Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage was pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Henri Peter Ling, at the University of Stockholm in 1812. It was introduced to the U.S. in 1858 as "The Swedish Movement Cure", and is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports massage and deep tissue massage.

During Swedish massage the therapist uses firm but gentle pressure to promote relaxation and ease muscle tension and other health benefits.  Swedish massage can range from light to firm and includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension.
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Swedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. If it's your first time at the spa or you don't get massage very often, Swedish massage is the perfect place to start. Watch a video of a Swedish massage.
 
If you want deeper work and can tolerate more pressure, even some momentary discomfort to get relief from muscle stiffness and pain, it's better to book a deep tissue massage, which is another form of Swedish massage. 

Swedish massage (and other types of therapeutic massage are performed by trained, licensed massage therapists. It can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist's personal style and what he or she wants to achieve. 

What Happens During A Swedish Massage
 
In all Swedish massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various strokes that warm up and work the muscle tissue, releasing tension and breaking up muscle "knots" or adhered tissues, called adhesions. Swedish massage promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension and creates other health benefits

Before the massage, the therapist should ask you about any injuries or other conditions that he or she 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. It's best not to get a massage if you are ill. 

After the consultation, the therapist instructs you how to lie on the table -- face up or face down, and underneath the sheet or towel -- and then leaves the room. He or she will knock or ask if you are ready before entering. 

The Modesty Factor
 
During a Swedish massage you are generally nude underneath a towel or sheet. The therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on, a technique called draping. If the nudity gets you out of your comfort zone, you can keep your underwear on, and many newcomers do.

You usually start by laying face down with your head in a u-shaped face cradle so your spine stays neutral. The therapist generally starts by works your back, using various massage strokes that include effleurage (gliding), kneading, friction, stretching and (sometimes) tapping.

When he's finished with the back, he or she works the back of each leg. When done with the back side, he or she holds the sheet or towel up and looks away while you turn over onto your back and scoot down; then he or she quickly covers you again. The therapist then massages the front of each leg, both arms, and generally finishes with your neck and shoulders.

Some therapists work in a different order, and all have their own style and techniques. If you only have 50 minutes, you can also ask them to spend more time on a certain area. If the pressure is too light or too firm, you should speak up and ask the therapist to adjust it. Swedish massage usually includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension, but if you truly want deepter, more intensive work and firmer pressure, book a deep tissue massage.

Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, as opposed to energy work on "meridiens" or sen lines in Asian massage systems. Most people get a 50 or 60-minute Swedish or deep tissue massage, but 75 or 90-minutes gives the therapist more time to work the muscle tissue and achieve result.

The cost of a Swedish massage will vary, depending on whether you go to a day spa, resort spa, destination spa, a chain like Massage Envy or go to a massage therapist. Swedish massage pricing will also depend on what part of the country you live and how luxurious the spa is. 

Why It's Called Swedish Massage
 
Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to energy work that is more common in Asian-style massage. Both Swedish massage and physical therapy were pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) at the University of Stockholm. 

In the early 19th century he developed a system called "Medical Gymnastics" which included movements performed by a therapist. These became the known as "Swedish movements" in Europe and "the Swedish Movement Cure" when they came to the U.S. in 1858. Today it is simply known as Swedish massage Swedish massage is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports massage, deep tissue massage and aromatherapy massage.

4 comments:

  1. Massage Therapy has been successfully treating it’s clients since 2005, assisting in everything from injury recovery for athletes to providing relaxing massages to those that simply wish to indulge themselves.

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  3. I think a massage like this sounds amazing! I have had a tense and bad back for the longest time. I have never gotten a professional massage before. I don't really know what it all entails, but I've heard a lot of good things. http://www.orientalmassagehome.com/swedish-massage

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