classic massage. Honestly, there is no more fitting term to use other than the word, “classic”. Because even in the US, Swedish massage is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word massage. Movements used include stroking and gliding, kneading, tapping or pounding, rubbing, and vibration.
Now, here are a few in-depth descriptions of these different Swedish Massage Techniques. Being familiar with these terms will enable you to properly discuss with your therapist your specific needs when it comes to massages:
- 1. Effleurage
Translated into English, this French word directly translates to touch lightly or to the skin. This is often used at the start of the Swedish massage to prepare the muscle for a deeper tissue work. Gentle and soothing, this stroking movement also serves as the finale for most massages.
- 2. Petrissage
Also a French word, petrissage means to knead. After effleurage, the muscles are looser and easy to apply pressure on. The movements in this technique are deep to compress underlying muscles. It involves pick-up and squeeze, wringing, skin rolling, and of course, kneading. Palms are used in this method.
- 3. Friction
Also known as rubbing, friction massage uses the ball of the thumb to get the desired effect. It is also a deep tissue massage technique achieved by circular movements. It involves pressing the tissue and rubbing it back and forth to ensure all the right muscles are hit.
- 4. Vibration
It is a stroke that creates static vibrations by quickly shaking or doing rhythmic rocking of the heels of the hand in its continuous contact with the body. It can also serve as a precursor to more intensive massage techniques.
- 5. Tapotement or Percussion
Quite similar to vibration, it is a rhythmic percussion mostly through the side of the hands, a cupped hand, or the tips of the fingers. This method has five steps which involve beating characterized by closed fists lightly hitting the area, slapping with the use of fingers, hacking using the edge of the hand near the pinky, tapping with fingertips, and cupping which involves the hand imitating a cup and gently tapping the area.
What are the Swedish Massage benefits?
Swedish massages offer a wide range of benefits. In just less than an hour, you will feel increased relaxation. It improves physical, mental, and emotional well-being immediately. Here are some reasons to book an appointment right away.
- 1. Swedish massages improve circulation.
Swedish massage addresses most muscles of the body. The strokes involved are relaxing and reduces mental stress. Apart from that, it improves blood circulation through the strokes used in Swedish therapy. It quickens the disposal of body waste by draining it from the limbs of the body and creating continuous blood flow.
- 2. Swedish massage reduces pain
People suffering from chronic pain benefits from getting a Swedish massage. Through the use of the right strokes, the improved circulation and relaxation can make sore areas more bearable.
People who have misalignment issues that are difficult to correct with just stretching notice improvements through continuous massage sessions. Talk with your therapist if you wish to have a targeted region during your session.
- 3. Swedish massages ease up depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
Swedish massages are thought to decrease the production of cortisol, more commonly known as the stress hormone. At the same time, it stimulates the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone.
Many studies can support the fact that people who get massages feel lighter and more care-free after their session. In one of these studies, patients who underwent Swedish massage therapy felt less anxious and depressed, more sociable, and more confident.
- 4. Swedish Massages speeds up healing abilities of the bodies.
Massage can manipulate the tissue fibers through its movements. As a result, the scar tissue gets reabsorbed into the skin. Scar reduction is rarely achieved through lotions and creams, who knew that massages could have more impact.
- 5. Swedish massage facilitates lymphatic drainage.
It removes the clogged lymphatic system and helps move the fluids successfully out of the system. Consequently, all issues attributed to lymph nodes may gradually improve.
- 6. Swedish massage supports healthy digestion.
With the increased circulation, even the gastrointestinal tract experience better movements. Say goodbye to constipation or other digestive upset that has been pestering you for some time.
It is easy to confuse Swedish Massage with other well-known massage therapies. Especially, if you are not familiar with them. Here is a little comparative analysis to help you decipher which you would prefer.
How does a Swedish Massage differ from Shiatsu Massage?
Shiatsu in Japanese is a term somewhat related to finger pressure. That is, obviously, the basics of a Shiatsu massage. It mostly plays on how to achieve circular motion pressure to certain locations. These specific regions are called meridian points.
In Shiatsu, these are stimulated by rubbing around five to six times. After a while, the therapist will move to the next meridian node. In Swedish massage, as discussed earlier a variety of techniques is involved in the whole body massage.
What is the difference between Thai and Swedish Massage?
Thai Massage is also known as lazy yoga. It does employ some techniques in Swedish massage, but it mixes acupressure, Ayurvedic methods, and some yoga positions. Unlike Swedish massages where the target is the deep muscles and tissues laying underneath, Thai massages focus on acupuncture points to loosen the muscles and reduce tension.
Thai massages can usually cause discomfort, so the relaxation factor is a bit lower than that of the Swedish massages. Also, Thai massages usually take about two hours to finish, a full hour longer than Swedish massages.
Most people can get Swedish massages. However, there are a few contraindications. People who recently have surgery, blood clotting issues, broken limbs, open wounds, or other conditions that make you hesitate to get one. Ask your healthcare practitioner if massages (in general) may do you more harm than good.
So, what are you waiting for? Get a Swedish massage now and enjoy all of these amazing benefits and experience the most relaxing massage you can ever try! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!
Mayo Clinic (Massage therapy), WebMD (Massage therapy styles and health benefits), Federation of Holistic Therapists (Swedish massage), National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (Introduction to massage), Health Direct (Swedish massage)