What is Swedish massage therapy?
It is a technique designed to help the muscles in the body relax by applying pressure and then rubbing it in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. Unlike other methods of massage therapy, this was first developed in the 18th century. It is also called the “classic massage” because it represents the Western way of relaxing those muscles.
The main purpose of the Swedish massage then and now is still the same. This is to increase the flow of oxygen in the blood so toxins are released from the muscles. These toxins include lactic and uric acid as well as metabolic waste. When this happens, circulation is increased without increasing the heart load. The ligaments and tendons are both stretched keeping them supple and pliable. This also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves at the same time. As a result, stress is reduced.
There are various techniques in the Swedish massage. Some examples of these are friction, effleurage, kneading, tapping, long strokes, vibrations and shaking motions. The therapist may use the fingertips, hands or palm to achieve maximum effect and of course, a little bit of bending and stretching. During the session, the person has to undress and lie down on the mattress. He or she is then covered with a blanket and the only time it is opened is when the therapist has to massage that region of the body with oil so this will be absorbed by the body. If you do not feel comfortable about being nude, bring some old loose clothes because the oil may stain fabrics.
A Swedish massage usually lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. Before the session begins, the therapist may check your complexion then choose the type of oil to use based on your skin type. If ever you want to increase or decrease the pressure, just say so and the therapist will adjust accordingly.
In the room, you may hear some soothing music playing in the background as this has been known to help people unwind. If you don’t like it, just tell them so they can play something else or just turn it off. You might notice that the therapist would like to chat while working on you. Just like the music, if you don’t feel like talking, just tell them. Don’t worry, they won’t be offended.
Lastly, some people sleep during Swedish massage therapy. Again, that is perfectly fine because it has been known to happen.
Swedish massage therapy is considered to be the foundation of other types of Western massages. This is because the principles behind it are the same as when you try sports massage, seated chair massage, hot stone therapy, deep tissue massage or aromatherapy. If you like the way you were treated, try out the others the next time you drop by.
Before going for a session, check with your doctor if it is safe for you to do. You should also avoid eating a heavy meal before going in.
Swedish massage therapy is good. Once the session is over, you will feel relaxed and invigorated. Since you will feel thirsty afterwards, you better drink up. Some places offer water while others hand out warm tea. Whenever you are ready, it is time for you to get dressed and head on home.