If you’ve never had a massage, or you don’t often get one, a Swedish massage is your best bet. Everyone feels overworked or stressed out from time to time – and a good way to recover your sense of well-being is to enjoy the benefits of a Swedish massage.
What happens during Swedish massage
Swedish massage is very relaxing and a good form of general massage. It is designed to enhance circulation and blood flow to the large muscle groups. You lay flat on a table, with a cutout for your face, and a trained and licensed massage therapist takes oil or lotion and rubs it into the skin. Using hands and forearms, the therapist makes long and deep strokes over the body – for example, from the shoulders down the back, or from the wrist up the arm and into the neck and shoulder area. The strokes are generally longer and slower than other forms of massage, and you can ask for light or firm pressure. Whatever your preference, the outcome is relaxation.
Benefits of Swedish massage
There are many personal and health benefits to getting any form of massage. People who find themselves stressed out can find treatment relaxing and rejuvenating. It’s also a good way to promote good, restorative sleep which refreshes body and mind.
Receiving massage for your body can reduce stress in your mind. Many studies have shown that getting a Swedish massage can decrease the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and increase oxytocin (known as the “trust” hormone).
The primary aim of Swedish massage is to relax, loosen, and expand your muscles; this also happens to improve muscle elasticity and promote flexibility.
Increasing blood flow
The specific strokes used in Swedish massage help soften the knots caused by tension in the muscles, and this increases and promotes blood circulation throughout the body.
Effleurage – These are the “sliding and gliding” strokes that are long and sweeping, alternating between firm and light pressure. They are applied using the palms of the hands and/or the fingertips.
Petrissage – This technique is used to get deeper into the muscle tissue using thumbs and knuckles of the fingers to knead and squeeze them, often to prepare them for other massage techniques.
Tapping – Known as tapotement, this technique loosens and relaxes the muscles being manipulated with rhythmic tapping using the fists made from cupped hands.
Friction – This technique involves movement that generates heat in order to relax the muscles. The therapist rubs the palms of the hands together vigorously to create warmth before rubbing the skin.
Vibration – Using the fingertips or heel of the hand, a therapist will loosen up muscles using a back and forth action, or vibration to loosen up and relax the muscles.
Studies show Swedish massage is a natural way to help with pain management by kneading and relaxing muscle tissue. This can help control contractions and spasms. The increased oxygen flow allows muscles to release built-up toxins that cause soreness, tenderness, and fatigue. Swedish massage can also positively impact chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Boosting the immune system
Persons who gets regular Swedish massage show higher counts of white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the immune system. This type of white blood cell helps defend the body against viruses and disease.
Helping repair muscle injuries
Swedish massage can be a big boost for patching up any type of muscular injury. Not only does it help with blood circulation, but it also helps move around the lymph fluid in your body. Toxins and waste products build up in the muscle tissue, especially around muscular injuries, and Swedish massage techniques help flush them out so they can be naturally excreted from your body.
Relieving muscle tension through Swedish massage is a great way to relax body and mind. Many people experience emotional as well as physical benefits from having them regularly. Treat yourself to a massage this week and see what a difference it can make.