By Jessica, February 21, 2008
Swedish massage is a popular form of massage used to promote relaxation, stimulate circulation, reduce muscle tightness and enhance muscle tone. Swedish massage involves the use of gentle pressure to ease muscles aches, release tension and improve flexibility.
During a Swedish massage, the therapist will use massage oil to make long, smooth strokes over the body. The person will be covered by a towel or a warm blanket, a technique known as ‘draping’. One part of the body will be uncovered and massaged, and then covered up again before moving onto another part of the body.
Swedish massage employs five different movements;
- long, gliding strokes, to warm the muscles
- kneading of individual muscles, to stretch and relax muscles
- friction, to loosen tense muscles and encourage the release of toxins
- percussion or tapping, to stimulate the nerves, muscles, skin and organs
- vibration, to boost circulation and increase energy levels.
By increasing the flow of oxygen in the blood, Swedish massage is believed to encourage many health benefits including reduced stress, pain relief, increased range of motion, a stronger immune system and improved sleep patterns.
Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by releasing toxins and lactic acid from the tissues. Swedish massage also stimulates the nervous system, and soothes the nerves themselves.
Swedish massage is believed to form the foundation of other types of Western massage, including sports, deep tissue and aromatherapy massage. A Swedish massage can last from 30 to 60 minutes.