The Swedish Massage: Full Body Therapy
The most common type of massage is Swedish massage therapy. It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles. This is also combined with movement of the joints. By relieving muscle tension, Swedish therapy can be both relaxing and energizing.
Most common and best-known type of massage
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—as opposed to energy work on “meridians” or sen lines that are the focus in Asian massage systems—therapists utilize this type of massage to stimulate circulation, flush the circulatory system, release tight muscles, restore range of motion, and to relieve pain.
If it’s your first time at the spa or you don’t get a massage often, a this is a good fit for beginners. Most people get a 50- or 60-minute Swedish or deep tissue massage, but 75 or 90 minutes will give the therapist more time to work the muscle tissue and achieve results. A Swedish massages 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, which is another form of Swedish massage. If you have pain, it will likely take a series of massages to get results. Swedish and other types of therapeutic massage are performed by trained, licensed massage therapists.
What Happens During a Swedish Massage
In all massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes, including the basic techniques for a traditional 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, but before the massage, the therapist should ask you about any injuries or other conditions that he or she should know about.