Swedish Massage, what is it and what is good for?
Nowadays there are many different type of massage, but the most common one is Swedish massage. This type of massage involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, with the scope to relieving the muscle tension. Swedish massage therapy can be both relaxing and energising, and in some cases may even help alleviate the discomfort of past injury.
The Swedish massage helps improving your circulation, soothe your muscles and make you feel more relaxed.
Swedish massage uses softer strokes on the bonier and more delicate parts of the body, and stronger strokes where there is thicker muscle coverage. This adjustment of pressure makes it an ideal massage for relaxation.
Besides the calming benefits, Swedish massage is thought to be good for:
- easing muscular strain by flushing out toxins
- improving circulation by increasing oxygen flow in the blood
- helping to keep ligaments and tendons supple
- reducing emotional and physical stress.
The oils and lotions used in massage can stain fabrics, so it’s a good idea to opt for something old if you’re wearing your own clothes.
As with all treatments, inform your therapist of any medical conditions you may have and tell them if you are — or just think you might be — pregnant.
It’s best to avoid heavy meals and alcohol in the hours leading up to your massage.
What to expect from a Swedish massage
Your massage will last around 60 minutes. Your therapist will give you time to undress privately and lie down on the massage table, which is usually padded for extra comfort, where you may cover yourself with towels. You don’t have to be completely exposed at any point; your therapist will uncover one little bit of you at a time depending on the area he is focusing on. If you’re worried about anything, don’t hesitate to say so.
Your therapist might assess your skin at the start of your treatment and choose essential oils or lotions to suit your skin type. She will massage these into your body with a series of strokes and techniques specific to the part of your body and what you want to achieve; for example, this might be long, gliding strokes across your back to help you relax, or kneading or rubbing your shoulders to unwind any knots. The treatment takes into account the delicate or tender areas of your body, so it should be comfortable and soothing.
Some therapists like to play music during massage, as it can help you to unwind. Don’t be afraid to say if you’d prefer not to have it – or indeed if you’re unhappy with anything else in the treatment room. Being content in your surroundings is important for relaxation and will help you sink happily into your massage.
The same goes for talking. Most therapists are very sensitive to how much their client wants to communicate and will limit or encourage conversation accordingly. Some people like to chat a bit; others don’t. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re comfortable, relaxed and receptive.
Afterwards, you’ll probably feel quite relaxed and maybe even sleepy, so give yourself plenty of time to unwind. Savour the feeling of having every muscle in your body gently stretched and smoothed out.